Saturday, September 11, 2010

The land of the setting sun

Government records show that Japan is one of the world's fastest-ageing societies. One in five Japanese (28 million people) is aged 65 or more. According to local body registers more than 270,000 Japanese are aged 100 years and over. Of these 77,000 are over 120 years old and a grand total of 884 are at least 150 years old.

Amazing. I wonder if there really is something to eating whale meat.

The Ministry of Justice has recently completed a survey and has been unable to locate the whereabouts of 230,000 of these most senior citizens. The figures have fuelled fears that families might be deliberately hiding the deaths of elderly relatives in order to claim their pensions.

In August the police discovered the mummified corpse of Sogen Kato, who at 111 was listed as Tokyo's oldest man, in his family home 32 years after his death. This finding prompted the nationwide survey to check the validity of local records and the survey revealed that antiquated methods of record-keeping are still in use in smaller towns and villages across the country.

Wikipedia records Japanese women as having the longest life expectancy of anyone on earth, an incredible 86.1 years and an overall life expectancy for all Japanese of an impressive 82.6 years. Now perhaps we know why.

The full story can be found here.


  1. As a genealogy researcher I find this very interesting. Document your sources we always say.

  2. Who said you can't live forever....legally.

  3. Wow, Lou that's pretty horrible. 230,00 seniors missing. Reading about the subject, I can understand them being fearful about their whereabouts.


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