57 people are dead and 18,000 were hospitalized in Japan as the country grapples with a stifling heat wave

Yahoo! Japan via nippon news/YouTubeA weather anchor warns of high temperatures in Japan on July 30, 2019.

57 people died and more than 18,000 were taken to hospital in the space of a single week as Japan grappled with a powerful heat wave.

According to Kyodo News, 18,347 people were taken to the hospital in the last week, more than three times the number recorded the week before that.

The figures are for July 29 to August 4, and were released at the beginning of this week. They paint a bleak picture of how Japan is coping with its ongoing high temperatures.

Just over half of those hospitalized were aged 65 and older, the report said. It is common for the very old and very young to suffer worst in extreme temperatures.

The highest number of hospitalizations occurred in Tokyo, where more than 1,800 people were hospitalized, Kyodo said.

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency told said that atmospheric high pressure led to the lengthy hot period. Temperatures climbed to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tokyo in the last week.

On Wednesday, temperatures reached 38.4 C (101 F) in Kumagaya, a city northwest of Tokyo, and 36.9 C (98.4 F) in Fukushima and Osaka, according to Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK.

High temperatures have plagued Japan for weeks, resulting in scores of heat-related deaths this summer.

Last month, more than 80 people died in a heat wave where temperatures climbed above 40 C (104 F) in parts of the country.

Then temperatures reached a record 41.1 C (105.8 F) according to Kyodo News, prompting Japan’s Meteorological Agency to issue a warning that the heat posed a “threat to life.”

“We recognise it as a natural disaster,” a spokesperson said last month.

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