Japan’s Overwhelming Heat Wave

Since my 2019 relocation to Japan I have experienced two unexpected and extraordinary events: the COVID pandemic and Japan’s worst heat wave on record.

In Tokyo on Saturday, temperatures exceeded 35 Celsius (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit) for the eighth straight day. According to Japan’s Meteorological Agency, the capital has only seen such a streak once before since 1875.

Heat stroke and exhaustion are a major concern and Japan’s aging population is especially vulnerable. Over 4,500 people with symptoms were taken to hospitals in recent days; a number more than four times greater from the same period a year ago.

Since we walk or ride bikes for all our local activities, we have been very careful to avoid exposure. We have kept air-conditioners running and I have halted my daily 5K fitness walks to avoid heat stroke; even very early morning and evening attempts were dangerous. Toma has been particularly affected by the heat.

Typhoon season, the next expected weather events, could also be troubling.