SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

World's oldest person dies at 117

In rapidly graying Japan, living till you're 100 is no longer a milestone for many: Miyako Chiyo, the oldest person i...

Posted: Jul 28, 2018 11:09 PM
Updated: Jul 28, 2018 11:09 PM

In rapidly graying Japan, living till you're 100 is no longer a milestone for many: Miyako Chiyo, the oldest person in the country and world, died Sunday aged 117, according to the country's Health Ministry.

Chiyo was born on May 22, 1901 and became the oldest living woman in Japan after Misao Okawa, then the country's oldest person, died in April 2015.

Japan is considered a 'super-aged' nation

As of February 2018, there were 69,000 people over 100 years old

Okawa was born on March 5, 1898. She was one month younger at her death than Chiyo was when she died.

Chiyo passed away just after Guinness World Records recognized her as the oldest person alive and the oldest woman alive.

In a statement released by the organization, the 117-year-old's family described her as a patient, kind and chatty "goddess" who brought joy to those around her. Chiyo loved eating Japanese foods such as sushi and eel and enjoyed practicing calligraphy.

Her successor as oldest woman has yet to be officially confirmed by Guinness. The title of oldest man in Japan is currently held by Masazo Nonaka, who turned 113 on July 25.

Graying Japan

With its historically-low fertility rate, Japan is considered a "super-aged" nation, where most of the populace is over 65.

As of February 2018, there were 69,000 people over 100 years old, according to Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, 9,000 of them are men, and 60,000 of them are women.

Though centenarians are spread across Japan, in Okinawa, the ratio is among the world's highest: about 50 per 100,000 people.

With over 1,000 centenarians, Okinawa has earned a reputation as a "land of the immortals" and is one of five "Blue Zones," areas around the world in which people live much longer than average.

But Japan's case is no longer unique. By 2020, there will be 13 "super-aged" countries, according to a 2014 report by Moody's Investors Service.

As aging populations increase, the pressure to care for the elderly can put a strain on families as well as social systems.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that the working-age populations in many mature Western economies will fall more than 20% between 2015 and 2055, along with their gross domestic product. But increasingly, silver populations do not necessarily spell disaster.

"It's important to realize that older populations present challenges but also opportunities," said John Roland Beard, director of the Department of Aging and Life Course at the World Health Organization. "We need to shift away from the outdated stereotype that people retire and that's that, to ensuring that older people can continue to participate in society."

Makoto Suzuki, an 84-year-old cardiologist and pioneering geriatrician agrees with Beard's stance. He has chosen to focus his research on what older people can do to stay healthy while continuing to contribute to society.

"We need longer-living, healthier, happier old people," he told CNN in March.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 176157

Reported Deaths: 2461
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35145568
Washington23569229
Marion20282299
Clackamas15499204
Lane11722144
Jackson9984127
Umatilla798483
Deschutes721472
Linn418763
Yamhill412575
Klamath353759
Polk346452
Malheur343058
Josephine307862
Douglas305765
Benton275418
Jefferson207432
Coos198431
Columbia155426
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130228
Hood River113029
Morrow108115
Clatsop9008
Crook89119
Baker86114
Curry5999
Tillamook5833
Grant4204
Lake4147
Harney3136
Wallowa1575
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3723446

Reported Deaths: 61122
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122964123668
Riverside2976204547
San Bernardino2949734561
San Diego2753683674
Orange2691764900
Santa Clara1173172017
Kern1080131331
Sacramento1016651647
Fresno1007021646
Alameda855831477
Ventura803321002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus605831032
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41226560
San Francisco36094529
Santa Barbara33926446
Solano32047239
Merced31289453
Sonoma29720311
Imperial27995719
Kings22781245
Placer21908283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16289240
Santa Cruz15666204
Marin13868226
Yolo13572200
Shasta11747219
Butte11601196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598963
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399347
Humboldt363138
Amador362946
Lake341643
Glenn235825
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4287
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned440
Medford
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 42°
Brookings
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 58°
Medford
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 42°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 42°
Klamath Falls
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 33°
Sunny, warm, and breezy Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events