National

LDP panel to study ways to prevent heatstroke during 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

JIJI

A group of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will launch a full-fledged study this autumn on measures to prevent heatstroke during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The group hopes that the results of their study will help the 2020 Games run smoothly and without any major threats to athletes’ and visitors’ health.

Many foreign visitors who are planning to come to Japan to watch the events are likely not accustomed to the country’s hot and humid summer weather.

How to better protect athletes and spectators from the heat is a major issue in the run-up to the quadrennial sporting events, which will be held between late July and early September next year.

Members of the panel are expected to mainly discuss measures to improve the provision of information on heatstroke for foreign visitors and stronger steps to protect elderly and other people vulnerable to hot weather, informed sources said.

They will hold detailed talks while hearing opinions from experts and officials from related ministries and agencies, including the Environment Ministry and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

The group, headed by former Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki, hopes that such measures will be reflected in the government’s budget for the fiscal year that starts in April 2020, the sources said.

The number of heatstroke sufferers taken to hospital by ambulance around the country between May and September last year stood at 95,137, the largest since the fire management agency started the survey in 2008.

On July 23 last year, the temperature reached a record 41.1 degrees Celsius in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture.

Sweltering summer heat is hitting the Japanese archipelago this year, too.

In the week to Sunday, 12,751 people were taken to hospitals in ambulances due to heatstroke, according to a preliminary report from the agency. The number was up sharply from 8,641 in the same period last year.

On Thursday, temperatures rose to as high as 40.7 degrees Celsius in Tainai, Niigata Prefecture. It was the highest temperature recorded in Japan so far this summer, the agency said.