Heatwave in Japan, six dead in Tokyo

Sylvie Claire / July 11, 2024

 
Six people have died of sunstroke in Tokyo in recent days, as Japan suffers a rare heatwave in the middle of the rainy season, prompting the authorities to issue a host of health warnings.
  
Over the weekend, Shizuoka Prefecture (central Japan) was the first in Japan to see the mercury reach 40°C this year, far exceeding the 35°C threshold for an "extremely hot" day as defined by the meteorological authorities.
 
Such intense heat, during the rainy season, is premature and "rather rare", caused in part by a strong South Pacific high pressure system, an official from Japan's meteorological agency told AFP. Temperatures also reached highs close to 40°C on Monday in Tokyo and Wakayama (west), according to local media.
 
In recent days, authorities have issued warnings across much of the country, urging residents to avoid exercising outdoors and to use air conditioning indoors. The capital recorded three sunstroke-related deaths on Saturday and three more on Monday, when the mercury was approaching 35°C by mid-day, according to the city's medical examination office.
 
Heatstroke is particularly deadly in Japan, where the population is the second oldest in the world after Monaco. The elderly are considered particularly vulnerable to heat, as are small children and people living alone or unable to afford air conditioning.
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