The incidence and number of deaths from soft tissue sarcoma (STS) have been reported to increase in many countries. However, those in Japan have not been analysed over a long span of time. The objective of this study was to analyse the changing trends in the number of deaths from STS in Japan. We analysed the annual trends in the number of deaths from STS from 1955 to 2002 in Japan using the data from the Vital Statistics of Japan, Statistics and Information Department, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Until 2000, the number of deaths from STS had increased. The recent value of the annual increased ratio of deaths from STS was 0.5%[95% confidence interval (CI): −1.2–2.2%]. Men continued to have a higher number of deaths than women. The general trends in age-standardized death rates were roughly upward before 1995, although the death rates tended to decrease thereafter. The number and proportion of deaths at or after 60 years of age were increasing. The peak age group of deaths was roughly the sixties before 1982, and the seventies after 1983. The individuals in their sixties and seventies should be the focus of health promotion activities.