12/28/2012, 00.00
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The world has a new dean: the Japanese Kimura is the oldest man alive

At 115 years and 253 days, Jiroemon Kimura is now the oldest living person in the world. In good health and "with great desire to live," he was born during the reign of Queen Victoria. But his record is part of a social emergency for Japan's aging population and falling birth rates.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning, the Japanese Jiroemon Kimura became the oldest man in the world, at 115 years and 253 days, in fact, he has beaten the previous record set by the Danish Christian Mortensen. To make the event official the London publishers of the Guinness Book of World Records have presented him with a certificate attesting to his record.

Born April 19, 1897, while Queen Victoria reigned in London and in Japan it was the 30th year of the Meiji era, the oldest man in the world has lived as many as 3 different centuries. At the moment he is in good health, even if he spends most of his time in bed. However, he welcomed the Guinness Book of Records editors with a short speech in Japanese and even English. According to the family "he has no particular health problems, indeed he has a strong will to live."

He has been admitted to hospital for a medical check-up where he will remain until the New Year. However, doctors are confident and define the admission "a precautionary measure". Kimura lives in a two-story house where his grandson's widow, Eiko Kimura, takes care of him: "He is positive and optimistic, always happy to have guests. Has a good appetite."

The oldest man in the world is part of the 22 Japanese present on the list of Gerontology: these are the 64 longest-living elders in the world. The high frequency of Japanese in this list is also a very serious warning for Japan, where the birth rate is in free fall, compared with a constant aging of the population.

The average life expectancy in Japan has now reached 83 years, and there are 40 centenarians every 100 people: the figure is also growing. All this is of great concern to the government, which - with the second biggest public debt in the world - fears the implosion of the pension sector. For now it has raised the requirements for access a pension, but if it fails to balance the aging with a campaign for births, the country is in danger of economic collapse.



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