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3,473 taken to hospitals nationwide due to heatstroke from June 25-July 1

28 Comments

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday that 3,473 people were taken to hospitals across Japan to be treated for heatstroke in the week from June 25 to July 1 . The figure was a sharp increase over 667 for the week before (June 18-24).

The Meteorological Agency said the early end of the rainy season caused a spike in temperatures across much of the Japanese archipelago last week.

Three deaths in Fukushima, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures were attributed to heatstroke, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Of the 3,473 people suffering heatstroke, 81 were in serious condition, while 1,170 required brief stays in hospital. People aged 65 and older accounted for 53% of cases. By prefecture, Saitama had the highest number at 334, followed by Tokyo (278) and Osaka (248).

Health ministry officials continue to urge people, especially the elderly, to drink plenty of water and use the air conditioner when they sleep at night.

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28 Comments
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The rainy season is over? It barely rained at all, who decides when it's over anyway?

I've lived in Japan for many years, and the unbearable heat and humidity of summer is really the only thing I don't like here.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Here we go again, every year. There actually has to be notices telling people to drink water because it's hot

10 ( +12 / -2 )

When did it get hot? It was only 31’ in Tokyo. Every summer these reports come out and it’s akways around the and amount of people. 31-32’ is not really hot and people should not be falling ill at those temps.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

' when did it get hot' ?

It was consistently around 36-38 degrees for the last 4 to 5 days or so here, and I,m only 100 km from Tokyo. Checked the figures myself ( not the useless ' official ' numbers ). Of course that was midday to mid afternoon , outside....if you are sitting in an air conditioned office from 9 till 6 or whatever, obviously you won,t feel it so as much. Im not surprised at all the oldies in hospitals...i see them hanging outside in the biggest heat , every day.

Lots of them dont use aircon either cause their pensions are low and a/c bills high. Anyhow, its the same story year after year here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It was 35 in Kyoto just the other day. Agree that people shouldn't be falling ill even at that temperature if they're taking precautions. But drinking water simply isn't a thing for far too many here. And no doubt many of the older folks (only 53%?) were toiling in fields or overheated greenhouse at midday, wearing heavy clothing and hats.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

When did it get hot? It was only 31’ in Tokyo

31 is hot, factor in the humidity and becomes really hot even at 31.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Is it just me or does this year feel hotter than last year, and much earlier. Rainyseason is not over yet, from today we will have a week of rain here in Osaka ugh.

BTW with these amount of heatstrokes in June, no alarmbells starting to ring yet at the organizers of the Olympics?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@rocketpanda - 31 is hot, factor in the humidity and becomes really hot even at 31.

I bet you're from Canada. 31' is spring temp in Brisbane.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Rainyseason is not over yet, from today we will have a week of rain here in Osaka ugh.

Is this still officially the rainy season or is it just the remnants of that typhoon? It seems like I see rain in the forecast an awful lot but then once the dust settles nothing much has fallen, at least in Kobe. Yesterday we got maybe 7 drops. Has been coming down pretty good off and on this morning though. They're predicting at least an 80% chance of rain thru Saturday. Fingers crossed--I prefer 28 and cloudy/rainy to 33 and the sun baking my skull.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Heatstroke can be caused by a combination of multiple factors.

It does not entirely rely on the air temperature.

The greater "environmental" factor is the relative humidity. Many places have had mid-30+s temps over the past week with humidity counts of 80 - 90%.

At such levels the body's sweat mechanism is compromised reducing the ability to regulate body temeperature, which is extremely dangerous. In some cases a complete breakdown occurs resulting in death.

Toughing it out doesn't come into play.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I saw all the warnings on the news yesterday. Right after that, I herd three people in my city where taken ill by heatstroke. However they where in a room with the windows closed and no fan. .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Browny1 - Toughing it out doesn't come into play.

You are quite right, but it does require some toughness to endure the humidity. However, it’s mostky about common sense. There are all these old people licking themselves in their houses and apartments with no money to turn the aircon on and they are drinking green tea, which is a very strong diuretic. They become dehydrated very quickly. Also, people don’t wear hats. I don’t mean baseball caps or those unfashionable pork-pie things. I mean real wide-brimmed hats that actually protect you from the sun. Your head and the back of your neck are the body’s heat regulators. During winter, as much as 80% of the body’s heat is lost through the top of your head. That’s why you wear a beanie. It’s the same through summer. Your head will overheat if you are not wearing a decent hat causing you to get heatstroke.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan is actually not very hot compared to many other South Asian nations or Middle East. These heatstroke cases are actually a statistical anomaly caused by having so many old people, who might have gotten sick anyway.. Anyway it allows the government to scare people with big numbers and gets them all the chant, atsui atusi, or achui achui as they ride around in non-airconditioned trains.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We're well above sea level and the only air con we have is a window one in my office that I take out the rest of the year. It went in on Thursday. It really felt like a switch had flipped this year. I'm not surprised other people have been caught out.

(we use a cheaper window aircon because I don't want a box and piping on the side of my house)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tokyo Olympics is going to be a real challenge for Japan's health care and emergency response system. Have no idea why they chose July/August to host the games.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yeah thats going to be a serious issue for both the athletes and the fans. The humidity is just too much here in Japan to be having events like that in the middle of the day. Hopefully they can schedule early morning and nights?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

People seem to forget that the actual temperature isn't as relevant as the heat index. The HI in western Tokyo was 107 F (nearly 42 degrees C) for a few days this last week. Last year I was at my daughters Sports Day (In August of all months) and it kicked off an 11 day migraine and a hospital trip as the heat index was 112 degrees. I was not dehydrated and I was taking every precaution I could think off and I still became very ill. Just because you're well adjusted to the heat doesn't mean that everyone else is. It's got nothing to do with being tough or sucking it up, a lot of times it's just too damn hot.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It's not the heat alone that is the problem, HUMIDITY is the biggest culprit. Sure it's "only" 30-31 C now, at the beginning of July, but the humidity always hovers around 60-80%. In comparison, when I visited Los Angeles, it was similar in temp, around 30 C, but with only 30% of humidity, it felt much comfortable; a simple wind breeze or just by staying in shade keeps your body cool, whereas in Japanese summer, a wind breeze still feels damp and hot. Then, you get to the end of July and August, which will be worse, with temp above 35 C and humid. I always laughed when I saw Doraemon and Nobita complained about the summer heat, when the temp is not that hot. After moving to Japan, now I knows why.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As someone who was born and raised in Southeast Asia, not to brag but Japan's summer temperatures (and the humidity) are still mild. I think one of the reasons why there's a lot of heat stroke cases is the belief that leaving the AC or electric fan too long will kill you because of too much air. It's a famous urban legend

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Health ministry officials continue to urge people, especially the elderly, to drink plenty of water and use the air conditioner when they sleep at night.

If they cut the cost of electricity, maybe people would use the AC more. Right now, it's just too expensive to ask anyone to do that. My bill is usually around 20000 yen in the summer time due to my heavy AC usage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before I become a victim of heat I will walk into a supermarket or department store naked!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@bones

Before I become a victim of heat I will walk into a supermarket or department store naked!

Leading, no doubt, to a dozen or so fatal cardiac arrests... ; )

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of the 3,473 people suffering heatstroke, 81 were in serious condition, while 1,170 required brief stays in hospital.

Obviously, they weren't all suffering from heatstroke (life threatening). Most were only suffering from heat exhaustion (just drink some water and chill). Not sure why they don't make the distinction (an important one) in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rainy season is definitely NOT over!

2 decades here and never has it ended in June!

Yesterday we were hit with typhoon no. 7 mixed in with humidity, it wasn't pleasant!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Joeintokyo - probably you are correct - they weren't all suffering from heatstroke. The media can over-dramatize a little.

But there is certainly a general distinction made between Heatstroke (Nechusho - 熱中症 ) and the lesser of 2 evils Heat Fatigue (Natsubate - 夏バテ).

I've already heard the expression Natsubate used often in the past few weeks, but thankfully, I haven't heard anyone use the term Nechusho - yet!!!

The power of heat and humidity to debillitate should not be taken lightly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@do the hustle

There are all these old people locking themselves in their houses and apartments with no money to turn the aircon on and they are drinking green tea, which is a very strong diuretic. They become dehydrated very quickly. 

Caffeine (the chemical) is classed as a mild diuretic, not a strong one.

Drinking green tea isn't a dehydration risk. While it contains a small amount of caffeine, it is also close to 100% water. Even black coffee is over 98% water. When you drink either of these, you are hydrating yourself.

People who become dangerously dehydrated are doing so not because they took tea or coffee, but because of insufficient liquid intake, or other health problems, or both; the result would be similar if they had drunk the same quantity of water.

What is a dehydration risk is overexertion in hot or sunny conditions, and a lot of people definitely do that while paying insufficient attention to hydration.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds horrible down south. We’ve had rain nearly every day for the past couple of weeks, and into next week, with most days a top of under 20 degrees. Some of the trees in my street even started to get autumn leaves because it was so cool two weeks ago.

Sometimes seems like Hokkaido is a totally different country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's the same problem in the USA right now, this week.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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