According to the July 28 Kyodo article “Men’s life expectancy rises, but women’s falls,” there has been a slight dip in female life expectancy, though not enough to relinquish top spot, while male life expectancy hit a new high for the fifth straight year.
But surely if “Last summer’s intense heat wave probably took a toll on many physically fragile seniors,” as an official at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said, then the fact that maybe hundreds of thousands of elderly simply disappeared should have had a bigger impact on life expectancy figures. Though, oddly, this story subsequently vanished like many seniors.
There is just too much national pride and too much self-justification at stake within the ministry for these figures to be reliable. The temptation to tweak them is just too great. I, for one, have always been suspicious of them.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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