Want to live to be 100 years old? Move to Japan. And make sure you’re a woman.

Japan_Centenarians

At least that’s what a government survey says. According to the Health and Welfare Ministry, approximately 40,000 Japanese residents check in at 100 years of age or older, with an astonishing 87% of them being women. This is 10% higher than last year, a significant increase in a city that cites the growing number of elderly as a significant economic problem.

Given the sheer number of elderly individuals, the Japanese workforce is facing serious turmoil, due in no small part to dwindling numbers. In addition, this places a burden on those supporting the elderly, with the ratio of working force to elderly being 3:1. Estimates place the ratio at 1:1 in fifty years.

Newly elected prime minister Hatoyama and the Democratic Party plan to allot 70,000 yen, or approximately $765 per month, to aging individuals who have earned too little to contribute to a pension.

The impressive number of centenarians in the land of the rising sun comes as no surprise, as the country is well-known for its excellent health care, healthy diet and active elderly population. The country ranks number one in the world for life expectancy, and second behind the United States in the number of centenarians, which boasts approximately 96,000.

The oldest living Japanese individual is a 114-year old unnamed woman from Okinawa, with 112-year old Jiroemon Kimura following closely behind.

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