Aug 7, 2019

57 Dead, 18,000 Hospitalized in Japan Heat Wave

Japan
by
Jordan Davidson
,
EcoWatch via Deutsche Welle
People walk in the street during a hot day in Tokyo's district of Ueno on August 7. Credit: Charly Triballeau, AFP Getty
People walk in the street during a hot day in Tokyo's district of Ueno on August 7. Credit: Charly Triballeau, AFP Getty

While the worst of this summer's heat seems to have passed in the U.S. and Europe, Japan is in the throes of a dangerous heat wave.

The end of the rainy season last week brought a dangerous heat wave that claimed the lives of 57 people in Japan and sent tens of thousands to the island nation's hospitals for heat related illness, the Japan Times reported.

The week that started on July 29 saw triple the number of heat-related hospitalizations as the week before. At 18,347, that's the second highest number since heat-related records started in 2008, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, as the Japan Timesreported.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the surge in hospitalizations, deaths and people collapsing from heat stroke is partly due to people's bodies, which adapted to the cool weather of the rainy season and did not sweat much, have been unable to cope with the sudden spike in temperature, according to the Japan News.

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From July 1 to July 23, one person died in Japan from heat stroke. The following week, the official end of the rainy season, saw 11 deaths when temperatures reached 98.6 degrees in central Japan, according to the JMA. Last week when 57 people died, temperatures in Kumagaya City and Isesaki City reached 101 degrees, while Fukushima and Osaka registered readings of 98 and Tokyo 95, according to the UPI.