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TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - If Japan was a person, it would be in its 50s. By contrast, China would be a little over 30, slightly younger than India and more than a decade younger than Italy, a survey conducted in Japan showed.
According to 1,700 Japanese who replied to the online survey, their nation, at an average age of 51.7, was the oldest of nine nations from Asia, Europe and the United States, said Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Learning, a research center affiliated with advertising giant Hakuhodo DY Holdings
More than half said Japan Sun was in its 50s or 60s.
Giant neighbor China was the youngest at 31.5 years, Singapore came in at 32.5 years, and India was 32.7.
"The fact that China appeared to be so much younger probably reflects the sense most Japanese have of it being a nation that's full of energy," said a researcher.
"We'd expected Japan to have an image as an older nation, but not by quite that much."
Japan was closely followed by the United States at 47.3 and Sweden at 45.8, the survey said. Italy was 44.6 years old.
Asked the reasons for their answers about Japan, many respondents said they felt their nation had lost its way and was running out of steam, living on memories of past glory.
"Unless we make one more real push, I think it could all be over," said a 52-year-old woman who was not named.
Some people said they thought Japan was actually even older, with one 43-year-old woman saying 70.
"We've peaked out as an economic superpower and neighboring countries want nothing to do with us. My sense is that we're a country of the past," she said.
No details were given on answers regarding other nations.
Reporting by Elaine Lies; editing by Miral Fahmy