TOKYO -- Average life expectancy in Japan reached record highs for both women and men in 2020, at 87.74 years and 81.64 years, respectively, according to a basic table released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on July 30.
The figures indicate that compared to 2019, women's mean life expectancy in Japan increased by 0.30 years and men's by 0.22 years, with both figures registering growth for the ninth consecutive year.
The special administrative region of Hong Kong is said to top the life expectancy list for countries and regions around the world, at 88.14 years for women and 82.71 years for men in 2020. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) excludes Hong Kong and other regions in its statistics, and so the Japanese health ministry did not include Hong Kong in its latest study. As a result, Japanese women and men have claimed first and second place, respectively, in the world for 36 straight years since 1985, according to the ministry.
South Korea placed second behind Japan in terms of women's average lifespan, at 86.3 years, followed by Singapore at 86.1 years. As for men, Switzerland attained first place at 81.9 years, while Singapore took the third spot at 81.5 years.
Average life expectancy is a numerical estimate of how long a person born in a given year will live on average on the assumption that the fatality situation will not change in the coming decades.
"Although the coronavirus has become a contributing factor in lowering the average life expectancy, the rate of death from pneumonia and cancer has improved, resulting in a rise in mean lifespan," a health ministry official in charge of the statistics said in an analysis of the situation.
Japan's average life expectancy has risen steadily since the end of World War II. It first topped 80 years in 1984 for women and did so in 2013 for men.
(Japanese original by Natsuko Ishida, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)