Although Asian people have the lowest incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer in the world, these rates have risen rapidly in the past two decades in most Asian countries. Prostate cancer has become one of the leading male cancers in some Asian countries. In 2000, the age-adjusted incidence was over 10 per 100000 men in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Israel. Although some of the increases may result from enhanced detection, much of the increased incidence may be associated with westernization of the lifestyle, with increasing obesity and increased consumption of fat. The differences in incidences between native Americans and Asian immigrants are getting smaller, reflecting a possible improvement of diagnostic efforts and changes of environmental risk factors in Asian immigrants. Nevertheless, the huge variations in incidences among ethnic groups imply that there are important genetic risk factors. The stage distributions of prostate cancer in Asian populations are still unfavorable compared to those of Western developed countries. However, a trend towards diagnosing cancer with more favorable prognosis is seen in most Asian countries. Both genetic and environmental risk factors responsible for elevated risks in Asian people are being identified, which may help to reduce prostate cancer incidence in a chemopreventive setting.