World’s oldest living person celebrates 116th birthday in Japan

People: Kimura lives with granddaughter-in-law; maintains diet of rice,pumpkins and sweet potatoes

Written by Press Trust Of India | Tokyo | Published: April 20, 2013 3:02 am

The world’s oldest person turned 116 Friday as local health chiefs in Japan launch a study to find out why he and many of those around him have lived so long.

Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura celebrated his birthday with congratulations from around the world and from Japan’s prime minister.

Kimura was crowned the world’s oldest person by Guinness World Records last December after the death of 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa in the United States.

“I truly congratulate your on your 116th birthday,” Prime Minister Shenzo Abe said in a video message.

“I’m 58 years old,still a young man at only half your age. Thanks to your generation’s efforts,Japan could overcome several difficult times and achieve the prosperity we enjoy today. Your healthy existence becomes our confidence and pride.”

The mayor of Kyotango City,Yasushi Nakayama,visited Kimura at his home to present him with messages from around the world.

Kimura is living with his 60-year-old granddaughter-in-law and has a three-meal-a-day diet of rice,pumpkins and sweet potatoes,according to local media.

Kyotango now wants to find the secret of his longevity and has launched a research project.

“We would like to research the eating habits of not only Mr Kimura but also about 50 other old people over 100 years old in the city,” the official said. “We are interested in what they eat and how much. We are especially keen to research on how much salt they consume.”

The city of Kyotango,near Kyoto,is sandwiched between the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and a mountain range. It is naturally blessed with good seafood and farm products,the official said. “We are also interested in knowing what kinds of local food they like to eat and if this helps them live so long,” he said.

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