Japanese heat wave kills dozens, hospitalizes thousands

Striking labor workers attend a rally Friday, beneath umbrellas to shield them from the heat, in Ulsan, South Korea. Severe temperatures in the region have led to more than 30 deaths in Japan, authorities said. Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE

July 21 (UPI) — More than 30 people have died in Japan this month due to an oppressive and lasting heat wave, authorities said Friday.

Temperatures in Japan reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit this week, which sent more than 10,000 people to hospitals. Meteorologists say the extremely high temperatures will continue for the near future.

Officials said Thursday 10 more people had died of heat-related illness. Many of the sick displayed symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion.

Many of the deaths are the elderly, including an 80-year-old woman who worked at a farm in Niigata Prefecture, and a woman in her 90s in a field in Hyogo Prefecture. A man in his 80s working in a rice paddy also died.

The three hardest-hit prefectures — Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime – saw 145 people hospitalized Thursday for heat stroke.

In Tokyo a day earlier, rescuers responded to more than 3,000 emergency calls, a new single-day record that topped the previous mark — about 2,900, set only Tuesday.

In Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, eight high school students were taken to a hospital after falling ill during sporting events inside and outside.

A 6-year-old child died in Aichi Prefecture on Tuesday after participating in an outdoor class at school, which led the education ministry to urge schools to take preventive measures.

High temperatures have also caused flight delays at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, due to the heat weakening one of the runways, the Japanese transport ministry said.

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency has urged the public to keep hydrated in the extreme heat.


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