Why Japanese Live Longer

From Paolo from Tokyo.

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I’m getting my Japanese Annual Health Check called Ningen Dock which got me wondering how Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world at 84 years old, only behind Hong Kong and Macau at 85 years. Interestingly, it wasn’t always the case as recently as the 1960’s where Japan had the shortest life expectancy out of the G7 countries. So as I get my Japan Health Check, I’ll share some reasons why Japan was able to achieve a longer life expectancy over the years. But first, the Japanese Ningen Dock is Japan’s comprehensive health check system for early detection of disease broken down in 3 parts, early detection of cancer, detection of lifestyle related diseases and the confirmation of one’s health status. Ningen meaning person and dock, like a dockyard inspecting and repairing ships. In 1954, Japan established it’s first Ningen Dock day, and remember at that time, Japan had the shortest life expectancy of all the G7 countries, largely due to high mortality rates from cerebrovascular disease and stomach cancer. But over the last 60 years, Japan’s increased it’s medical level while also implementing a universal health insurance system to lower medical costs and developed a high standard of healthcare such requiring employers to pay for standard health examinations, Ippan Kenkou Shindan for their full-time employees or having more comprehensive paid examinations such as the Ningen Dock. All on top of promoting a traditional healthy diet leading to one of the longest average life expectancies in the world.

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