A vast majority of those in triple digits are women.

In Japan this 19 September is a holiday known as Respect for the Aged Day, honoring those of us who have managed to stay on this mortal coil the longest. It is often observed by bestowing gifts on those over the age of 65 and thus classified as senior citizens, and man, are there going to be a lot of gifts to give this year.

That’s because this is also the season when the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare takes a tally of the constantly ballooning number of seniors in Japan that now take up about one third of the population. But even on top of all that, the survey has now found that the number of people over 100 has exceeded 90,000 for the first time.

To be exact, the number of centenarians is believed to be 90,526 after shooting by 4,016 since last year. This is also the 52nd consecutive year that a record number of people with triple-digit ages has been counted. To put things in perspective, when the ministry started this survey in 1963, the number of people over 100 was only 153.

▼ A news report on all the oldness going around and featuring the oldest woman and man in Japan

The prefectures with the largest percentages of centenarians were Shimane, Kochi, and Tottori, in which roughly one in 700 people were over 100. That stands to reason as those three prefectures are largely rural and younger people tend to gravitate towards more urban areas, leaving a majority of elders in the countryside. Conversely, the prefectures with the lowest rates of centenarians were Saitama, Aichi, and Chiba, where the chance of bumping into someone over 100 was about one in 2,000.

Readers of the news in Japan appeared to have mixed feelings about it, and online comments reflected an uncertainty over whether this was a good thing or not.

”This is not good news.”
“Our lifespan is being extended and I hope everyone is doing well.”
”I guess this depends on a lot of other factors if it’s good or bad.”
”Hmm, this is rather bad…”
”It’s pretty impressive this happened even throughout COVID-19.”
”I wonder how many of those people can live on their own.”
”If this keeps going, medical costs are going to explode and so will taxes.”
”I’m not surprised. Every time I go to the countryside everyone is old.”
”If I can stay around for another 50 years, there will be PlayStation 10. That’ll be super fun.”

In terms of gender, an overwhelmingly larger number of centenarians were women. Of the 90,526 counted this year, 80,161 were female accounting for 89 percent. Men still have plenty of time to take a Pilates class or two to try and balance this stat out a bit, because this explosive trend in longevity is showing no signs of stopping.

The survey also calculated that there are 45,141 people expected to turn 100 between the beginning of September and the end of next March. That number of people on the verge is up by 1,508 from the previous year. Whenever such a monumental birthday occurs, local governments usually offer certificates and special gifts. However, if this trend continues, those gifts will probably be reduced to Umaibo corn puff sticks by 2030.

Source: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Yomiuri Shimbun, My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
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