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Monday, 17th September 2012
In General Japan News,

Japan marks 'Respect for Aged Day'

Today (September 17th), millions of Japanese people across the Far East nation are set to join together to show their admiration for their elders as part of the nation's "Respect for Aged Day".

The annual celebration comes just days after figures from a government report in the region showed that the number of centenarians in Japan had risen to over 50,000.

According to the findings of the health, labour and welfare ministry, as of September 1st, the number of Japanese people aged 100 or more stood at 51,376.

This was not only up 3,620 on the previous year, but also reflected the highest amount ever seen in the region.  Prior to this, the number of centenarians alive in 1998 stood at 10,000, with the figure climbing to 40,000 as of 2009.

The oldest person in the country was named as Jiroemon Kimura, who is 115 years of age and current lives in Kyotango in the Kyoto prefecture of the country.

Meanwhile, the oldest living female is Koto Okubo of Kawasaki in the Kanagawa prefecture.

According to the report, women dominated this age group, accounting for an estimated 87.3 per cent of the total currently residing in Japan.

These centenarians lead a relatively active lifestyle too, with hobbies such as writing haiku, gardening and reading accompanied by moderate and regular physical exercise.

Few compare to the feats of Dr Saburo Shochi though. The 106-year-old made international news headlines this month, after returning from a month-long round-the-world trip.

Setting off from his residence in Fukuoka, Dr Shochi journeyed to South Africa and Cape Town, where he duly delivered a speech to visitors at the International Congress of Psychology.

From there, the elderly academic moved on through a variety of universities  and hospitals littered throughout Africa, Europe and even North America, giving lectures on health and education among children.

The trip saw Dr Shochi become the oldest man to circumnavigate the globe, earning Guinness world record status for his troubles.

And as Japan celebrates its aged residents on this day, the globe-trotting doctor has some simple words of wisdom for those eager to listen:

"I never utter the phrase 'I'm tired' anytime in my life, no matter how tired I am," he said.

Posted by Graham McPherson

Related news stories:
Japanese forced to leave work to care for aging population (14th May 2013)
More than 40,000 Japanese now aged over 100 (11th September 2009)
Japan celebrates Respect for the Aged Day (15th September 2008)
A quarter of Japan?s population 65 or over (30th June 2016)