Heat wave leaves at least four people dead

Kochi city bakes in record-setting 41-degree heat

Kyodo, JIJI

The heat reached a national record of 41.0 degrees Monday in Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture, as Japan remained in the grip of a severe heat wave, the Meteorological Agency said.

The new high, logged at 1:42 p.m., topped the previous record of 40.9 set in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, and Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, in August 2007, the agency said.

The heat is expected to continue for about a week amid sunny weather, officials said.

Among the Meteorological Agency’s 927 observation points across Japan, 185 logged highs above 35.

Nightfall has offered little relief. In the Otemachi business district in central Tokyo, the temperature stayed as high as 30.4 late into the evening Sunday, the agency said.

Atmospheric conditions became unstable Sunday afternoon in the Kanto-Koshin region, prompting the Meteorological Agency to issue an alert about possible tornados.

At least four people died Sunday of causes related to the hot weather, according to police and fire departments.

Around 8:50 a.m., an 80-year-old woman was found lying in her house in Arita, Wakayama Prefecture. She was transported to a hospital but was confirmed dead about an hour later.

The woman lived alone and did not use an air conditioner, firefighters said.

The Wakayama Local Meteorological Observatory reported a high of 38.5 degrees in the city of Wakayama. The previous record there was 38.1 degrees marked in 1994.

A passerby found an elderly man lying unconscious on a street Sunday afternoon in the city of Oita. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was confirmed dead, the fire department said.

A 63-year-old man collapsed in his home in Ayabe, Kyoto Prefecture. His family made an emergency call around 2:40 p.m., but the man was later confirmed dead. He had been farming in the morning but returned home around noon after feeling ill, firefighters and other sources said.

In the early evening, a 79-year-old man collapsed in his home in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, and was later confirmed dead.

He was using an electric fan, but all the windows in his home had been closed, firefighters said.