Japanese centenarian population edges towards 70,000

Number of people aged 100 or older reaches record high, with women making up 88% of total

The number of Japanese people aged 100 or older has risen to a record high of almost 70,000 over the past year – a cause both for celebration and concern over the social and economic challenges posed by the country’s rapidly ageing society.

Japan’s centenarian population was 69,785 as of September, with women making up 88% of the total, according to welfare ministry estimates reported by Kyodo News.

Related: Japanese centenarians' honorary gifts hit by austerity as numbers soar

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