Tomiko Itooka, a 115-year-old woman in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, has become the oldest person in Japan following the death on Tuesday of the 116-year-old previous holder of the title, the health ministry said Wednesday.

Born on May 23, 1908, in Osaka, Itooka is the eldest of three siblings and belonged to a volleyball club during her student days, according to the city where she now resides.

When she first entered a nursing home in Ashiya in 2019, she was still able to move around independently, but nowadays has to be escorted in a wheelchair to take her meals in the living room, according to staff.

Itooka enjoys sweets, and one of her pleasures is drinking the probiotic beverage Calpis, the staff said.

Ashiya Mayor Ryosuke Takashima, who was elected as the youngest mayor in Japan's history at the age of 26 in April, visited to congratulate her for her birthday this year.

Itooka became the oldest living person in Japan following the death of Fusa Tatsumi, a 116-year-old in Kashiwara, Osaka Prefecture. She died on Tuesday.

But the new record-holder has yet to be informed of the news as she currently has the flu, according to her nursing home. It intends to tell her after she recovers.