Extreme summer heat in Japan has killed 79 people in the capital of Tokyo over the past month and led to record temperatures in the central city of Hamamatsu.
Japanese national broadcaster NHK said on Tuesday, August 18, that 79 people in the capital have died so far in August from heatstroke. About 80 percent of the victims were aged 70 or older.
NHK said that this month’s soaring temperatures were particularly difficult for the country’s elderly population after a prolonged rainy season.
On Monday, August 17, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said that temperatures rose to 41.1 degrees Celsius (105.9 degrees Fahrenheit) in the central city of Hamamatsu in the Shizuoka Prefecture. In 2018, the city of Kumagaya in the central Saitama Prefecture also saw a record high temperature of 41.1 degrees Celsius—tied for the highest-ever temperature recorded in Japan.
Meanwhile, the temperature in Tokyo reached 36.5 degrees Celsius (97.7 degrees Fahrenheit) on August 18 after three consecutive days of extreme heat. The mercury also soared above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in other parts of the country, according to CNN.
One man told CNN that temperatures on August 17 were “scorching.”
“I was wearing a mask outside and drenched in sweat in the heat," Satoru Shoji, an employee at the Hamamatsu tourism office, told CNN.
JMA warned high temperatures are likely to continue through the week and urged the public to take preventive measures like drinking water regularly and using air conditioning.
Some residents found it difficult to face the rising temperatures due to masks worn to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
"It feels hotter when I am wearing a mask,” one resident told Japanese news agency Kyodo.
Earlier this month, over 6,000 people were sent to the hospital due to heat stroke or heat exhaustion, according to The Japan Times.
Some other parts of the world are also experiencing rising temperatures.
In California, Death Valley National Park recorded a high of 54.4 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit), likely the highest temperature recorded globally since 1913. California has also recently been hit with dozens of forest fires affecting large swaths of land, according to CNN.
According to NASA, the global surface temperature has continued to rise over the last several decades. Nineteen of the 20 warmest years ever recorded occurred between 2001 and 2020.