Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Japan heat wave pushes temperature to record high 41.1°C

Japan heat wave pushes temperature to record high 41.1°C

The heat wave has toppled temperature records across the country, with Kumagaya in Saitama outside Tokyo setting a new nationwide record on Monday with temperatures hitting 41.1º Celsius (106º Fahrenheit).

At least 40 people have been killed and thousands taken to hospital as temperatures reached a record 41.1C (106F) by the Japan Meteorological Agency today.

According to Kyodo News, 11 people died on Saturday alone as temperatures in Tokyo rested around 99F on Monday.

Some areas of Japan are still recovering from the deadliest rain-related flooding in Japan in more than three decades last week.

Japan's summers are notoriously hot and humid, and hundreds of people die each year from heatstroke, particularly the elderly in the country's ageing society.

In a statement, the meteorological agency said that "the potential for heat illness is higher than usual".

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According to Myers, in parts of Japan which do not often experience high temperatures, air conditioning is less prevalent, meaning people do not have cool locations to go for relief. Yonhap news agency said that the temperature in Gangneung, less than 170 km east of capital Seoul, recorded the highest-ever morning low of 31 degrees Celsius at 6.45 am, reported AP.

Tokyo's governor, Yuriko Koike, said the recent heatwave was "exactly like living in a sauna". "Historical data shows that more people are likely to be involved in vehicle crashes due to heat-related impacts, such as decreased ability to concentrate, the poor quality of sleep they get and impaired mood, etc".

More than 9,900 people were rushed to hospital during the week to mid-July, jumping from 2,700 in the previous week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Sunday.

The temperatures are also complicating flood recovery efforts in western Japan, as many volunteers struggle with the heat.

On July 18, temperatures of 40 degrees and above were recorded in Japan for the first time in nearly five years, with Tajimi and Mino cities in Gifu Prefecture hitting 40.7 degrees and 40.6 degrees, respectively.

The heatwave has also raised questions over the 2020 Olympics, set to take place in Tokyo over July and August.

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