The number of people in Japan 100 or older is set to hit a record high of 54,397 on Sunday, up 3,021 from a year earlier, the health ministry said Friday.
The number of men 100 and over is expected to reach 6,791 and the number of women 47,606, accounting for 87.5 percent of the total, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said in a survey ahead of Respect for the Aged Day.
Japan’s oldest person is Misao Okawa, a 115-year-old woman residing in Osaka. Born on March 5, 1898, Okawa was recognized in August as the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records.
The oldest man is 110-year-old Sakari Momoi of Saitama. He was born on Feb. 5, 1903.
As of 2012, the average life span of Japanese women stood at 86.41 years, with the life span for men at 79.94 years, it said.
The number of new centenarians in fiscal 2013 ending in March is projected to reach 28,169, also a record high.
For the survey, the ministry on Sept. 1 compiled the number of people expected to reach 100 or older as of Sept. 15 based on resident registries across Japan. This year’s Respect for the Aged Day falls on Sept. 16.
The average number of centenarians per 100,000 people stood at 42.66. By prefecture, Shimane had the highest ratio at 82.46, followed by Kochi at 78.59 and Yamaguchi at 71.70.
In contrast, the prefectures with the lowest ratio of centenarians were Saitama at 24.08, Aichi at 27.66 and Chiba at 29.91.
According to the health ministry, there were 153 centenarians in Japan in 1963, when the survey began. While it took 35 years to top 10,000 in 1998, the number has grown rapidly since, surpassing 30,000 in 2007 and 50,000 last year.