A record 65 people died in a weeklong period due to heatstroke amid severely hot weather, and more than 20,000 people were taken to the hospital with symptoms of heatstroke, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday.
According to preliminary data released by the agency, a total of 22,647 people were taken to the hospital from July 16 to 22 due to symptoms caused by heatstroke. This is also the highest number since the agency began compiling weekly data in 2008.
The Japan Meteorological Agency is predicting that high temperatures will continue for the next two weeks, and called for caution.
Of those taken to hospitals during the period, 10,525 were aged 65 and older, or 46.5 percent of the total, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
On Wednesday, when the temperature reached 40.7 C in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, 3,736 people were taken to the hospital, the highest figure for a single day. The following day, 3,711 people were taken to the hospital.
On Sunday, when the mercury hit 35 C or higher at 237 locations across the nation, 3,224 people were taken to the hospital, while the hot weather claimed the lives of 12 people, the highest toll for a single day.
The number of people taken to the hospital over the weeklong period to July 22 was 2.3 times higher than the week of July 9 to 15, which saw 9,956 people brought to the hospital, and greatly surpassed the previous record of 12,064 for the week of July 27 to Aug. 2, 2015.
By prefecture, Tokyo had the highest number of patients with 1,979, followed by Aichi with 1,954, Osaka with 1,779, and Saitama with 1,617. The figures indicate higher numbers of such cases in urban areas.
The severely hot weather has continued, with the temperature hitting 41.1 C in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, on Monday, a new record for the nation.
On Monday night, an 86-year-old man died at his home in Yashio, Saitama Prefecture. He is believed to have died of heatstroke.
Meanwhile, according to the Tokyo Medical Examiner’s Office, 52 people died of heatstroke in Tokyo’s 23 wards from July 1 to 23. The number is already much higher than the monthly total of July last year, when 25 died of heatstroke. Of the 52 people who died in July this year, those aged 60 and older accounted for 84.6 percent.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, high atmospheric pressure covered the Japanese archipelago on Tuesday, pushing up the mercury mainly from the Kanto to Kyushu regions.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, temperatures were 39.3 C in Mino, Gifu Prefecture; 39.1 C in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture; 38.7 C in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, and 35.3 C in central Tokyo.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued “Extreme High Temperature Forecasts” in Tokyo and 38 prefectures where temperatures were predicted to reach 35 C or higher, urging people to take measures against heatstroke.