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Twelve people died and nearly 10,000 people were taken to hospitals with heat exhaustion or heatstroke during the week through July 15, as a heat wave continued to scorch wide areas of Japan, the government said on July 18.

Temperatures soared to more than 35 degrees Celsius, with cities in central Japan seeing the highest levels this year at about 40 C, the weather agency said.

As intense heat is expected to continue, the Meteorological Agency has warned people to take precautions, such as drinking sufficient amounts of water.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, the heat sent 9,956 people to hospitals, 3.7 times higher than in the previous week. A Kyodo News tally showed more than 5,000 people were taken to hospitals during the three-day weekend.

On July 18, temperatures climbed to 40.7 C in the city of Tajimi in Gifu Prefecture, and the city of Mino in the same prefecture reached 40.6 C. The last time such temperatures were recorded was August 2013.

By prefecture, Osaka saw the largest number of people sent to hospitals with 752 people, followed by 704 in Tokyo and 687 in Aichi Prefecture.

Of the 9,956 people, nearly 190 needed to be hospitalized for more than three weeks. People aged 65 or older accounted for 46.1 percent of the total.

Among the fatalities the previous week was a 6-year-old boy. The first-grade elementary school student in Aichi Prefecture was attending an outdoor class for about two hours with his teacher and classmates at around noon on Tuesday. The temperature was about 33 C at that time.

Of the 927 monitoring points nationwide, 185 points logged 35 C or higher on Wednesday, the Meteorological Agency said.

In Osaka Prefecture, firefighters took nine female students to hospital at about 1 p.m. after receiving an emergency call from the school. Three are apparently in serious condition, they said. It was around 38 C at just past 2 p.m. in Osaka.

The Tokyo Fire Department said it received about 2,900 emergency calls the previous day, a record high for a single day since it started emergency services in 1936.

The Environment Ministry, which releases a color-based map on its website to convey heat exhaustion or heatstroke risks, has decided to change the colors to make it easier to read for people with color vision deficiency.

First published in The Japan Times on July 19.

Warm up

One-minute chat about your favorite season.


Collect words related to summer, e.g., hot, sunflower, vacation.

New words

1) exhaustion: the state of being extremely tired, e.g., They ran to the point of exhaustion.

2) sufficient: enough, e.g., We have sufficient food to survive.

Guess the headline

12 dead, nearly 10,000 taken to h_ _ _ _ _ _ _s last week as ongoing h_ _ _ wave engulfs Japan


1) How many people were hospitalized?

2) What did the Meteorological Agency warn people about?

3) What is the highest temperature mentioned in the article?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think about the recent heat?

2) What do you enjoy doing in summer?

3) What do you think we should do to deal with the heat?




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