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Japan

Japan’s Nabi Tajima, the last person born in the 19th century, dies aged 117

US-based Gerontology Research Group says another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, is now the world’s oldest person

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 1:51pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 7:44am

The world’s oldest person, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died.

Nabi Tajima died of old age on Saturday evening in a hospital in the town of Kikai, southern Japan, according to Susumu Yoshiyuki – a health and welfare official in the town.

“Ms Tajima was living at a nursing centre for the elderly. In January, she became weaker, so she was taken to a local hospital,” Yoshiyuki said.

“She died there due to her advanced age,” he said.

Born on August 4, 1900, Tajima was the last known person born in the 19th century. She reportedly had more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren. Her town of Kikai is in Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

She became the world’s oldest person seven months ago after the death in September of Violet Brown in Jamaica, also at the age of 117. Video shown on Japanese television showed Tajima moving her hands to the beat of music played on traditional Japanese instruments at a ceremony to mark the achievement.

The US-based Gerontology Research Group says that another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, is now the world’s oldest person in its records. Miyako lives south of Tokyo in Kanagawa prefecture, and is due to turn 117 in 10 days.

Guinness World Records certified 112-year-old Masazo Nonaka of northern Japan as the world’s oldest man earlier this month, and was planning to recognise Tajima as the world’s oldest person.

Japan is known for the longevity of its people and has been home to several oldest title holders.

There are around 68,000 people aged 100 or older in the country, the government said last year.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse