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Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 3;6:22255. doi: 10.1038/srep22255.

Inequality in mortality by occupation related to economic crisis from 1980 to 2010 among working-age Japanese males.

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Medical Officer, International Health Cooperation, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, 1-21-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-8655, Japan.
Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 1-3-7 Hongo Bunkyo-ku Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan.


The mortality rate for Japanese males aged 30-59 years in managerial and professional spiked in 2000 and remains worse than that of other occupations possibly associated with the economic downturn of the 1990s and the global economic stagnation after 2008. The present study aimed to assess temporal occupation-specific mortality trends from 1980 to 2010 for Japanese males aged 30-59 years for major causes of death. We obtained data from the Occupation-specific Vital Statistics. We calculated age-standardized mortality rates for the four leading causes of death (all cancers, suicide, ischaemic heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease). We used a generalized estimating equation model to determine specific effects of the economic downturn after 2000. The age-standardized mortality rate for the total working-age population steadily declined up to 2010 in all major causes of death except suicide. Managers had a higher risk of mortality in all leading causes of death compared with before 1995. Mortality rates among unemployed people steadily decreased for all cancers and ischaemic heart disease. Economic downturn may have caused the prolonged increase in suicide mortality. Unemployed people did not experience any change in mortality due to suicide and cerebrovascular disease and saw a decline in cancer and ischemic heart disease mortality, perhaps because the basic properties of Japan's social welfare system were maintained even during economic recession.

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