While the UK bakes in an ongoing heatwave, the weather in Japan is so extreme that it has been declared a natural disaster.
An intense heatwave has hit Japan, with record highs of 41.1C in Kumagaya and 40.8C in Oume, both near Tokyo, on Monday, as the country struggles to recover from its worst flooding and landslide disasters in decades.
Over 22,000 people – nearly half of them elderly – have been taken to hospital with heat stroke.
And forecasters say the heat in Japan shows no sign of lessening, with temperatures of at least 35C predicted until early August.
Japan Meteorological Agency spokesman Motoaki Takekawa said: ‘We are observing unprecedented levels of heat in some areas.
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He added that the heatwave was ‘a threat to life and we recognise it as a natural disaster’.
School holidays in Japan may be extended as less than half of the country’s public schools are equipped with air conditioning.
Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said: ‘As a record heatwave continues to blanket the country, urgent measures are required to protect the lives of schoolchildren.’
Weather extremes including record temperatures, heatwaves and drought are being seen across the northern hemisphere in the first half of summer, hitting health and agriculture and causing dangerous wildfires.
Experts have warned climate change was ‘loading the dice towards extreme weather,’ with rising global temperatures fuelling heatwaves.