Japanese women relinquished the world’s top spot in average life expectancy at 87.05 years in 2015, overtaken by women from Hong Kong at 87.32 years, according to the welfare ministry’s data released Wednesday.
Men in Japan also fell to fourth from third place in 2014 at 80.79 years, data showed. Still, the figures for last year marked records for both Japanese women and men, with a rise of 0.22 year for women and a gain of 0.29 year for men from the previous year.
Japanese women have long enjoyed the world’s longest average life expectancy—which denotes the expectancy at birth—since 1985, except in 2011 when they trailed behind women in Hong Kong in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in March that year.
Japanese women regained the top spot in 2012 and have ranked first ever since.
The difference in life expectancy between Japanese women and men narrowed by 0.07 to 6.26 years, compared with 2014.
An official at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare attributed the extended life expectancy for both men and women to the “progress in medical treatment and drugs” that led to improvement in survival rates for cancer, one of the major causes of deaths.
As for women, Spain ranked third at 85.58 years, followed by South Korea at 85.5 years and Switzerland at 85.2 years.
For men, those from Hong Kong were also first at 81.24 years, followed by Iceland and Switzerland both at 81 years. Coming after Japan were men from Singapore at 80.4 years.
The figures for South Korea, Spain and Switzerland are based on 2014 data.
Source: Japan Today Image: Bank Image