At 111, the world’s oldest man has no plans to surrender his title anytime soon.
“I don’t want to die,” Tomoji Tanabe told reporters Monday, while receiving a certificate from the Guinness World Records at a ceremony in southern Japan verifying him as the world’s eldest male.
Tanabe, who lives in the southern city of Miyakonojo, in Miyazaki prefecture, took the title in January following the death of Emiliano Mercado Del Toro, of Puerto Rico, who at 115 was then the oldest human. But Tanabe, born Sept. 18, 1895, was certified by Guinness only earlier this month, according to Kyodo News agency.
He thanked his children and grandchildren for caring for him over the years and described Monday’s event as “nothing special.”
A former city land surveyor, Tanabe drinks milk, keeps a daily diary, avoids alcohol and does not smoke.
Coincidentally, the world’s oldest person, a woman, is also Japanese. Yone Minagawa, 114, was born Jan. 4, 1893.
The number of Japanese living beyond 100 has almost quadrupled in the past 10 years, with the once-exclusive centenarian club expected to exceed 28,000 this year. Experts often attribute the longevity to a Japanese diet rich in vegetables and fish.