Japan heat wave death toll soars amid record temperatures | News | DW | 23.07.2018
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Japan heat wave death toll soars amid record temperatures

Japan has issued fresh health warnings amid temperatures of 40C (106F) that extremely hot days "are expected to continue until early August." Japan has recorded its highest ever temperature during the deadly heat wave.

Japanese officials on Monday warned people to be extremely careful to avoid heatstroke in areas where temperatures are 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and above. The country's disaster management agency has encouraged people to use air conditioning, drink enough water and take regular rest breaks at work.

Soaring temperatures

Japan has been hit with intense heat for the last two weeks. Kumagaya, a city north of Tokyo, hit 41.1C on Monday, setting a new national temperature record. Ome, a Tokyo suburb, recorded 40.3C — the first time temperatures over 40 have been recorded in the capital's metropolitan area. Kyoto's annual Gion Matsuri parade was canceled on Sunday following seven straight days above 38 degrees. 

Read more: Japan heat wave raises concerns over Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

World map showing areas where extreme heat has been recorded in June and July

Cruel summer

Officials last week said at least 12 people had died, including a young schoolboy who collapsed during a school field trip. More than 12,000 others were hospitalized during the first two weeks of July. The death toll may have at least doubled since then: 11 people were reported to have died on Saturday alone across Japan. The figure is expected to be updated during the week.

 "People should be all the more careful as many people must be exhausted after days of cruelly hot weather," meteorologist Minako Sakurai told France's AFP news agency. 

A businessman wipes his face during the heat wave in Tokyo (Reuters/I. Kato)

A businessman wipes his face during the heat wave in Tokyo

Japan 2020 Summer Olympics

This year's record temperatures have renewed concerns about the Summer Olympics that will be held in Tokyo in two years. The city's governor on Monday compared the current heat wave with "living in a sauna." Yuriko Koike vowed to take countermeasures against the heat to ensure a successful event in 2020.

kw/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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