Deadly heat wave in Japan – Six dead in Tokyo

Heat stroke causes many deaths in Japan

Screenshot 6 7 Japan, heatwave

Six people have died of heatstroke in Tokyo in recent days as Japan experiences an unusual heat wave for the rainy season, prompting authorities to issue a series of health warnings.

Over the weekend, Shizuoka Prefecture (center) was the first in Japan to see the mercury hit 40C this year, surpassing the 35C mark that corresponds to the weather service's definition of "extremely hot" day.

Such intense heat during the rainy season is premature and "quite rare", caused in part by a strong high-pressure system in the South Pacific, a Japan Meteorological Agency official told AFP.

Temperatures reached highs near 40 degrees Celsius yesterday in Tokyo and Wakayama (west), according to local media.

In recent days, authorities have issued warnings for much of the country, urging residents to avoid outdoor exercise and use air conditioners indoors.

The capital recorded three heatstroke-related deaths on Saturday and another three yesterday, Monday, when the mercury hovered around 35°C mid-day, according to city health authorities.

"Without air conditioning, it's hard for me to survive," Sumiko Yamamoto, a 75-year-old Tokyo resident, told AFP. "Thanks to the advice given on TV, I try to hydrate as much as possible," he said.

Heatstroke is causing many deaths in Japan, where the population is the oldest in the world after Monaco.

The elderly are considered particularly vulnerable to the heat, as are young children and people who live alone or do not have air conditioning.

Yesterday, the Japan Medical Association issued a warning of a rise in the death toll from heat stress, rising from a few hundred a year 20 years ago to nearly 1.500 in 2022. The death toll suggests the risk of heatstroke now corresponds with this a "major natural disaster", according to the Association.