Back on top. Japanese women have reclaimed their title of having the highest life expectancy in the world, the Ministry of Health reported. The women of Hong Kong took the top spot after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake when thousands of people died. Japanese women, as well as men, were known for their long life expectancy until the death toll of 2011 affected their record. According to the Health Ministry, “Death rates rose in 2011 due to the disaster but the life expectancy picked up again with that factor coming off.”
The Health Ministry revealed on Thursday that Japanese girls born in 2012 may have an average life expectancy of 86.41 years. Compared to 2011, the average life expectancy was 85.90 years, causing Hong Kong to rise from its usual second spot. It was also the first time that Japan did not hold the top position in 25 years. But now the women of Hong Kong, with life expectancy of 86.30 years, come next to Japan. Spanish, French, and Swiss women come next, respectively, on the list of the longest life expectancy in the world.
A Health Ministry official believes that “the high level of welfare” affects a nation’s life expectancy. The Japanese, especially those from Okinawa, are known for their healthy diet balanced with an active lifestyle. Japan’s medical system has also contributed to the welfare of its people. In the recent record, the life expectancy of Japanese men also increased from 79.44 years in 2011, to 79.94 years, making them fifth in the world with the highest life expectancy after Israelis. The male Icelanders, with 80.8 years of life expectancy, are the Japanese women’s counterpart. Men from Hong Kong claim the second spot, followed by Swiss men.