Tokyo: The life expectancy of Japanese men stood at 80.21 years in 2013, the first time that men have gone past the 80-year mark in the Asian country, according to the country’s ministry of health, labour and welfare.

The data, reported Friday by national broadcaster NHK, reveals a rise of 0.27 years compared to 2012.

At the same time, life expectancy among Japanese women is 86.61 years, once again the highest in the world.

For 26 consecutive years until 2010, Japanese women had the highest life expectancy in the world.

However, in 2011 and 2012, they were overtaken by the women of Hong Kong, mainly due to the large number of deaths, more than 20,000, caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan March 11, 2011.

The published data also place Japanese men fourth on the world’s longevity list, behind those from Hong Kong, Iceland and Switzerland, NHK said.

In addition, the figures for this year show a 0.07 year reduction in the difference between the life expectancy of Japanese men and women, which now stands at 6.40 years.

This makes Japan one of the few places worldwide where the life expectancy exceeds 80 years for both genders.

According to the health ministry, the improvement in 2013 is because of a fall in the number of deaths due to illnesses such as cancer, pneumonia or cardiovascular diseases.

Longevity among the Japanese is expected to continue rising given the advanced public health system and the healthy eating habits in the country.

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Free Press Journal