Heatwave grips Japan
TOKYO (AP) — Japan recorded its highest temperature ever Monday as a deadly heat wave continued to grip a wide swath of the country and nearby South and North Korea.
The mercury hit 41.1 degrees Celsius or 106 degrees Fahrenheit in Kumagaya, a city in Saitama prefecture about 65 kilometers or 40 miles northwest of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
That broke the previous record of 41.0 C in Ekawasaki on the island of Shikoku on August 12, 2013.
Two lingering high-pressure systems have trapped warm and humid air above the region, bringing record-high temperatures for nearly two weeks. More than 40 people have died in Japan and about 10 in South Korea.
“It is so hot these days that I cannot figure out whether I am in (South Korea) or in Southeast Asia,” said Kim Sung-hee, a student in downtown Seoul, where the temperature rose to 35.7 C or 96 F.
Ten people have died in South Korea of heatstroke and other heat-related causes this summer, seven of them last week, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
About 1,040 people have fallen ill because of hot weather from May 20 to July 21, an increase of 61 percent over the same period last year, it said.
Thousands of people in Japan have been rushed to hospitals with heat stroke symptoms during the heat wave. Kyodo News agency has tallied more than 40 deaths.
Many of the victims have been elderly people who were not using air conditioning.
On Monday, nine people died from heat-related causes across Japan, Kyodo said.
NHK national television tallied seven deaths.
The temperature reached 39 C or 102 F on Monday in central Tokyo, the highest temperature this year.
The worst of the heat wave is expected to be over this week.
Authorities warned people to stay inside and use air conditioning.