Japan's men and women set new records for life expectancy last year, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Friday.

Men can now expect to live to 81.41 years on average, up 0.16 from the previous year and rewriting the record for the eighth year in a row.

Women will likely live to 87.45 years, up 0.13 year for the seventh consecutive record.

Compared with other nations and regions, Japan continues to trail Hong Kong, with the women in second place and the men in third after No. 2 Switzerland, unchanged from the previous year.

A ministry official said a rise in health awareness and a decline in death rates from cancer, heart disorders and brain diseases — the three major causes of death in Japan — extended life expectancy.

Average life expectancy is the number of years a baby born in a given year can expect to live, assuming the death rate for each year's group will stay unchanged.

The average for years of remaining life for newborns has been rising almost interrupted since the statistics were first compiled in 1947. At that time, the figure stood at 50.06 for males and 53.96 for females.

The ratios for people born in 2019 who are expected to reach 75 years of age stood at 75.8 percent for men and 88.2 percent for women.

The ratios for those expected to reach 90 was 27.2 percent for men and 51.1 percent for women, the ministry said, adding that 10.1 percent of men and 26.7 percent of women are expected to reach 95. All figures are record highs.

An analysis of what could cause newborns from 2019 to die in the future listed cancer as the top cause for both sexes, with 28.2 percent for men and 19.95 percent for women.

In a scenario assuming that no one dies from cancer, the average life span can be extended by 3.54 years for men and 2.84 years for women, the ministry said.

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