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Weekly participation in sports among adults FY 2016-2019, by frequency

According to a survey conducted in 2019, more than half of respondents in Japan aged between 20 to 79 years old were participating in sports at least once a week, a slight decrease of around 1.5 percent from the previous year. About 27 percent of adults were playing sports at least three times a week in that year.

Sports promotion

Japan is one of the countries with the highest life expectancy at birth. In 2018, the estimated life span at birth in Japan increased for seven consecutive years to 84.2 years old. Annual medical expenditure of citizens also represented a continuous growth in recent years. To prevent a further rise in medical expenditure and maintain a healthy and longevity society, the government considers it essential to improve the participation rate in sports. In the Sports Fundamental Scheme announced in 2017, the government stated a goal of reaching 65 percent for once-a-week sports participation of the nation by the end of 2021.

Walking for exercise

For both female and male Japanese adults, the most popular type of physical exercise has continued to be walking, with over 60 percent of respondents participating in the activity in 2019. The Japanese government has been promoting walking as one of the most efficient and easy-to-do exercises in modern Japanese society. The average number of steps taken in a day by citizens in Japan has remained flat at around seven thousand for men and six thousand for women in the last decade. The health ministry has set a goal to increase the number of steps of people aged from 20 to 64 years old to nine thousand for men and 8,500 for women by 2022 – through the FUN+Walk promotion project. The project mainly targets people who are employed and have less time to exercise and suggests engaging more in walking during commutes and in daily routines.

Share of adults participating in sports weekly in Japan from fiscal year 2016 to 2019, by frequency

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

fiscal year 2016 to 2019; the Japanese fiscal year starts on April 1 of the stated year and ends on March 31 of the following year

Number of respondents

20,000 respondents

Age group

20-79 years*

Supplementary notes

*In Japan, people become legally of age when they turn 20 years old.

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Statistics on "Sports in Japan "

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