Variation in the gene encoding the cysteine protease calpain-10 has been linked and associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. We have examined the effect of three polymorphisms in the calpain-10 gene (SNP-43, Indel-19, and SNP-63) on the development of type 2 diabetes in the Japanese population in a pooled analysis of 927 patients and 929 controls. We observed that SNP-43, Indel-19, and SNP-63 either individually or as a haplotype were not associated with altered risk of type 2 diabetes with the exception of the rare 111/221 haplogenotype (odds ratio (OR) =3.53, P=0.02). However, stratification based on the median age-at-diagnosis in the pooled study population (<50 and > or =50 years) revealed that allele 2 of Indel-19 and the 121 haplotype were associated with reduced risk in patients with later age-at-diagnosis (age-at-diagnosis > or =50 years OR=0.82 and 0.80, respectively; P=0.04 and 0.02). Thus, variation in the calpain-10 gene may affect risk of type 2 diabetes in Japanese, especially in older individuals.