Japan recently broke its own record for the number of centenarians in its population.
At 90,000, not only do the Japanese enjoy humanity’s longest lifespans, but also the largest percentage of the population (0.06%) living over 100.
Work ethic, a seafood-rich diet, deep family ties, and now improving medical technology are elongating the lives of the longest-living people on earth yet further, defying perceived limits on the human body, mind, and spirit.
Japan had only 153 centenarians in 1963, when the record was counted in population census data. The number topped 1,000 in 1981, 10,000 in 1998 and 50,000 in 2012.
Now, the number of people who will turn 100 between now and next March stands at 45,141. The Japanese government sends out silver trophies, letters, and flowers to its citizens who survive to the ripe old age.
There’s also a public holiday, translated roughly as Respect for the Aged Day, celebrated yesterday.
The coast of Gōtsu City, Shimane Prefecture seen from the Osakihana lighthouse. CC 3.0.
The largest number of these long-lived folk come from Shimane Prefecture, the second-least populated area on the Japanese island of Honshu.
88% of these centenarians are women, including the two previous oldest people on Earth, who both passed away this year.
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