10,000 hospitalized each week . . .
Japan has seen a record number of heat wave-related deaths and hospitalizations this summer. The crisis peaked during the last week of July with 18,347 residents arriving at emergency rooms due to heat stroke, and the number of hospitalizations has remained at more than 10,000 each week since. Last week, over 12,000 people were hospitalized and 23 died, raising the total number of heat wave-related deaths in Japan this summer to 57.
Policy challenge for wealthy Japan . . .
The heat wave has emerged as a policy challenge for Japan, a wealthy OECD country with a record of good governance. Hospitalized senior citizens constitute more than half of the total number of heat wave-related hospitalizations (54.9 per cent), but other segments of the population are also impacted, including the low-income group that cannot afford air conditioning and the large population of ‘recluses’ (hikkikomori) that do not ever leave their homes and remain undetected by social services.
Climate change affects us all . . .
In the first week of August, scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the U.K. published a study noting that the heat waves that have become more common today could not have occurred without human-caused carbon emissions. The scientists also made the point that that without addressing climate change, summer heat waves will continue to become longer, hotter, and ultimately, deadlier, further underscoring the human cost of global warming.
- Japan Times: Extreme heat in Japan leaves 23 dead
- NHK News: How long Japan’s deathly heat wave last?
- Inside Climate News: This Summer heat waves could be the strongest climate signal yet