Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

57 Dead, 18,000 Hospitalized in Japan Heat Wave

Climate
57 Dead, 18,000 Hospitalized in Japan Heat Wave
People walk in the street during a hot day in Tokyo's district of Ueno on August 7. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP / Getty Images

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 Times reported.

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.

The JMA said a seasonal rain front lingered over Honshu from late June to mid-July. Plus, a high pressure system in the Sea of Okhotsk also brought cold winds from the north, resulting in cloudy, cool weather across the country, as the Japan News reported. That ended abruptly.

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.

While Japan suffered from more hot temperatures today, Japanese authorities asked residents to stay cool and hydrated since the heat is expected to last until September.

Last Sunday night, Yohei Yamaguchi, a 28-year-old part-time amusement park worker, died from heatstroke after practicing a dance routine outdoors in a mascot costume on Sunday night, the Japan Times reported.

Yamaguchi was rehearsing on an outdoor stage in Hirakata amusement park for about 20-minutes in a costume that weighed over 35 pounds when he lost consciousness lost consciousness around 8 p.m., according to police and reported by The Asahi Shimbun.

Deadly heat waves like this are becoming an annual occurrence in Japan, where authorities are lobbying to designate public facilities, shops and other places as "temporary rest areas" where people can take respite from the heat. Last summer, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency declared the extreme heat a natural disaster after 65 people died of heat-related medical conditions in one week and temperatures set a new record at 106 degrees Fahrenheit, as Time reported.


A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Long-finned pilot whales are seen during a 1998 stranding in Marion Bay in Tasmania, Australia. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A protest in solidarity with the Wetʼsuwetʼen's anti-pipeline struggle, at Canada House in Trafalgar Square on March 1, 2020 in London, England. More than 200 environmental groups had their Facebook accounts suspended days before an online solidarity protest. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Facebook suspended more than 200 accounts belonging to environmental and Indigenous groups Saturday, casting doubt on the company's stated commitments to addressing the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
The Västra Hamnen neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, runs on renewable energy. Tomas Ottosson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Harry Kretchmer

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

Read More Show Less
An Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Bank of England on Oct. 14, 2019 in London, England. John Keeble / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch