• Kyodo

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Japanese remained near the top of the world rankings for life expectancy in 2017 while Hong Kong continued to dominate, welfare ministry data showed Friday.

Japan’s women retained the No. 2 spot for the third consecutive year with an average life expectancy of 87.26 years, up 0.12 year from 2016. The men meanwhile slid one spot to No. 3, adding only 0.11 year to their average of 81.09. Both figures logged improvements on the previous records for the sixth year straight.

“The rise of a health-conscious lifestyle may be contributing to the figure. It’s quite possible to see longevity further increase amid progress in medical treatment,” an official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry reckoned.

Japanese women had enjoyed the world’s longest average life expectancy — which denotes the expectancy at birth — from 1985 through 2010. They fell behind their Hong Kong counterparts in 2011 after the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in March that year.

After rebounding to retake the top spot in 2012, Hong Kong again took over in 2015.

For women, Hong Kong’s winning figure was 87.66 years, with Spain in third at 85.84 years. For men, Hong Kongers led with an average life expectancy of 81.70 years, followed by Switzerland in second place with 81.5.

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