World's oldest man turns 112

TOKYO Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:19am BST

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TOKYO (Reuters) - The world's oldest man celebrated his 112th birthday with two bashes at his home in southern Japan on Tuesday, then declared that he wants to live forever.

Tomoji Tanabe held his first celebration on receiving 100,000 yen ($870) and flowers from the local mayor, and the second when he was joined later by his children.

"I want to live forever. I don't want to die," Tanabe was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.

Tanabe, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living male in June 2006, is "extremely healthy," said an official at his hometown of Miyakonojo, about 900 km (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo on the island of Kyushu.

Tanabe, whose meals mainly consist of vegetables, said the key to longevity was not drinking alcohol.

Instead, he drinks milk every day and takes walks on his own in the area around his house, where he lives with his son.

The Japanese are among the world's longest-lived people, with the number of those aged 100 or older expected to reach a record of more than 32,000 by the end of the month.

Japanese women have topped the world's longevity ranking for 22 years, while their male compatriots rank second after Icelandic men.

($1=114.95 Yen)

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