Study shows Japanese women get less of a life
Japanese women are no longer the world’s longest living, their longevity pushed down in part by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, according to a government report released yesterday.
The top of the global life expectancy rankings are now Hong Kong women.
The annual report by Japan’s health ministry said the expected lifespan for Japanese women slipped to 85.90 years in 2011 from 86.30 the year before, mainly due to disease and other natural causes of death.
The report said that the earthquake and tsunami, which killed nearly 20,000 people, contributed to pushing the statistics down. It noted that if deaths related to the disaster were not included, the life expectancies would be higher for both men, at 79.70 years, and women, at 86.24.
But the official life expectancy for women in Hong Kong – 86.70 years in 2011 – would still be longer than Japan’s even without the disaster deaths, the report said.
For men, average life expectancy fell 0.11 years to 79.44, leaving them tied for 7th place with Italians. Switzerland led male longevity rankings with average expectancy of 80.2 years.
Suicides among Japanese women have been on the rise, and that was a contributing factor, although disease and other natural causes remained the most important issues.
As a result of advances in health care and falling birth rates, Japan, the world’s 10th most populous nation, has become one of the world’s oldest and fastest ageing societies.
The ministry’s report, which uses statistics supplied by other countries or the UN, noted that international statistics are hard to compare because of differences in calculation methods.
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