World's oldest man has 113th birthday in Japan

By: AP
By: AP

TOKYO (AP) -- The world's oldest man celebrated his 113th birthday Thursday in southern Japan, telling reporters he wants to live another five years. Tomoji Tanabe, who was born Sept. 18, 1895, received birthday gifts, flowers and $1,000 cash from the mayor of his hometown of Miyakonojo, on Japan's southern island of Kyushu.

Tanabe told reporters he wants to live "another five years or so," according to city spokesman Akihide Yokoyama. That was a slight downgrade from last year, when he said he wanted to live "for infinity."

The former city land surveyor, who lives with his son and daughter-in-law, is in good health and sticks to the habits that have gotten him this far. He rises early and reads the newspaper each day, drinks milk every afternoon and eats regular meals. He also avoids alcohol and does not smoke.

On Tuesday he woke up early in the morning to eat breakfast before walking out to meet the mayor and members of the press at his home, Yokoyama said. The cash gift he received is given annually to the city's oldest resident.

Japan has one of the world's longest life expectancies, nearly 86 years for women and 79 years for men, which is often attributed to the country's healthy diet rich in fish and rice.

The number of Japanese living past 100 has more than doubled in the last six years, reaching a record high of 36,000 people this year. The country's centenarian ranks are dominated by women, who make up 86 percent of the total.

Japan's centenarian population is expected to reach nearly 1 million - the world's largest - by 2050, according to U.N. projections.

The world's oldest person is 115-year-old Edna Parker, who was born on April 20, 1893, and lives in a nursing home in Indiana.

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