September 11, 2010
Centenarians Overcounted In Japan
While Japan has official life expectancies of 86.4 years for women and 79.6 years for men the number of old aged is over-counted due to a combination of poor record keeping and pension fraud.
After its survey of family registration records nationwide, the ministry found that 234,354 centenarians were listed as alive, but no one seemed to know where they were, according to the Associated Press.
So perhaps the Japanese aren't so healthy after all.
Japanese people smoke a lot. They also drink a lot as well. They do live longer than Westerner, on average, partly because the Japanese diet is usually (not always) better than American diet (they do not get fat) and they tend to walk a lot more than Westerners. Most people living in the Tokyo area do not own cars because it is expensive and inconvenient to drive. So, they walk or ride a bike to the nearest train station, then stand on the platform until the train comes.
A person who had been dead decades was found recently in Japan. His family had been collecting his government checks and didn't want it to end. For that reason, some of the Japanese on that list were supposedly over 150 years old.
Pension Fraud. Say no more.
It's geriatric inflation!
Seriously, are there any government sourced data sets that can be relied on? Why so corrupt?
You get what you subsidize. Kinda like global warming alarmists.
Men over 98 or women over 103 are excluded from Japan's official longevity statistics.
Jay, I heard Bjørn Lomborg is flipping. Do the deniers have any intellectual foundation at this point?
While living in Japan I read a newspaper article on Japanese longevity. They gave the number of centenarians. I then checked the number for the US and found that we have double the number PER CAPITA of centenarians than Japan. I thought that was weird, since the Japanese are said to live longer than Americans. This was in the 1990s.
Randall, I've come to two conclusions (1) that global warming is true, and (2) that it is beyond the human capacity for forward-action.
Oh, we're willing to talk about it (a lot!) but that's about it. This is especially true if you include "China" as part of "us."
"They do live longer than Westerner, on average..."
How can you know this, given the emerging evidence that the longevity data are bogus?
It's the Rake Woebegone Japanese who all live lives longer than average...
apparently Japan has over 800 people who are listed as being over 150 years old ...
This is one of the reasons I don't take much stock in the claims that people in the United States live shorter lives than those in other developed countries. The problem is that if the difference exists even after you account for life style factors (like wealth or education), then you have to really go back and take a close look at your data collection methodology. As one small example of the problem, in the United States, if a baby dies during the child birth, it is entered into our database from which we compute life expectancy as a 0. In many European countries, the baby is counted as stillborn and stillborn babies are not registered with either birth or death certificate records. These differences in practices don't explain the entire problem, but together with evidence of pension fraud and others it does explain at least some of the difference.
I think it's worth recalling that, in the period when these centenarians were supposed to have been born, Japan had been a feudal society within living memory, illiteracy was commonplace, and record-keeping was not necessarily reliable. As a confucian society age was respected and mostly we're just taking their word for it that these people are the age they claim.
IIRC, Japanese-Americans live longer than Americans of non-Japanese descent. Genetics is the single greatest influence on longevity. Japan's traditional social structure, in which the elderly micromanaged the lives of an extended family, may have bred them for longevity.
Shannon -- I have also read that Japanese-Americans live longer than Japanese in Japan. The same source said that this was true for every other identifiable ethnic group in the US, that they lived longer in the US than in the "old country".
Dave -- I also expect that huge fractions of the records from 100 years ago were wiped out in 20th-century earthquakes and the WW2 bombing raids.
This would be funny if it weren't for the many epidemiological studies influenced by such fraudulent statistics.
"You mean they had no deep fat, hot fudge?"
"These substances were thought to be unhealthy, exactly the opposite of what we now know".
My wife and I have had many laughs over this whole episode, which started when the Tokyo metropolitan government discovered that the oldest man in Tokyo was actually a mummified corpse who had locked himself in a room in a house occupied by children and grandchildren back in 1978. That said, we follow the Japanese media fairly closely (she's Japanese, and I lived there for years), and the government body responsible for longevity statistics says this discovery will have no effect on longevity statistics, as they do not include individuals who live beyond, I think, 98 in their calculations, as they consider these to be statistical outliers in any event. This was disappointing news, as I envisioned making millions with my Japanese-language book about the longevity benefits of the Omaha diet, consisting entirely of steak and cheetos...
Figures lie. Liars Figure. Lies. Damn lies. Statistics. Biggest liars are the politicians and their bureaucracies so as to make themselves
look good. Check the latest CBO numbers. They change them at the whim of the President and Congress.
"the government body responsible for longevity statistics says this discovery will have no effect on longevity statistics, as they do not include individuals who live beyond, I think, 98 in their calculations"
Depending on when the pensionable age starts, how does anyone know that anyone above that age is alive considering the number of dead over-98's? My understanding is that pensions get deposited in people bank accounts. How many children of dead 65-98 year olds are collecting pensions or paying their rent with dead granma's pension deposit?