The total number of Japanese born in the Year of the Rat is estimated at about 10.62 million as of Wednesday, the first day of 2020, which features the animal from the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, according to an internal affairs ministry report.
Year of the Rat-born people — 5.16 million men and 5.46 million women — account for 8.4 percent of Japan’s population, constituting the third-largest group after those born in the Year of the Boar and Year of the Ox.
Of the rat-year people, the number of those who were born in 1948, in the “first baby boom” generation in Japan, and will turn 72 this year, is the largest, at 2.09 million.
The second- and third-largest rat-year groups are 2 million people born in 1972 and 1.51 million born in 1960, respectively. Those in the second-largest group will mark their 48th birthday this year, and those in the third-largest group their 60th birthday. People who were born in 2008, the last Year of the Rat, and will be 12 years old this year, account for 1.08 million.
Japanese celebrities and athletes born in the Year of the Rat include Masahiro Nakai, the former leader of the disbanded male pop group SMAP, who was born in 1972, soccer player Makoto Hasebe, born in 1984, and ski jumper Sara Takanashi, who was born in 1996.
Among politicians, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was born in 1948. He will turn 72 this year.
A total of 25 lawmakers were born in 1960 — another Year of the Rat — and will turn 60 this year. They include Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Taku Eto and former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda, both of whom belong to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, acting secretary-general of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and Japanese Communist Party executive Akira Koike.