This is the result of 1,000 electric bolts

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Friday, April 7, 2006

Japan Remains Top In Average Life Span: WHO Report

GENEVA (Nikkei)–Japanese remained the longest-lived people in the world in 2004, with an average life expectancy of 82 years, unchanged from the previous year, according to the World Health Report 2006 released Friday by the World Health Organization.

The top spot was shared by Monaco and San Marino, where the average life span increased from 81 years the previous year.

By gender, Japanese women had the world’s longest life expectancy, at 86 years. Japanese men had an average life span of 79 years, with some small European countries, including San Marino and Iceland, trailing closely.

Sixteen of the WHO’s 192 member states had average life expectancies of 80 years or longer, two more countries than the previous year, suggesting that the populations of industrialized nations are progressively aging.

Japan also had the highest ratio of people aged 60 or older to the entire population, at 25.6%.

The country ranked 23rd in terms of the lowest average number of children a woman gives birth to during her lifetime, at 1.33. Ukraine topped the list at 1.12, followed by the Czech Republic’s 1.17 and Slovakia’s 1.18.

Among other countries with lower birthrates than Japan were South Korea, at 1.20, and Germany and Singapore, at 1.32.

Sixty-six countries, roughly one-third of the total, had birthrates of less than 2.1, the level seen as necessary to avoid a population decline.

(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Friday evening edition)