The number of centenarians in Japan totaled 90,526 as of Thursday, exceeding 90,000 for the first time on record, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Friday.
The figure, based on basic resident register data, rose by 4,016 from a year before, hitting a record high for 52 years in a row, the ministry said ahead of Respect for the Aged Day on Monday.
Female centenarians numbered 80,161, accounting for 88.6% of the total.
Japan had only 153 centenarians in 1963, when the statistics started. The number topped 1,000 in 1981, 10,000 in 1998 and 50,000 in 2012.
“Elderly people aged 100 or over are increasing thanks to improved medical and elderly care, but the pace of growth is slowing,” a ministry official said.
Japan had 72.13 centenarians per 100,000 population as of Thursday.
Among the country’s 47 prefectures, Shimane had the highest centenarian rate per 100,000 population for the 10th straight year at 142.41, followed by Kochi at 136.84 and Tottori at 132.60.
Saitama had the lowest rate for the 33rd straight year at 43.62, followed by Aichi at 44.78 and Chiba at 50.98.
Japan’s oldest woman is Fusa Tatsumi, a 115-year-old resident of Kashiwara, Osaka Prefecture. The oldest man is Shigeru Nakamura, a 111-year-old resident of Jinsekikogen, Hiroshima Prefecture.
The number of people who will turn 100 by the end of fiscal 2022 through next March stands at 45,141. Japan gives congratulatory letters and silver cups to new centenarians.