More Than 47,000 People in Japan Are 100 or Older

By STAFF | September 13, 2011 | 7:28 AM EDT
TOKYO (AP) - Japan says it has a record 47,756 people aged 100 or older -- most of them women.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Tuesday the total was up 3,307 from a year ago -- and four times more than Japan had a dozen years ago.

Some 87.1 percent of them were women. The oldest is 114-year-old Chiyono Hasegawa, who was born Nov. 20, 1896.

The credibility of these statistics was questioned last year after it became clear that some people included in the tally were dead or missing. The ministry relies on residential registration records to compile the statistics.

Japan is one of the world's most rapidly aging societies.