TOKYO (Reuters) – Kane Tanaka has extended her record as the world’s oldest person by celebrating her 117th birthday at a nursing home in Fukuoka in southern Japan.
Tanaka marked her birthday with a party on Sunday along with staff and friends at the nursing home, television footage from local broadcaster TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting Co showed.
Tanaka, whose birthday was on Jan. 2, took a bite from a slice of her big birthday cake. “Tasty,” she said with a smile. “I want some more.”
Tanaka was last year confirmed as the oldest living person, aged 116 years 66 days old as of March 9, according to Guinness World Records.
Tanaka’s record age is symbolic of Japan’s fast-ageing population, which coupled with its falling birthrate is raising concerns about labor shortages and prospects for future economic growth.
The number of babies born in Japan fell an estimated 5.9 percent last year to fewer than 900,000 for the first time since the government started compiling data in 1899, according to Japan’s welfare ministry.
Tanaka was born prematurely in 1903 and married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, Guinness World Records said. The couple had four children and adopted a fifth.
Reporting by Akiko Okamoto and Junko Fujita; Editing by David Holmes
Image: FILE PHOTO: 116-year-old Japanese woman Kane Tanaka celebrates during a ceremony to recognise her as the world’s oldest person living and world’s oldest woman living by the Guinness World Records in Fukuoka, Japan March 9, 2019. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS