Background: Using a previously developed method for calculating expected years of life with care needs based on data from the Japanese long-term care insurance system, we examined recent trends in expected years of life with care needs by age group and prefecture. Methods: Information on care needs was available from the long-term care insurance system of Japan. Expected years of life with care needs by age group and prefecture in 2005-2009 were calculated. Results: Expected years of life with care needs at age 65 increased from 1.43 years in 2005 to 1.62 years in 2009 for men, and from 2.99 to 3.44 years for women. As a proportion of total life expectancy, these values show an increase from 7.9% to 8.6% in men and from 12.9% to 14.4% in women. Expected years with care needs did not increase in the age groups of 65 to 69 and 70 to 74 years but markedly increased in the age group of 85 years or older. Expected years with care needs increased in every prefecture during the period studied. The difference in 2005 between the 25th and 75th percentiles in prefectural distributions was 0.16 years for men and 0.35 years for women. The difference remained nearly constant between 2005 and 2009. Conclusions: Expected number of years of life with care needs increased among Japanese from 2005 to 2009, and there was a wide range in distribution among prefectures. Further studies on coverage of care needs under the longterm insurance program are necessary.
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