The mercury hit 32 degrees at 7:30 a.m. Sunday in central Tokyo, prompting the Meteorological Agency to issue warnings for high temperatures across much of the nation after at least 11 people died of suspected heatstroke the previous day.

A heat wave that has gripped most of the country for the past week was forecast to continue until at least Thursday, the agency said. Many cities are seeing their highest temperatures ever.

"It's like a sauna," said a 50-year-old woman in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, where the mercury hit 40.7 degrees Wednesday.