Exposure to extreme cold temperatures caught many elderly people unawares in the wake of the Noto Peninsula earthquake that struck Ishikawa Prefecture on New Year's Day, and their experiences have led medical experts to warn against the dangers of developing hypothermia — even inside the home.

Generally speaking, people think of hypothermia as a condition that affects people outdoors. But the majority of its victims in Japan are senior citizens who freeze indoors — sometimes due to crises caused by major disasters and other times for reasons stemming from their everyday lives.

Often, the annual death toll from hypothermia exceeds that of heatstroke. Doctors and experts are urging people beyond disaster-stricken areas in central Japan to take precautions against hypothermia regularly.