Japanese resistance to death evolves into immunity

Japan running out of middle fingers to stick at nature

Japan is well-known for its significant production of supercentenarians due to a combination of a healthy diet, universal healthcare and being anal about cleanliness – but now the people of  Okinawa Island, home to more centenarians per capita than anywhere else in the world, are avoiding death entirely. “Only” 34 out of every 100,000 citizens of Japan’s fifth largest island can expect to live past 100, with even fewer making it to the numerically insignificant 120 mark. However, the 2012 census has shown that the death rate drops off entirely after that age, almost as if the Grim Reaper gives up chasing after so long. Japanese doctors researching into this phenomenon have uncovered a potential cause: by this critical age the immune system finally perfects its response against death, exhausting the list of possible “natural causes” that the body can succumb to. However, the risk of overpopulation is minimal as non-medical causes remain unaffected, as does one of the country’s favourite pastimes, suicide.

An unexpected consequence of this demographic shift is increased sales of red meat, alcohol and cigarettes, with the increasing number of Okinawans who can’t die from heart disease or stroke and sick of having had to eat raw fish for their entire lives.

Local fisherman Takuma Akimoto, who recently celebrated his 120th birthday, was spotted in McDonalds eating his first Big Mac: “All my life I haven’t enjoyed a single meal, I deserve it. Consider this my retirement from Japanese cuisine.”

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