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Oldest climber of Everest is Japanese man aged 71

A 71-year-old Japanese mountain climber has become the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, a news report said Tuesday.

Katsusuke Yanagisawa was 71 years, 2 months and 2 days old when he reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak on May 22, Kyodo News agency reported.

He beat the previous record set last year by another Japanese climber, Takao Arayama, who was aged 70 years, 7 months and 13 days, Kyodo said.

Yanagisawa, a retired junior high school teacher from central Japan, left a camp in the Chinese-controlled Tibetan autonomous region on April 8 to begin scaling the peak, the report said. He was part of a New Zealand climbing expedition, according to Kyodo.

"I feel relieved. Thanks to my partners, I was able to set a record as the oldest climber," Yanagisawa told Kyodo on Tuesday from Nepal's capital, Katmandu.

Yanagisawa was the third Japanese in recent years to set a record as the oldest climber on Everest. In 2003, Yuichiro Miura became the oldest to reach the summit at 70 years, 7 months and 10 days.

Miura told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he plans to scale Everest again next year, at age 75.

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