World’s Oldest Person Dies In Japan Aged 117

The world’s oldest person – a woman from Japan – has died a few weeks after celebrating her 117th birthday.

Misao Okawa shortly before she celebrated her 117th birthday last month
Misao Okawa shortly before she celebrated her 117th birthday last month

Misao Okawa died at the nursing home where she had been living with relatives and care workers by her side, a manager at the home said.

The manager Tomohiro Okada praised her for achieving a long, healthy life.

“She went so peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep. We miss her a lot,” he said.

Ms Okawa was born in Osaka on 5 March, 1898 and was recognised as the oldest person in the world in 2013 by Guinness World Records.

Guinness World Records said it was now in the process of searching for her successor.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said the country’s oldest person was now a 115-year-old woman from Tokyo.

The name of the woman, who was born 15 March, 1900, was not released at the request of her family, the ministry said.

Okawa lost her appetite about 10 days ago, according to the home where she had been living.

Until then, she had been eating well, enjoying her daily cup of coffee and her favourite dishes, including ramen.

She is said to have died from heart failure.

Born the daughter of a kimono maker, Ms Okawa married her husband Yukio in 1919 before having two daughters and a son.

She said at her recent birthday celebration that her life seemed rather short. Asked for the secret of her longevity, she responded nonchalantly: “I wonder about that too.”

She was survived by four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1931.

Japan has the most centenarians in the world, with more than 58,000, according to the government. About 87% of them are women.