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How long do they live?
Until the end of World War II, people in Japan lived to around 50. In 1940, for instance, the average life expectancy was 49.6 years for women and 46.9 years for men. The fact that a lot of babies died at birth brought the averages down.

The end of the war in 1945 raised people's life spans somewhat; between 1945 and 1950, on average, woman could expect to live to 59.6 years and men to 56.2 years.

Just half a century later, though, the Japanese became some of the longest-living people on Earth. In 2004 there were 1,016,000 Japanese who were 90 or above, and it's now normal for people to live to 80.

The fact that Japan hasn't been involved in any wars during this period is one big reason for the increased longevity. Other factors are higher nutrition and hygiene standards, advances in medical technology, and greater access to medical services, which has saved the lives of many newborns and people in the prime of their lives.

For the past decade, Japanese women have had the longest life span of any country in the world. The average life expectancy in 2001 was 85.49 years for women and 78 years for men. Some other countries where people live as long as they do in Japan are Iceland and Switzerland. Between 2001 and 2005 the average life expectancy in Iceland was 82.8 years for women and 78.9 years for men. In 2004 the average life expectancy in Switzerland was 83.7 years for women and 78.6 years for men.

How big are Japanese homes?
On average, dwellings in Japan have 92.49 square meters (about 995 square feet) of floor space per household. The average for homeowners is 121.67 square meters (about 1,308 square feet), and that for renters is 45.59 square meters (about 490 square feet).

By number of rooms, the average for all households is 4.73. On average, homeowners have 5.91 rooms, and renters have 2.84. Six out of 10 Japanese live in single-family houses. The rest live in apartments and other multi-unit buildings.

One survey says that 80% of families with children have at least one room for the kids, and about 50% provide one room for each child. The average size of a kid's room is 10 square meters (around 108 square feet).