Centenarians In Japan Top 70,000

Centenarians in Japan top 70,000

Japan now has more than 70,000 centenarians, according to the health ministry. A new high has been reached every year for 49 years in a row.

The ministry says 71,238 people will be 100 or older as of September 15. That's 1,453 more than last year.

Eighty-eight percent are women.

The oldest is 116-year-old Kane Tanaka, a woman from Fukuoka City, southwestern Japan.

The oldest man is Chitetsu Watanabe, a 112-year-old from Joetsu in Niigata Prefecture.

There were only 153 centenarians when the ministry conducted its first survey in 1963. The figure surpassed 10,000 in 1998 and 50,000 in 2012.

Officials attribute the rapid rise to medical advances and campaigns to stay fit.

The ministry says it will provide support to enable elderly people to maintain their wellbeing.