The levels of risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) in men in the post World War II (WWII) birth cohort are almost similar between Japan and the USA, except for the considerably higher prevalence of cigarette smoking in Japan and the much higher prevalence of obesity in the USA. The present study evaluated the CHD mortality among men in the post WWII birth cohort by prefecture in Japan in 1995-1999 and then compared the data with those for white men in different states in the USA. There was a greater than 2-fold difference in CHD mortality among men aged 35-44 by prefecture in Japan: 5.3/100,000 in Kumamoto vs 12.6/100,000 in Tochigi. CHD mortality among men aged 35-44 in the top 3 prefectures in Japan is about half that of white men in the USA and is similar to that of white men in the lowest 3 states. The much lower CHD mortality in Japan does not appear to be caused by differences in the classification of causes of death and the results suggest that there may be strong and important protective factors that reduce the risk of CHD in Japan.