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The Environment Ministry has started lending people parasols for free as protection against heatstroke on days heatstroke alerts are issued.

The project is being carried out in cooperation with a private company based in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, Nature Innovation Group, which operates the Aikasa umbrella rental service.

The ministry and the Japan Meteorological Agency have introduced a heatstroke alert system on a trial basis in Tokyo and eight other prefectures in the Kanto-Koshin eastern Japan region.

When an alert is issued for at least one of the prefectures, people can borrow parasols for free at some 450 rental stations in Tokyo and the prefectures of Ibaraki, Saitama and Kanagawa.

Under the system, an alert is sent on the previous day’s evening and in the morning of the day of high heatstroke risks.

People need to register via a smartphone app to use the Aikasa rental service. On days without risk of heatstroke, the daily fee for renting an umbrella is set at ¥70.

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