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Heatwave in Japan leaves 5,600 hospitalised, kills 11, including mascot worker in 16kg costume

Too hot.

Ashley Tan | July 31, 2019 @ 08:31 pm

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Japan is hot.

A scorching heatwave has hit the country the past week, resulting in the deaths of several people while sending thousands to hospitals.

Heat-related deaths and hospitalisations all around Japan

Temperatures began to spike following the country’s rainy season, which usually takes place between May and July.

The government revealed that the number of heat-related hospitalisations rose to 5,664 as of July 28, 2019.

These people arrived with symptoms of heat exhaustion.

More than half of this number (53 percent) was comprised of people aged 65 and above.

Aichi prefecture saw 392 people rushed to the hospitals.

Osaka and Tokyo saw 388 and 299 people hospitalised respectively.

The scorching heat had also taken the lives of 11 people across 11 different prefectures in Japan, reported Japan Today.

One of those who died was a 28-year-old man working as a mascot at an amusement park in Osaka.

The man had spent 20 minutes dancing in the 16kg outfit, prior to being sent to the hospital, where he subsequently succumbed to the heatstroke, BBC reported.

The amusement park has since cancelled all events involving mascot performers.

Temperatures rose to 37.1ºC in one prefecture

Hottest temperatures were recorded at Gifu prefecture, which saw the mercury rise to 37.1ºC, Kyoto city (36.8ºC) and a town in Saitama prefecture (36.6ºC).

According to The Straits Times, weather forecasts this week predicted that temperatures would reach a high of 35ºC and above in cities like Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

Meanwhile, Tokyo is expected to swelter in 34ºC heat.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has urged the Japanese to stay hydrated, use parasols and wear hats when outdoors, and lower air-conditioning temperatures.

Concerned about the hot weather athletes and spectators will experience during the Olympic games to be held in Tokyo next year, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the 2020 Games Committee have pledged to implement mitigating measures to stave off the heat.

Measures include installing mist sprayers at event venues, bringing forward the flag-off time for marathon races, and covering streets with a special coating that can reduce surface temperatures.

Previously in May, Saroma town in Hokkaido prefecture experienced unprecedented temperatures of 39.5ºC, while other areas such as Osaka, Kanazawa, Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukushima experienced temperatures of 30ºC and above.

Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido, hit 39.5°C for first time in May 2019

Top photo from @Starbuck / Twitter

About Ashley Tan

Ashley can't go a week without McDonalds.

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