Scorching sunshine beat down across eastern Japan on Saturday, with the mercury nearing 40 C in some parts as hot, humid air streamed into the Japanese archipelago from the south, the Meteorological Agency said.

Warm winds pushed temperatures up to record levels across the eastern part of Honshu, with temperatures rising to 39.7 C in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, and 37.8 C in downtown Tokyo.

Kumagaya residents braved the hottest day on record for September and the second hottest day the city has ever seen.

For Tokyo, Saturday’s temperature was the second highest for the month since the Meteorological Agency began charting temperatures at the current site in 1923.

Temperatures soared to this year’s peak at numerous locations in eastern Japan, with the mercury rising to 38 C in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, 36.8 C in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, 36.5 in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, 35.8 in the city of Shizuoka and 35.4 C in Yokohama.

An extratropical cyclone proceeding east-southeast from the Japan Sea is bringing warm and dry winds down the mountainsides, known as the foehn phenomenon, in southern Honshu, the Meteorological Agency said.

Temperatures are expected to fall temporarily Monday, but will rise again and remain for the rest of the week, according to the agency.

366 laid low by heat

The number of people taken to hospital by ambulance suffering from heatstroke between July 1 and Aug. 31 in Tokyo rose 50 percent from last summer to 366, the Tokyo Fire Department said Saturday.

A total of 182 people in Tokyo were taken to hospital in July due to heatstroke, up from 91 in the same month last year, according to the department.

Although no fatalities were reported, the department said there were 163 heatstroke cases that required hospitalization, up 57 from last summer. It cited one case in which a 39-year-old man was in a critical condition after playing tennis without wearing a hat.

Heatstroke cases on weekends accounted for about 40 percent of the total as there were more opportunities for people to go outside. On July 1 alone, 22 people were taken to hospital, the department said.

The department is warning the public to wear hats when they go out during the day and to drink sufficient quantities of water since high temperatures are expected to continue.

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