Japan in the News: Happy 113th birthday for world’s oldest man

TOKYO (Reuters) – The world’s oldest man celebrated his 113th birthday on Thursday, telling reporters at his home in southern Japan about his joyful life and healthy appetite.

“I’m happy,” said Tomoji Tanabe as the local mayor presented him with flowers and a giant tea cup glazed with his name and date of birth. “I’m well. I eat a lot,” he added.

Tanabe, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living male last year, eats mostly vegetables and believes the key to longevity is not drinking alcohol.

The former civil servant lives with his son, drinks milk every day and has no major illnesses, although he now writes in his diary only once or twice a month. He used to write on a daily basis.

“His favorite food is fried shrimp, but we’ve heard that he’s cut back on oily food,” said an official at his hometown of Miyakonojo, about 900 km (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

“He’s said he wants to live for another 10 years, that he doesn’t want to die.” The Japanese are among the world’s longest-lived people, with the number of those aged 100 or older at a record 36,276, a government report last week showed.

Japanese women have topped the world’s longevity ranks for 23 years, while men rank third after Iceland and Hong Kong.

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