Japan not longer leading in lowering mortality

JAPAN, which achieved major reductions in adult mortality through the 1950s and ’60s, is now lagging behind other affluent countries, researchers say.

Since 1995, the pace of decline for mortality in Japanese men aged 15–59 years has fallen behind Sweden, Italy and Australia.

For adult women, it has fallen behind Sweden. 

A high and rising suicide rate, insufficient tobacco controls, and a rise in obesity, pose major hurdles to ongoing improvement, according to a special investigation in The Lancet.

“Without concerted action, Japan, like the USA, is likely to continue dropping in the global mortality league tables… although the relative decline will not be as severe as we are witnessing in the USA,” the report stated.

Lancet 2011, online 1 Sept