We determined the population-based prevalence of diabetes mellitus in members of the Japanese community, Hisayama aged 40-79 years old by a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. The basic population used to calculate diabetic prevalence was 1,077 men (72.8% of the whole population in the same age range) and 1,413 women (80.8%) including ten diabetic patients on insulin therapy. In addition, we compared the prevalence of history of diabetes which was acquired by interview or questionnaire, between participants and non-participants in the 75-g oral glucose tolerance test, but they were not statistically different. The age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes to world population was 12.7% for men and 8.4% for women, and that of impaired glucose tolerance was 19.6% for men and 18.4% for women. These figures were much higher than those previously reported from several Japanese communities. The results obtained from the present study could reveal true prevalence of diabetes among the Japanese population. In addition, the reasons for the increasing prevalence of diabetes among the recent Japanese population are also discussed.