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This week’s featured article

KYODO, JIJI, THE JAPAN TIMES

At least three elderly people died and more than 800 people, including four schoolchildren, were taken to the hospital Tuesday, apparently suffering from heatstroke or heat exhaustion, as the Japanese archipelago continued to bake under scorching temperatures.

It was the sixth day in a row that temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius or higher were registered in some parts of the country.

The mercury topped 35 degrees in some parts of the nation Tuesday, with the Meteorological Agency warning people to take measures to prevent heat exhaustion.

“Our bodies are not used to high temperatures at this time of the year, so we should drink water often even if we are not thirsty,” said a Fire and Disaster Management Agency official.

A total of 3,058 people were taken to hospitals across the country due to suspected heatstroke or heat exhaustion in the week beginning July 6, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Of the total, 52 required hospitalization for more than three weeks and 945 others were hospitalized for shorter periods. Nearly half of the total were victims aged 65 or older.

Electricity consumption in the service area of Tokyo Electric Power Co. surged, apparently due to strong demand as households and companies cranked up their air conditioner units.

On Monday, electricity demand reached 93 percent of Tepco’s overall supply capacity between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., the highest level so far this summer, the company said.

As Monday’s electricity demand topped Tepco’s estimate, the company increased hydropower generation to ensure a stable supply. Maximum demand for the day came to 43.5 million kilowatts, up by some 10 million kilowatts from a week before.

More than 2,400 people died from heatstroke in Japan over five years through 2014 and about 80 percent of them were aged 70 or older, a survey conducted by Showa University professor Yasufumi Miyake said Tuesday.

In announcing the results Miyake, who specializes in emergency medicine, emphasized the need to use air conditioners to lower room temperatures and drink water to fight the heat.

First published in The Japan Times on July 15.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “My summer memories.”

Game

Collect words related to summer, e.g., hot, pool, sun.

New words

1) exhaustion: feeling very tired; e.g., “Exhaustion left her feeling cold and weak.”

2) archipelago: a group of islands; e.g., “Many flowers are unique to the archipelago.”

3) scorching: Very hot; e.g., “The sand on the beach was scorching.”

4) mercury: the chemical used in thermometers; e.g., “In Okinawa yesterday, the mercury topped 40 degrees Celsius.”

Guess the headline

Three dead, more than _00 taken to hos_ _ _ _ _ amid h_ _ _ wave

Questions

1) Most of the victims are from which age group?

2) What should we do to avoid heatstroke and heat exhaustion?

3) What is happening with the electricity in Tokyo?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What are your memories of summer?

2) Have you ever gotten heatstroke or heat exhaustion?

3) What are your tips for making summer more enjoyable and safe?

Reference

7月になっても肌寒い日が続いたかと思ったとたん、うだるような暑さの日が続いています。日本の高い湿度と合わさった近年の異常ともいえる暑さは 私たちの体力を奪い、時には命をも危険にさらします。

子供たちにとっては思い出がたくさんつくられる夏休みが始まる季節ですが、年々最高温度も上がっているような状況の中、子供や高齢者は特に 体調不良のリスクが高くなります。子供たちには遊びに夢中になったり部活で無理をしたりして水分不足にならないよう、また大人にはエアコンと上手に付き合いつつ温度差での体調不良もありえることを気にする注意などが必要です。

楽しいことがたくさんの夏になるように、くれぐれも注意しながら過ごして いきたいものです。

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