Want to live to 100? Move to Japan!

More Japanese than ever living beyond 100 years – Japanese Health Ministry

According to survey findings from the Japanese Health Ministry released ahead of Respect-for-the-Aged-Day (19 September), the number of Japanese passing the century mark this year is 24,952, a record breaking increase of 1,683 on the previous year.

After last year’s discovery that some Japanese listed as centenarians were actually deceased, this year all cases were confirmed through checking of medical insurance records and visits by municipal employees, with the whereabouts of all those reaching the 100-year mark being officially confirmed.

This means that in total, as of 1 September 2011, there is a record number of 47,756 Japanese residents who are over 100 years old. This may however include some residents who are still officially missing following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The oldest person in the country is Ms Chiyono Hasegawa who lives in Saga. She was born on 20 November 1896, making her 114 years old. The oldest man in the country is Mr Jirouemon Kimura who lives in Kyoto and was born on 19 April 1897.

Translated and adapted from NTV NEWS24


A quick guide to the missing elderly in Japan and ‘pension parasites’

On 29 July 2010, the skeletonised body of a 111 year-old man born in 1899 was discovered in a Tokyo home. An autopsy revealed that he had been dead for around 30 years but was officially listed as being alive. This served as the initial trigger for the problem of the ‘missing’ elderly in Japan.

In total, it was revealed that more than 230,000 Japanese residents registered as being over 100 years old were actually ‘missing’. This has cast huge doubt on the reliability of figures prior to 2011.

In one case, later in 2010, a dead body was uncovered in the closet of a home in Osaka – the man had been dead for around 6 years and the eldest daughter had been continuing to claim her father’s pension.

The term ‘pension parasite’ (nenkin parasaito) made it into the 2010 keywords-of-the-year awards for the newest and most popular words in Japan.

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