Temperatures reach record high as Japanese heatwave continues

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Japan has experienced its highest temperature since records began as a deadly heatwave continued to grip large parts of the country as well as neighbouring North and South Korea.

The mercury hit 41.1C in Kumagaya, a city in Saitama prefecture about 40 miles north-west of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

This broke the previous record of 41C in Ekawasaki on the island of Shikoku on August 12 2013.

The temperature reached 41C
The thermometer reads 41C in Kumagaya city (AP)

The 10 who died in South Korea succumbed to heatstroke and other heat-related causes, seven of them last week, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.

About 1,040 people have fallen ill because of hot weather from May 20 to July 21, an increase of 61% over the same period last year, it said.

A woman fans herself
A woman holds a portable fan in Tokyo (AP)

The mercury hit 39.9C in the south-eastern town of Hayang, the highest temperature in the country so far this year.

In North Korea, residents fanned themselves on crowded trolleys or protected themselves from the sun with parasols as temperatures in Pyongyang, the capital, reached 34C. Weather reports said even higher temperatures were recorded on the country’s eastern coast.

Cooling mists
People cool down under the cooling mist spot in Tokyo (AP)

The temperature reached 39C on Monday in central Tokyo, the highest temperature this year. The worst of the heatwave is expected to be over this week.

Authorities have warned people to stay inside and use air conditioning.

People cool off in a stream
Visitors rest in the shade in the midday heat at Cheonggye stream in Seoul (AP)

She said that the city has been working to address heat concerns for both fans and athletes.

The marathon and some other outdoor Olympic events will start early in the morning. Other steps include developing road pavements which emit less surface heat, setting up mist sprays and planting tall roadside trees.

Ms Koike also cited traditional ways of cooling in Japan, such as hanging straw screens and spraying water on road surfaces.

“But our traditional wisdom is not enough to beat the heat like this,” she acknowledged, “so we will be using cutting-edge technology.”

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