Number of centenarians in Japan tops 80,000

A government survey shows that the number of centenarians in Japan has exceeded 80,000 for the first time ever.

The health and welfare ministry released the data, which was based on the Basic Resident Register as of September 1.

The survey showed that a total of 80,450 people are 100 years old or older as of Tuesday. The number grew by 9,176 from a year ago.

Year-on-year growth renewed a record for the 50th consecutive year. It is the largest since statistics began being compiled in 1963.

Of the centenarians, 88 percent, or 70,975, are women. The remaining 9,475 are men.

In 1963, there were only 153 centenarians. Their number exceeded 10,000 for the first time in 1998.

Shimane Prefecture has the largest ratio of centenarians, at 127.6 per 100,000 people. It is followed by Kochi Prefecture with 119.77 and Tottori Prefecture with 109.89.

Japan's oldest person is 117-year-old Tanaka Kane, who lives at a care facility in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Tanaka is also designated by the Guinness World Records as the world's oldest person. She says the key to a long life is to eat delicious food and do calculations to keep the mind alert.

The country's oldest man is 110-year-old Ueda Mikizo, a resident of Nara City.