Japan seems to suffer more than its fair share of natural disasters, and this past summer was especially bad. In addition to two earthquakes that resulted in considerable damage, there were strong storms that killed dozens and forced thousands to flee their homes.

Some people are saying that this summer’s run of extremely high temperatures also qualifies as a natural disaster. At the very least, the sweltering heat appeared to be a symptom of the climate change that also brought about the deadly storms. One of the key quantifying criteria for phenomena labeled “natural disasters” is their economic impact. Since extreme heat does not necessarily have the same immediately destructive effect on people’s lives in the way that storms and earthquakes do, it is better to gauge its influence in terms of consumer spending.

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