• Jiji

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Boys and girls in Japan in 2019 had lower athletic ability than their counterparts in 1964, when the previous Tokyo Olympics were held, an annual government survey showed Sunday.

Meanwhile, boys and girls in 2019 were taller and heavier than their 1964 counterparts, according to the fiscal 2019 survey by the Japan Sports Agency.

The latest survey, which covered 62,000 people aged 6 to 79, compared boys and girls in 2019 and 1964 ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were re-scheduled for summer 2021.

Boys and girls aged 10 to 19 in 2019 were taller and heavier than their counterparts in 1964 at all of the ages. Boys aged 12 and 13 were 9 centimeters taller and 7 kilograms heavier.

But in tests to measure grasping power, boys and girls aged 15 to 19 in 2019 had weaker results. The 2019 group between 10 and 19 also performed worse than the average results logged by their counterparts between 1964 and 1968 at all of the ages in tests to measure how far one can throw a ball.

Meanwhile, boys and girls aged 12 and 19 in 2019 ran faster in a 50-meter sprint.

Boys and girls are better-built than their counterparts in the past, said Hisashi Naito, Juntendo University professor of exercise physiology.

"But I guess they lack experience of physical exercise and have not learned sufficiently how to move their bodies," said Naito, who supported work related to the survey.

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