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693 hospitalized nationwide for heatstroke

56 Comments

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Monday that 693 people in 45 prefectures were hospitalized for heatstroke on Monday as temperatures soared across the nation. One of them, an 84-year-old man, died in a Niigata hospital on Monday night, the agency said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said that the temperature exceeded 35 degrees in 60 cities throughout Japan, with the highest being 37.6 degrees in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture.

In many prefectures, the heatstroke victims were students taking part in or watching sporting events being held on Monday, which was a national holiday, according to Fuji TV.

In Tokyo, 21 people were taken to hospital, suffering from heatstroke.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency urged people to take safeguards against heatstroke, by drinking plenty of water, sleeping on a wet pillow and using the air conditioner, if necessary.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the heatwave is likely to continue until Wednesday.

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56 Comments
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sleeping on a wet pillow? eeeew!

I do not think the heatstroke is happening when people are sleeping. I think it is when they go outside with no water or tea. I know a Jr. High School student who is in the baseball club. He is not a starter and is forced to watch the games outside and is not allowed to move from his seat for water or bathroom until his "senpai" gets water.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

In many prefectures, the heatstroke victims were students taking part in or watching sporting events being held on Monday,

Idiocy at its bureaucratic fineness. At noon on Monday I strolled past a junior high school soccer game. And, in the next field, a track meet.

What educational genius thinks the hottest time of the day during the hottest time of the year is a 'good' time to have outdoor athletic meets? The educational bureaucratic mind that sees a holiday on a calendar and immediately reacts like a Pavlovian dog. i.e. without thinking.

16 ( +18 / -4 )

So glad im not a highschool student anymore. Who can play with this heat? just give me a cool beer in the shade

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency urged people to take safeguards against heatstroke, by drinking plenty of water, sleeping on a wet pillow and using the air conditioner, if necessary.

If necessary? Any time the temperature climbs above 35C homes with elderly and children should make sure the AC is set no higher than 28 just in case, especially if they plan on being outside for any extended period of time.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Why would anyone get a heatstroke when sleeping? They don't. And sleeping on a wet pillow? Don't belive that is actual advice given out... No one in their right mind would even try that.

Just a borscht said, having sports events at noon in the summer is a pretty bad idea. When it's hot as hell outside, you have to change your ways a little. Slow down, drink much water and save the physical activities for later. Oh, and take off that black wool suit jacket you're wearing, sarariiman. It doesn't make you look respectable. Just foolish.

Perhaps a holiday should be used as a time to relax a little instead of always, always trying to squeeze in another activity or morale boosting event. There is a reason for the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siesta, you know...

♪ Take it easy, gotta take it easy... ♫

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Every year it is the same thing - old folks out in fields and students out for sports. When will adults learn to stay indoors on such days??

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It happens every year-usually I get to see one or two students passed out from running in 40*C weather at the local school but this year the plan is to get out of the sweat bath and head north!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lemmings! Don't risk your health just to keep to the setsuden concept!

2 ( +3 / -2 )

It's the same inflexible, this is the way our culture is, rigid belief system which was pointed out as causal in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

I train regularly in this heat without any problem, provided I drink huge volumes of water dosed with salt tablets. Good for burning of any fat.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Many old people here get heatstroke at night.

They close all the windows to protect against 'dorobo' and then don't use aircon. Gets kinda hot.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"The Fire and Disaster Management Agency urged people to take safeguards against heatstroke..."

How about starting by having schools NOT put kids out in the playground to practice for sports day or club while the sun is at its zenith?

So much of this is preventable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It should be considered child abuse to make students do +4 hours of sports in the heat of Japanese Summer. If they insist on playing baseball matches etc. they should take breaks every 20-30 minutes for water and to cool down.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Agree with all above. Playing sports in mid afternoon in 35 degree heat. Asking for trouble. Especially in such an inflexible system. Debucho. You are totally right. My 6 year old son plays for a soccer club where (as I just learned last week) they are not allowed to go to the bathroom during practice. The are supposed to go before or wait til after. Well, the practice is 2 hours long and my son is 6 you morons. BTW. My son wet himself because he could not hold it any longer. Nice! So I can just imagine these people playing sports and not being allowed to drink enough or sit in the shade.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Conversely, the plan to induce as much nationwide heatstroke in the summer at the hottest time of day is going very well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The government will use this as an excuse to turn on more nuclear reactors.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Im sorry but for a supposedly clever country when it comes to common sense Japan leads the world in the dumb stakes. Every summer we see people hospitalised because of gross stupidity on the part of schools, or sporting groups. Every winter we see people hospitalised because of stupid actions. When it comes to this country there is no flexibility no individual thought, no ability to change due to unforeseen events. I just shake my head every time these stories come up.

Common sense says, if its hot stay in the shade, drink lots, and avoid hard exercise. If its snowing slow down, dont climb your roof. If its a typhoon, stay indoors, dont go through low lying areas or rivers and dont climb on your roof.

Most children in other countries know this yet here supposedly intelligent adults struggle to comprehend.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Crystalyle, sure they will, but always remember that in Japan every summer we were semi-forced to conserve electricty use, years before the Fukushima event was even dreamt of.

Plenty of nuclear power back then, but it the roses were just as thorny.

Nothing new here, except that electricty prices will be going up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"35 degrees in 60 cities throughout Japan, with the highest being 37.6 degrees in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture"....I know you mean Celsius. We just had 106 degress - is it almost 2 C for every 1 degree...I do not know. I know in America they said that (with the exception of Washington State) this has been warmest for the US since they started keeping track. Which has people talking about Global Warming with renewed vigor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some people will never learn. Years ago I was in Okayama for a Masters Track and Field Meet during O-bon. I think the 5k for men over 60 was held at about 3pm with temperatures at about 38C. One guy passed out while running and the field had very, very limited shade. I was actually shocked that they had the older guys run so far in so much heat.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

School kids were playing baseball yesterday at school under the blazing sun. I really thought that that was a bad idea.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People keep hydrated, can't be said often enough.

A few years back I bought myself a belt for cycling(also works for hiking and town strolling). It holds

A.) 500ml Sports drink bottle(with chilled Mugi-Cha) or a pet-bottle

B.) Has a Pocket for an Ipod or small Cel-phone (Suica fits)

C.) Small Money Pocket

Add in a cap or bicycle helmet.

Problem with elderly is that the lose the sense of over-heating and thus are more prone to heat-stroke. They think they are fine and can make to X or harvest another 2-3 rows.

I for one do all my outdoor activities either early morning or after 18:00.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In some countries schools need to be cancelled and the kids be sent to home when the temperature gets too high. Japan needs to adopt that law.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Thomas

In some countries schools need to be cancelled and the kids be sent to home when the temperature gets too high. Japan needs to adopt that law.

The law already exists in Japan. I had a colleague who would regularly take advantage of it to cancel his university classes. Made him very unpopular though, even with his students.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thomas.

I am from such a country.

What I forgot people also need to switch to a diet of cooling food and having multiple small meals during the day with the main nutrition intake in the evening.

Hope all those people will recover soon

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In some countries schools need to be cancelled and the kids be sent to home when the temperature gets too high. Japan needs to adopt that law.

Did not know that! I wish Japan would adopt this law too! My son goes to an elementary school that has no a/c so I worry about him everyday during the summer. (I don't know why Japan doesn't believe in a/c's...)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The law already exists in Japan. I had a colleague who would regularly take advantage of it to cancel his university classes. Made him very unpopular though, even with his students.

Does the law apply to middle and high schools? Because kids still go to school despite the heat.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, I took 2 of my kids to the swimming pool yesterday, so they could really enjoy. This, or going to the beach is how "umi no hi" should be spend with the small kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Thomas

Sorry, I wasn't clear. It's actually a workplace law, which states that nobody should have to work in an unhealthy environment. So a temperature of (say, I don't remember exactly) 32 degrees is considered unacceptable and the worker can refuse to perform. So it's for the benefit of the teachers, rather than the students. My friend did it for three years or so until the university finally decided to be a bit more generous with the air-conditioning. I never had the nerve.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This always happens in Japan when it gets a little bit hot, so it is news. Japanese often go to hospital when they do not need to, when all they need is simple home medication like a glass of water. In South-East Asia where there is real heat you can get rehydration salts in any chemist. I tried to get some once, but they were not available. "We have this in a bottle. It's only 2,000 yen (about)." "Don't you have anything like this?" I said, holding a packet I bought in Thailand. "This cost only 30 yen."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In South-East Asia where there is real heat you can get rehydration salts in any chemist.

And in Japan from the kombini.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dumb and dumber! Australia is known to be a hot country, but the heat is also sensibly dealt with. Many schools are closed when the temp reaches 100'F (36.5'C) and they definitely do not encourage outdoor sports. I am sorry, but this number is just stupid! And, it is hotter today, so the number from today may reach triple figures.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If Japan ever introduced the "Heat Index" concept where temperature and humidity are combined to calculate a more accurate "feeling" of how hot it is, we'd be looking at temperatures closer to 40-45C when you consider how humid (and hot) it can get here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_index

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For elderly, it's shoganai. They are less able physically to bear the heat. They have stay in AC or arrange to move to cooler places (naturally or with AC) during hot months. For the others... it's darwinism.

Does the law apply to middle and high schools? Because kids still go to school despite the heat.

It's not applied because there is no need. The heat in the classroom is rarely an issue. They are safe at 35~37 degrees, as it's 32 maxi indoor, even less if they put shades on the windows and ventilate. They just have to tell the kids to stay quiet, give them water. It's like siesta at home. But they should ban games, sports, cleaning, etc, from 10 to 5. GUESS WHAT : all community Summer kids activities are scheduled from 10 to 5.

students taking part in or watching sporting events being held on Monday,

Not in a classroom, nor in the library, not even in the shaded part of the playground. They were made to run races at 2 p,m.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Cos - I tend to disagree that heat in the classroom is rarely an issue. I've gone to jugyou sankan at my son's school where it was more than 35 degrees inside when it was only 30 outside. It's 35 degrees here this afternoon. I wonder how much hotter it is in his classroom - especially with no wind or breeze going through it. Kids can stay quiet but they aren't allowed to drink water during class. Heatstroke can happen indoors too. The only room that has a/c in his school is the hokenshitsu (infirmary) so I told him to go there as soon as he gets a headache/nauseous/dizzy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Further to my last comment I just wish to clarify. This was to let you know that if you must be oustside for any reason you can physically do almost what you want at 38C, as I mentioned I train in this heat . To do this without heatstroke you must stay in the shade, use an umbrella to keep the direct sun from heating the body. Also plenty of water and some salty snacks to replace salt is a good idea too.

Even if you are just standing in direct sunlight without protection for a long time without water, you'll risk becoming one of the heatstroke victims!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Turn on the AC. AC should be able to keep everyone cool. From the elderly to students, they shouldn't have to suffer without AC. Crank it up to survive the heat!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A quote from above:

"The Fire and Disaster Management Agency urged people to take safeguards against heatstroke, by drinking plenty of water, sleeping on a wet pillow and using the air conditioner, if necessary."

Not even the officials connect the heatstroke with the cause of watching and taking part in sports.

The sheer lack of common sense in this country is a worry, especially as this same heatstroke problem happens every year. The casualties could be reduced if schools used a bit of common sense on how to avoid it, but it's all shoganai and ganbaro here.

I wonder how many of the heatstroke victims were non-Japanese? Think about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Green PandaJul. 17, 2012 - 02:38PM JST

Turn on the AC. AC should be able to keep everyone cool. From the elderly to students, they shouldn't have to suffer without AC. Crank it up to survive the heat!

I would say the same, but KEPCO is alreay at 89% of generation with everything that can produce actually producing, If a million households turn on AC at the same time, it could crash the system or at minimum cause rolling blackouts.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

And the eight conventional PPs they have on stand-by?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To all the parents here:

Why don't you complain to the schools ? I've heard many schools don't have ACs for no reason. I bet it's again the "gaman" attitude and "reluctance" to ask for one as if it's something bad.

If you really want change then you should complain and write a letter to the Ministry of Environment. Even teachers complain about it but they to do the complain directly to the MOE that's why nothing happens. The parents have more power to demand for better conditions in schools. Because if you wait for the government to change things, it might not happen at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Siestas?? In Japan?? Funny how those who actually have to work out in the sun and heat like Japanese construction workers do know how to wake up early do their thing and by lunch time take a good needed rest, or siesta as we call it back in Mexico, but the rest of Japan?? Oh, it is almost 40 degrees CELCIUS/CENTIGRADE so let me go out and run a 20k marathon?? Play soccer or kendo for a few hours in this horrible heat and humidity?? My son puked his guts out on Sunday doing his kendo practice, tough sport even for adults, let alone for a small, skinny 3rd grader of Shogakko. Time for Japan to intro DAY LIGHTS SAVINGS TIME and SIESTAS and more common sense. IMHO.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Add Sudare or similar blinds to the outside, a few fans positioned well and you will be cool, plenty of mugi-cha. And you won't suffer the shock from going from a cold room to the heat and vice-versa, this is what kills you and causes summer fatigue.

Dittto concrete buildings bleed of heat stored during the day, again ventilation and NOT AC.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes, I have heard that people brought up with constant air-conditioning, even during the night, can lose the ablity to sweat. People who are unable to sweat are setting themselves up for heatstroke, it is said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

they shouldn't have to suffer without AC.

You can suffer "with AC". I am allergic to AC (less the the new high tech models). And that's not only me. We are many (some studies say 30% of workers have symptoms). Allergies kill way more than heatstrokes. And AC does not really help you to bear the heat. You will have to go out of your fridge-house at some point and you'll fall sick from just walking to your car. That's not useless, but usage has to be kept minimal.

I've heard many schools don't have ACs for no reason.

I dunno in Okinawa. In Osaka, the heat has started this week. and the school holidays start now. The kindergartens open in Summer have AC + shaded playgrounds + water pools. So that would be a huge waste of money to equip all the schools systematically. Because that would be for nothing : Even with air-con in the whole school, some sadistic P.E. teacher would get the bright idea to organize a boot camp at noon, in the sunniest part of the playground.

Kids can stay quiet but they aren't allowed to drink water during class.

Logical. They have breaks every other hour, if not more often. I don't say it's ideal to study when it's 40 degrees, but I've done Summer classes and I have never seen anybody being sick of heat during the classic classes. It's a bit tiring sure. If a few kids are weaker due to a condition, they can be excused from classes the 3 or 4 days in a year when it's a concern. But they will have heatstrokes at home then ?

you can physically do almost what you want at 38C,

No. That's the other extreme. Some athletes died due to heat strokes. Swimmers particularly and now some countries boycott hot days competitions. Marathons are often canceled too. There are charts that combine heat/humidity that indicate the dangerous zones.

I wonder how many of the heatstroke victims were non-Japanese? Think about it.

99% over the world. Japan is a small country and they are not much into beaches and pools like most "Western countries" so they can get a triple whammy : heat-stroke, severe sunburns and drowning due fainting at the shock (due to jumping into cold water, the stomach full of ice-cream when the air is stuffy).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Did not know that! I wish Japan would adopt this law too! My son goes to an elementary school that has no a/c so I worry about him everyday during the summer. (I don't know why Japan doesn't believe in a/c's...)

Why not make it an issue at school then instead of complaining about it on JT? I bet many of the parents would support your concerns and perhaps something would be done. Until the parents complain about it, this silly behaviour continues.

As for the uni teacher refusing classes, I'm guessing he was tenure because at the places I work, he would have been shown the door.

It is absoluetly insane for the schools and public to carry on outside the way they do in such weather. I went for a run today but made sure I was hydrated, had some salt before and made sure I wasn't out any longer than 45 mins. Not rocket science but since we all know common sense is lacking here...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If they introduced measures to allow kids to drink water in class, or even introduce half days during the high summer months it could be of benefit to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know what schools you guys teach at but all of the 4 public schools I teach at have AC in every class room Also today the kids got sent home at lunch time which I am told is a routine thing, In Australia I never got sent home even in 40 degree heat, but hey whatever lets just paint all Japanese people with the same brush and level as many insults against them as we can. We are superior.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ tmarie - How do you know I haven't made an issue at school? For your info, I have addressed the school, PTA and the city hall not to mention getting with the city komeito rep. I did last year and did so again this year. And for the record, I don't need you to tell me what I can make an issue about on here. You seem to never have a problem expressing your self-righteousness!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pexa02... thank you. A lot of posters here appear to have some type of superiority complex.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ms. Alexander, if you are so concerned about the welfare of your kids, why not yanks them out for the last few weeks and home school them? That or cough up the money to send them to a school with AC - which would be a private school. No idea why you're being so defensive when being given advice on what you can do to better the situation you're in by someone who has seen parents complain and get changes made. If enough parents get together and complain, things WILL be changed.

If they introduced measures to allow kids to drink water in class, or even introduce half days during the high summer months it could be of benefit to them. Many schools allow water in the classrooms and many have half days near the end of term. Thankfully not all schools here are stupid.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm not being defensive. Re-read your post to me - you told me to bring it up to the school instead of complaining here in JT. You call that advice? If I recall correctly, you don't have kids so stop speaking from "above" like you know what it's like to be a parent. Being a teacher isn't the same. If my kid had other schools to go to, he'd be there. Again, like I said, I don't you to tell me what to do - which you are doing. You aren't giving advice. But I'm wrong and you are right, right?! End of story with you.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

End of story?! What on earth is that supposed to mean?!

And the old "your not a parent" comment. Always the comment parents make when they have nothing else. Old and overplayed. Perhaps you could remember you're not a teacher when criticizing one?! Works both ways.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dumb and dumber! Australia is known to be a hot country, but the heat is also sensibly dealt with. Many schools are closed when the temp reaches 100'F (36.5'C)

And yet people still reside there for generations with people dying from heatstroke year in and year out. Evolution does take time, I guess...

In any case, as in most of the heat stroke cases, victims are mainly the elders whose body temperature rises more than the younger while at the same time, does feel the heat stress as much which of course, is a double whammy.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So glad im not a highschool student anymore. Who can play with this heat? just give me a cool beer in the shade

I agree with you, Papigiulio. But, I wouldn't want to be a high school student in Japan. Less focus on individualism, which is important because we are individuals, not copycats of others and the Sempai system can be cruel. I'd rather enjoy my high school experiences without these regimental characteristics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

nigelboyJul. 17, 2012 - 11:14PM JST

In any case, as in most of the heat stroke cases, victims are mainly the elders whose body temperature rises more than the younger

It's just as hazardous to younger children, who have very little thermal mass compared to adults. And since they are always running around, they can build up even more heat and perspire more than they take in. Both groups should be cared for in hot weather, especially children playing outdoors and elderly who like to pinch yens even if they don't need to by keeping AC off.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

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