TOKYO – Japanese men and women placed second on the world’s average life expectancy list in 2016, both after Hong Kong and marking records for the fifth year straight, according to the welfare ministry’s data released Thursday.
The average life expectancy of men in Japan climbed to second from fourth in 2015 at 80.98 years, up 0.23 year, while that for women retained the spot at 87.14 years, up 0.15 year from the previous year. Hong Kong was at 87.34 years for women and 81.32 years for men.
The extended life expectancy for both men and women can be attributed to progress in medical treatment and drugs, the rise of a health-conscious lifestyle and fewer people committing suicide due to the implementation of countermeasures, a ministry official said.
Japanese women enjoyed the world’s longest average life expectancy — which denotes the expectancy at birth — from 1985 through 2010. They trailed behind women in Hong Kong in 2011 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 but relinquished the top spot to Hong Kong in 2015.
For women, Spain ranked third at 85.42 years, followed by France at 85.4 years. For men, Cyprus came third at 80.9 years, followed by Iceland and Switzerland both at 80.7 years, according to data by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The figures for Cyprus are based on 2014 data and those for Spain and Switzerland were on 2015 data.