3 dead, 2,901 hospitalized due to heat exhaustion in May


The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday that 2,904 people were taken to hospital nationwide in May due to heat exhaustion. Of those, three people died in Yamagata, Nagano and Aichi prefectures.

Temperatures soared in May in many parts of Japan. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that temperatures in the Kanto region were the highest for May since records started being kept in 1876.

The biggest spike in temperatures occurred from May 19 to May 31 when 1,259 people were taken to hospital. Of the total number of 2,904, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 1,354 were aged 65 or older.

By prefecture, Aichi had the highest number at 200, followed by Tokyo (176), Saitama (170) and Osaka (141).

Agency officials are urging people to drink plenty of water and use the air conditioner, if necessary.

Last year, more than 50,000 people were taken to hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion between May and September, according to the agency.

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Didn't we have this story last week?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I wonder what percent were school kids having to do sports in blistering conditions.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Temp not reported/recorded?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Really, the whole "sports day" out in full sun should be re-thought. These kids, teachers and parents have to endure a full day in such heat. At komazawa Olympic field there's zero shade, except for the volunteers who were sitting in shade structures. This was for nishimachi school.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Was it hot in May? I remember a couple days in the high 20's and maybe one or two days of 31'. The private high school I work in had their sports festival. There was no shade for anybody. It was only 27' on the day, but ambulances were called three times. Twice for students and once for a spectator. I grew up in northern Australia where temperatures regularly reach the high 30's for weeks at a time. I don't recall ever hearing of people dying and thousands being hospitalized for temps in the high 20's. It's just stupid! It's pretty damn simple really! Rehydrate and get some shade.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Agency officials are urging people to drink plenty of water and use the air conditioner, if necessary.

Common sense, one would think.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Rehydrate and get some shade!"

Exactly. Bit of common sense that's all. I see people out jogging here in Kochi in summer with no drinks or caps and wearing black tracksuits! If that's not asking for trouble I don't know what is.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Of the total number of 2,904, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 1,354 were aged 65 or older."

So why not just say, "less than 50% were 65 or older", or better yet point out that the majority were not. And as I've said before, if they're not announcing the numbers of 'other' or saying that seniors made up the majority, it means the majority were kids -- and these heatstroke days fell EXACTLY on the days that kids were preparing for and executing sports festivals, on flat, hot dirt parks with zero shade (except for in some places where grandparents can watch the show based on the unchangeable schedule).

I applaud the fact that many schools actually changed the date of sports festivals from September to May as a proactive attempt to avoid as many heatstroke victims as in the past, after years and years of students getting it, but just because bad luck comes around the May sees record temperatures does NOT mean you have to stick to THAT changed schedule and cannot alter it to reflect certain realities.

Yes, as the Ministry says -- if it's hot and humid seek out air-conditioning where possible and drink plenty of fluids. It also stands to reason that you should not PUT YOUR STUDENTS IN DANGER and have them drilling out in the peak of day, under the blazing sun, on dirt fields for an event most students and teachers are not even interested in to begin with (at least not the work involved to stage it)! They'll never learn!!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Of the sports days I've been to in the past, only the teachers and announcers had any shade. And for that matter I've never ever seen junior high school kids issued with hats

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Right, Smith. 40% of heatstroke victims were kids running around the track. The other 60% were the grandparents coming to watch them running around the track.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Forget getting sick doing sports outside what about all the kids getting sick in the classroom trying to study? It was more than 30 degrees in the classrooms the last few days and the office staff said to us "gamman" when we asked for a/c. I thew up in the classroom I was so hot today. Lots of students left school sick!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"The majority were not 65 or older" sounds a bit ridiculous. The actual number of 65 or older is relevant to a society where 1 in 4 is over 65. especially when that number is almost 50%.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Flats and houses in Japan are like green houses. Little saunas. Wow. Insulation peoples.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

47% were seniors. Not 60%.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And some people do not like the rainy season. I do because the days are humid, but that blistering sun is not showing its force against those outside in it. I think about the security guards around our university. Most are in the only job they can find at their age. It is amazing the long hours they have. I continue to bow to them as I make my way to the train station. Soon those figures where people are getting sick will rise. I do not know about how others feel, but Japan's summers always feel like I am in the hottest place in all of Asia. Good luck with the Olympics being held in August! Amazing I have survived 42 Japanese summers. I think it is time I get an air conditioner!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To people wondering if the temps. I live in Aichi and it got as high as 36 a few times during May. Especially in cars sitting in the sun.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its not very hot yet. Wait till July / August & when that terrible humidity sets in. Grab plenty of ice, run the AC and pound some cold brews in tha' evening.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Preparation is the key when summer heat becomes unbearable. If you are engaged in any form of activity don't wait until you get thirsty to drink fluids. Instead drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after the activity. Drinking enough fluids helps to improve heart functions, maintain kidney functions and lowers the body's core temperature. Dehydration can stress the heart and reduce the kidneys ability to maintain the correct balance of electrolytes essential for the normal function of every living cell in the body.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here's the age breakdown: 65 and over 46.6% 18 to 65 32.1% 7 to 17 19.4% Below 7 2.0%


3 ( +3 / -0 )

Need trees in kanto.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can people have cool showers to cool down?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can people have cool showers to cool down?

@Toshiko. Unlike Nevada, the summers get very humid here. And the night's humidity is just as bad as during the day. Cool showers provide a little cooling down, but 30-40 minutes after a cold shower you become miserable again from the humidity unless you run the AC.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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