World's oldest person dies - Japanese woman Kama Chinen

TOKYO, May 4 (AFP) - The world's oldest person, Japanese woman Kama Chinen, has died a week short of her 115th birthday after a life spanning three centuries, Guinness World Records said Tuesday.

"Guinness World Records is saddened to learn the news of the death of the oldest living person, Kama Chinen from Japan, who died on May 2, 2010 aged 114 years 357 days," it said.

"Though confined to a wheelchair in her later years, Chinen still enjoyed the wonders of nature and being outside."

Chinen's death hands the title of world's oldest person to Eugenie Blanchard, a 114-year-old French woman living on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG).

Blanchard was born on February 16, 1896, the group said.

Chinen's reign as the oldest living person began on the death of US woman Gertrude Baines, who passed away in September 2009.

Kyodo News agency, citing the health ministry, said an unidentified 114-year-old woman had died Sunday afternoon on the southern island of Okinawa after being taken to hospital from a nursing home.

Japan has the world's highest life expectancy, according to UN figures, and Okinawa has been home to many centenarians, a fact variously attributed to the healthy diet and environment of the sub-tropical island.

Kyodo said Chiyono Hasegawa, 113, in southern Japan's Saga Prefecture was now the country's oldest person.
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