After Japan’s hottest June in history brought with it blistering records, temperatures have soared back into the upper 30s across the country. This summer has already seen the earliest recorded arrival of a 35 degrees Celsius day in Tokyo and thousands hospitalized due to heatstroke.

The climate crisis is already causing major changes in Japan. The archipelago is getting more days of heat wave conditions, more heavy precipitation, fewer days of rain overall and a reduced snow depth of 13% per decade. Record breaking typhoons have caused trillions of yen in damages. Yet at the same time, climate change hardly surfaced as a footnote in the recent Upper House elections.

“While people, government and business leaders are becoming more climate conscious and aware of the realities of climate change, it’s not on the same level as the policy that we need for Japan,” says Kenro Taura, executive director of Kiko Network, a Kyoto-based NGO that fights climate change. “We haven’t reached the level of effort required for systemic change.”