By Japan Info

With the end of July, the rainy season officially ended in all parts of Japan. Although the rainy season usually occurs in June, it came late this year, which caused rainy weather to extend into most of July. After the rainy season, heat and humidity settle in throughout most of the archipelago. The first days of August were marked by temperatures exceeding 35°C, with the humidity making it feel more like 46°C.

These temperatures are extreme, even for Japan, which is notorious for its hot and uncomfortably muggy summers. Sadly, 11 people have already died from the effects of this heatwave, and over 5,000 have been hospitalized.

Japan isn't alone in experience such extremes. Other parts of the planet area also experiencing record heat. For example, in France and Germany, heat records were broken, and even Greenland suffered. Some reports say that 2019 could be just as bad as the heatwave of 2012, which caused ice to melt in record amounts.

Victims of the Heatwave

In Hirakata Park, Osaka, a 28-year-old man working a part-time job succumbed to the heat and died. Temperatures reached 33°C on July 28 in the Hirakata area in the afternoon, but had gone down to 28°C by 20:00. Nevertheless, at 19:30, the man fell ill as he was rehearsing a dance performance with other staff members. Apparently, the costume he was wearing weighed nearly 16 kg.

The popular amusement park's operators have cancelled all performances wearing character costumes, and the man’s death will be investigated by police.

Heat was not limited to Osaka, with 10 other deaths reported all over the country. Among the 5,000 people who were hospitalized, some of them were suffering from conditions requiring more than 3 days of hospitalization.

Many in Japan are wary of the situation, since 2018 was one of the worst years in terms of heatwaves. Extreme temperatures lasted nearly two months in 2018, resulting in 138 fatalities and over 70,000 hospitalizations.

Grim prospects for the future

A report by Japan's Ministry of the Environment indicates that immediate measures to fight climate change are required if the country is to avoid a situation in which temperatures continue to climb and death tolls severely increase. In their forecast, the year 2100 may see temperatures reaching 43°C in Tokyo and over 15,000 deaths due to heatstroke.

To make things worse, a powerful "super typhoon" would also cause havoc in Tokyo that year.

What you can do

If you're visiting Japan this summer or living in Japan, you should wear light clothes, stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes lost in sweat with drinks like Pocari Sweat, and when possible, stay indoors in air-conditioned environment, especially at times of extremely hot weather.

Source: Japan Info

By - Ben K.