Life expectancy in Japan drops for the first time in more than a decade

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, life expectancy in Japan in 2021 has dropped for the first time in a decade.

In 2021, life expectancy was 87.57 years for women and 81.47 years for men. Compared to the records achieved in 2020, it is down 0.14 years for women and 0.09 years for men.


Thus, this was the first time in a decade, following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, that average life expectancy had declined from the previous year for both men and women.

By 2020 there were new records for nine consecutive years for men and eight consecutive years for women. But what led to this fall?


After all, we cannot simply blame the pandemic, as in 2020 life expectancy has increased in the country. And by 2020, there wasn’t even a vaccine being widely applied to all people.

Japanese women had the highest average life expectancy in 2020, while men had the second highest average life expectancy, both hitting records.

So, check out more details about the drop in life expectancy in Japan.


Drop in life expectancy in Japan

To have a parameter, life expectancy in Brazil is 76.8, in general average. Thus, we can see that, as much as life expectancy in Japan has fallen, it is still far from reaching the levels of Brazil.

Now, let’s see what caused the life expectancy of the Japanese to drop.

In 2021, COVID-19 reduced life expectancy by 0.07 years for women and 0.10 years for men. This was a much bigger impact than 2020, when those numbers were 0.02 years and 0.03 years, respectively. However, for diseases such as cancer and pneumonia, year-to-year changes in average life expectancy show a positive trend, so it is believed that people will continue to live longer.


Despite the drop, Japan remains at the top in terms of life expectancy for women, followed by South Korea at 86.5 years and Singapore at 85.9 years, according to the ministry.

Japan ranked third for men in the ranking led by Switzerland, whose men have an average life expectancy of 81.6 years and Norway at 81.59 years.

Read too:

The effects of the pandemic on life expectancy in Japan

The number of coronavirus patients in Japan increased in 2021, the second year of the pandemic, driven by the highly contagious Delta and Omicron variants. About 16,000 people died from the virus that year, according to the ministry’s calculation.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, as much as life expectancy has increased in 2020, it has a strong impact on the index.

Therefore, it is not possible to belittle it, even with the other diseases, COVID still victimized many people in 2021.

Now, it is up to the government to take the necessary measures so that life expectancy in the country grows again.

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