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News Japan sees first decline in life expectancy in a decade


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Japan saw its first dent in life expectancy in 2021: the average life span for women was 87.57 years (down by 0.14 years from 2020), while that of men shrank by 0.09 years to 81.47 years. This is the first decline since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

Japan retains its first position in terms of life expectancy for women, followed by South Korea (86.5 years) and Singapore (85.9 years), while that for men ranks in the third position, behind Switzerland (81.6 years) and Norway (81.59 years).

The average life expectancy in Japan is still on a rising trend. The number of coronavirus patients in Japan surged in 2021, the second year of the pandemic, driven by the highly-contagious Delta and Omicron variants. About 16,000 people died of the virus in that year, according to calculation by the ministry. Average life expectancy is the average length of time a person at birth is expected to live, assuming that the death rate in a year does not change. According to the ministry's estimate, 88.3 percent of Japanese women who were born last year are expected to live until 75 years old, while the corresponding percentage for men is predicted to be 76.0 percent.

I haven't been closely following the arithmetic of the pandemic for a couple of years now, but it doesn't surprise me that the effect on the overall mortality of Japan (particularly its aging population) should drop the average lifespan by a few months.

Japan's long life span and the merits/demerits of such is a conversation that has gained a toehold at the Majestic dinner table of late. So these details about 0.14 years or 0.09 years...I'm looking at them in a different light lately. I find myself in agreement with Mrs. Majestic that a longer lifespan is only a good thing if you can enjoy a high "quality of life" in your later years. If you are hooked up to tubes and unable to eat or drink or travel or enjoy the company of your friends and family, would you really want to live another 3 months or 6 months or 12 months? Sorry if it sounds morbid on this lovely day. Here's to hoping we can all live to 87.57 years, eating great food, drinking great wine/whiskey, and snowboarding or hang-gliding or whatever.
I'm glad we have assisted suicide here in Maine and my doctor is all for it in the right conditions. At 72 , death doesn't scare me too much. The thought of leaving my wife in deep dept over longterm medical bills by me is a major worry. I'm also deathly allergic to morphine and other common pain meds so having a long painful death is not something I want to deal with. If my life ever becomes a big issue with no enjoyment or pleasure to it , I won't be afraid to end it. Maybe it's just an old age thing that makes me feel this way. Right now , life is good so I don't worry about it.
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