Hitting the age of 100 need not mean you quit work or stop pacing the fairway, according to a Japanese government survey released on Tuesday.
A 100-year-old woman farmer who modeled in an advert and a 99-year-old man who plays golf regularly are picked as examples of active old age in a Health Ministry report on the country’s centenarians.
The report also says the number of people aged 100 or over hit a record high this year — a sharp reminder of the graying of Japan’s population. Birthrates are tumbling, raising concerns that pension obligations could become unmanageable.
The number of centenarians rose by 2,459 to reach 17,934 this year, compared with just 153 in 1963, the survey said. More than 80 percent of the centenarians are women.
Included in their number are the world’s oldest person, Kamato Hongo, who turns 115 on September 16 and the oldest man in the world, Yukichi Chuganji, who is 113.
Both live on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu, but the even more southerly Okinawan chain of islands boasts the largest proportion of centenarians, with an average of 39.5 of every 10,000 people aged at least 100.
Researchers have said the warm climate, healthy diet and tight-knit social networks in southern Japan may contribute to longevity in the area.