Heatwave in Japan pushes temperatures to record high
Mercury rises above 40 degrees in Tokyo during heatwave in which 23 people have died
A kimono-clad woman using a sun umbrella on a street during a heatwave in Tokyo, Japan on Monday. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters
The temperature rose to a record 41.1 Celsius in a city northwest of Tokyo on Monday, as a heatwave in Japan that has killed at least 23 people and sent thousands to hospital showed no sign of significant easing.
Records go back to varying dates for different cities, with data for Kumagaya starting in 1896.
Japan has been battered by intense heat for close to two weeks but the mercury soared on Monday, breaking above 40 in one part of the broader Tokyo metropolitan area, while the centre of the capital marked a high of 39 in the early afternoon.
According to the Fire and Defence Management Agency, which issues weekly data, 12 people had died from the heat as of July 15th, the latest available figures. Media reports say at least 11 more died this past Saturday alone, while thousands have been taken to hospital.
Among the dead was a primary school boy who collapsed after a field trip to a park 20 minutes’ walk from his school.
Temperatures in the ancient capital of Kyoto marked a record last week of seven straight days above 38 degrees, hitting 39.8 on July 19th, and prompting the city to cancel one of its biggest annual tourist events, a parade for the Gion Matsuri, on Sunday.
With the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020, concern has risen about the safety of athletes and spectators.
The heat, due to a layering of two high pressure systems over much of Japan, is expected to ease slightly this week but temperatures of about 33 are expected. – Reuters