Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly population not only Western but also Asian industrial countries. In Caucasian, a polymorphism of the complement factor H gene (CFH), the C allele of rs1061170 (Y402H), was established as the first strong genetic factor for excursively exudative type of ARMD. In this study, we performed an extensive sequencing of the 22 exons in the CFH gene by recruiting 146 exudative ARMD patients and 105 normal controls of Japanese origin and identified 61 polymorphisms. We found that the frequency of the C allele of rs1061170 (Y402H) is much lower (0.04) in Japanese controls than in Caucasians (0.45). No case disease susceptibility to exudative ARMD was noted for rs1061170 (Y402H) (chi (2) = 3.19, P (corr) = 0.423), or other 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) whose frequency is greater than 0.05. When haplotypes were inferred for 13 SNPs (these 12 SNPs with a frequency greater than 0.05 and rs1061170), three haplotypes whose pattern was similar to those in Caucasians were identified but with substantial difference in frequency. Again we failed to identify genetic association between Japanese exudative ARMD and any of the haplotypes including the J1 haplotype which was shown to be susceptible to ARMD in Caucasians (chi (2 )=( )3.92, P (corr) = 0.157). CFH does not appear to be a primary hereditary contributor to ARMD in Japanese. The absence of CFH contribution to ARMD in Japanese may correlate with the findings in ethnic differences of ARMD phenotypes.