Dear Un-Economist: I’m a permanent resident of Japan and I’m worried because more and more people are dying in Japan every year, and cancer death rates in particular are going through the roof. So I guess my question is: Should I go back to the EU and its socialized medicine・America with its guns, or should I try to brave it out here? I don’t want to give up my Charisma-man status.
Dear permanent resident: How old are you? I’m asking you this because Japan is a rapidly aging society and old people have a way of, you Know, dying. And the older you get, the more you tend to die from the inside out, with cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and an assortment of organ failures as they break down; instead of from the outside, from (alcohol-fueled) car accidents and gunshot wounds (one thing we have little cause to worry about in Japan statistically speaking) and the like. So yes, death, and more specifically cancer and cardiovascular disease are on the up and up, both in absolute terms and relative to the overall population. But I’d still put my money on Japan if I were you. Fewer and fewer people are dying here in every age group since 1965, as this Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry table shows. I’m betting that cancer and heart disease deaths also went down from 2005 to 2007, the years for which the table displays annual figures.