Highest temperature in 150 years… and authorities warn

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On Tuesday, Japan recorded sweltering temperatures for the fourth consecutive day, with temperatures in the capital surpassing the highest levels in nearly 150 years in June as authorities warned that electricity supplies remained congested.

Tokyo’s maximum temperature is expected to reach 36 degrees Celsius on Tuesday after three consecutive days of above 35 degrees; June has the worst wave of hot weather since records began in 1875. Notably, according to local media reports, the country usually gets a lot of rain during the current period, but the Japan Meteorological Administration (JMA) announced yesterday, Monday, the end of the rainy season in many parts of Tokyo. This is the shortest period since 1951.

Hospitalizations for heatstroke increased this morning, and many residents of the capital continue to ignore government advice to continue wearing masks outdoors, a legacy of more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the second day in a row, authorities have been asking residents of the Tokyo area to rationalize their electricity consumption to avoid blackouts. Press reports predicted a long summer with power grids strained in most parts of Asia, with rising scorching temperatures doubling electricity consumption to benefit from air conditioning, while global fuel shortages due to the war in Ukraine are limiting supplies.

A heat wave hits less than two weeks before national elections as opinion polls show high prices, including for electricity, are a major concern for voters and the government’s popularity is waning.

“We are asking citizens to reduce energy consumption in the afternoon,” when the electricity supply in the Greater Tokyo Area is at its lowest, Yoshihiko Isozaki, Assistant Secretary General of the Government of Japan, said yesterday. Fuji News Network reported that as of 9:00 local time: 13 people were taken to hospital with suspected heat stroke. Media reports say at least two people have died from heatstroke. For scientists, the spread of heat waves exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions is a sure sign of global warming.

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