The number of Japanese at least 100 years old has reached a record 51,376 people, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported ahead of Respect for the Aged Day, a national holiday that falls this year on September 17.
The ministry said on Saturday that was an increase of 3,620 from last year.
About 87 percent of the centenarians are women. The oldest is 114-year-old Koto Okubo, who was born on December 24, 1897. Little is known about Okubo, since she was "discovered and identified" at this year's annual census done in Japan.
The oldest man is 115-year-old Jirouemon Kimura, whose birthday is April 19, 1897. He has 5 children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, and 13 great-great grandchildren.
Japan, with a population of some 128 million people, is one of the world’s most rapidly aging societies with one of the lowest birthrates and one of the longest life expectancies.
When the first survey of demographic trends was conducted in Japan in 1963, the number of centenarians totaled 153. By the end of the 20th century, it reached 11,346 and topped 40,000 in 2009.