Great Britain

Japanese sisters aged 107 break Guinness World Record for oldest twins

Two Japanese sisters aged 107 years and 330 days have been certified by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest living identical female twins.

Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama were born on Shodoshima island in western Japan on 5 November 1913 – the third and fourth of 11 siblings.

On 1 September they broke the previous record of 107 years and 175 days set by famous Japanese sisters Kin Narita and Gin Kanie, Guinness World Records said in a statement.

Umeno Sumiyama (left) and Koume Kodama

The official certificates were presented to Ms Sumiyama and Ms Kodama, who are currently living in separate locations 300 km apart, by care home staff. Ms Sumiyama was said to have been in tears when she saw the certificate.

Guinness World Records said Ms Kodama “couldn’t fully comprehend the significance of receiving the certificate” due to memory problems.

The sisters were separated after finishing primary school, when Ms Kodama was sent to work as a maid in Oita on Japan's southern main island of Kyushu.

She later married there, while Ms Sumiyama remained on the island they grew up on and had her own family.

They rarely met until they turned 70, when they started making pilgrimages together to some of the 88 Shikoku temples and enjoyed being reconnected.

About 29 per cent of the population of 125 million in Japan, the world's fastest ageing nation, are 65 or older, according to the health and welfare ministry.

About 86,510 are centenarians - half of whom turned 100 this year.

Many other supercentenarian records have been recorded in Japan, including the oldest living person – Tanaka Kane, who is currently 118 years old – and the oldest man ever – Jiroemon Kimura, who lived to 116 years 54 days but died on 12 June 2013.

The oldest person ever to have lived was Jeanne Louise Calment, from France, who lived to 122 years and 164 days.

Additional reporting by AP

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