"I tell ya, I am happy," he said in a clear voice to reporters who came to his home in southern Miyazaki prefecture. "I eat a lot," he said, but added he strictly avoided alcohol, cigarettes and snacks. His hobbies include perusing the newspaper, keeping a diary and talking with people. He has said he wants to live at least 10 more years.
Tanabe, who lives with a son and daughter-in-law, has eight children, 25 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. The Japanese are among the world's longest-lived people, with the number of those aged 100 or older at a record 36,276 as per the government report. Japanese women have topped the world's longevity ranks for 23 years, while men rank third after Iceland and Hong Kong.
But Japan is also faced with a future demographic crisis as fewer young people start families, putting pressure on the economic system.