• Kyodo

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The number of people aged 100 or older in Japan has surpassed 80,000 for the first time amid the rapid aging of the country’s population, government data showed Tuesday.

The number of centenarians rose 9,176 from the previous year to 80,450 as of Tuesday for the 50th consecutive annual increase, with women accounting for 88.2 percent of the total, according to the data released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Centenarians marked the largest annual increase with the number of men rising 1,011 from last year to 9,475 and women up 8,165 to 70,975, the tally showed. The ministry estimated the figures based on resident registry data before the county’s Respect for the Aged Day holiday, which falls on Monday.

When the survey started in 1963, the number of centenarians stood at 153, but it eclipsed 1,000 in 1981 and surpassed 10,000 in 1998, mainly due to advances in medical technology.

Japan’s average life expectancy was 87.45 for women and 81.41 for men in 2019, both record highs, according to health ministry data released in July this year.

Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old resident of Fukuoka, is the oldest Japanese woman. She has been recognized as the oldest living person in the world by Guinness World Records.

Mikizo Ueda, a 110-year-old resident of Nara, is the oldest Japanese man.

By prefecture, Shimane in western Japan has the highest number of centenarians per 100,000 people for the eighth straight year at 127.60, followed by Kochi and Tottori at 119.77 and 109.89, respectively.

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