World News

Japanese teetotaller named world's oldest man at 111

TOKYO (Reuters) - An 111-year-old Japanese just named the world’s oldest man said he owed his longevity to steering clear of alcohol.

“I don’t drink alcohol -- that is the biggest reason for my good health,” Tomoji Tanabe told reporters on Monday. He also told media he does not smoke and likes a glass of milk a day.

Asked how much longer he wanted to live, the besuited Tanabe, a former local government worker, said simply: “I don’t want to die.”

Tanabe, who lives with his 66-year-old son and the son’s wife in Miyakonojo, about 900 km (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo on the island of Kyushu, met the city’s mayor to receive a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records recognizing him as the oldest man.

But he has some years to go to equal his female compatriot Yone Minagawa, 114, who is listed by Guinness as the world’s oldest person and also lives in Kyushu.

A former shepherd in Ukraine, Hyrhory Nestor, also claims that title, saying he celebrated his 116th birthday in March.

The Japanese are among the world’s longest-lived people, with 28,395 people aged 100 or above in Japan at the end of September last year, according to the Health Ministry. Researchers have attributed the phenomenon to factors including healthy diet and tight-knit communities.