Survey: Life expectancy for Japanese men surpasses 80, women maintain top ranking

August 01, 2014

By HISASHI ISHIMATSU/ Staff Writer

The average life expectancy for Japanese males topped 80 years for the first time in 2013, moving them into fourth place globally, the health ministry said.

According to the ministry’s Abridged Life Tables released July 31, the average life span for males rose to 80.21 years, up 0.27 years from the previous year. For Japanese females, the number rose by 0.20 to a record high of 86.61 years, the second consecutive year they have led the world ranking.

The ministry said the higher average life span for both sexes can be attributed to a decrease in deaths in each age group from cancer, cardiac disease, cerebrovascular disease and pneumonia.

“With the further progress in medical technology, there is still potential for their average life expectancy to increase,” said a ministry official.

Although the world’s longevity title for males belongs to the men of Hong Kong, at 80.87 years, Japanese males moved up a notch from the previous year’s fifth place.

Average life expectancy is the average number of years a person can expect to live from birth. The ministry calculates annually the estimated life expectancy for each age group by sex.

In 1947, in post-war Japan, the average life span for men was 50.06 years and 53.96 years for women. The figure exceeded 70 years in 1960 for women and in 1971 for men. In 1984, life expectancy for females surpassed 80 years.

By HISASHI ISHIMATSU/ Staff Writer
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An 80-year-old craftsman decorates ceramic dolls in Seto, Aichi Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

An 80-year-old craftsman decorates ceramic dolls in Seto, Aichi Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • An 80-year-old craftsman decorates ceramic dolls in Seto, Aichi Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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