Cancer Still the Leading Cause of Death in Japan, Despite Advances in Treatment

Seventeen years after it first became the leading cause of death in Japan, cancer remains the number one killer in the archipelago nation, according to a study commissioned by the country’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Ever since 1947, when the country first began collecting public health data, the death rate from cancer has been on a steady rise. And since 1981, despite dramatic advances in cancer treatment and a rising survival rate among cancer patients, deaths from cancer have surpassed all other causes of death in Japan, including heart disease and pneumonia.