Freak heatwave kills 4, hospitalizes 1,600 in Japan last week

TOKYO, June 3 (PNA/Xinhua) — Emergency services rushed more than 1600 people to hospital suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion due to a week of unseasonably hot weather through June 1, Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday.

According to the agency, temperatures in some areas in Japan soared to above 35 degrees Celsius, with the heatwave causing a preliminary total of 1,637 people to be rushed to hospital, with four of them dying from their symptoms.

The figure for those taken to hospitals by ambulance was some seven times higher than for the same time a year earlier, the agency said, with the worst cases seen as the mercury spiked on May 31 and June 1.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, in Tatebayashi in Gunma Prefecture and Ibigawa in Gifu Prefecture, temperatures rose to as high as 36.3 C.

The heatwave was still punishing Tuesday and showing no signs of abating, the meteorological agency said Tuesday, with temperatures hitting 37.8 C in the town of Otofuke in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture.

The agency said that record temperatures for the year were logged at 12 points around Japan and an official heat alert had been issued for the majority of Hokkaido and Akita Prefecture, in Japan’s northeast.

The disaster agency confirmed Tuesday that more than 40 percent of those requiring hospital stays were aged 65 or older. (PNA/Xinhua)