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Secret to Japan couple's 80 years of marriage: wife's patience

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© Kwiyeon Ha/Reuters World's oldest living married couple Masao Matsumoto (L) and Miyako Matsumoto look at albums in their room at a nursing house in Takamatsu, Kagawa prefecture, Japan on Sept. 4, 2018.

By Kwiyeon Ha, Reuters

Japan is known for its abundance of centenarians and can now lay claim to having the world's oldest living married couple, with a combined age of 208 - a feat the wife credits to her patience during 80 years of marriage.

Masao Matsumoto, 108, and his 100-year-old wife, Miyako, have been confirmed as the oldest living spouses by aggregate age by Guinness World Records, having been married since October 1937.

"I am so glad. It's thanks to my patience, really," said Miyako with a laugh, posing with Masao and other family members in front of a framed certificate at the nursing home where they live.

"I am so grateful that it brings me tears," she told Reuters.

The Matsumotos never managed to have a wedding as Japan was heading into war and Masao was sent overseas as a soldier, but that was no obstacle to having a big family - including a 25th great-grandchild who was born last month.

"They've entered the last chapter of their life. It was a honor (for them) to receive this award. I would love them to continue living a peaceful life," said daughter Hiromi.

Japanese have among the longest life expectancies in the world, with data from Japan's health ministry showing they rank No.2 on average at around 84, just a smidgeon behind people from Hong Kong.

The record for oldest married couple ever by aggregate age still belongs to Norwegians Karl and Gurdren Dolven, who had a combined age of 210 years, 1 month and 34 days when Gurdrun died in 2004, according to Guinness World Records.

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