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Tokyo's June heat wave is the worst it's experienced since 1875

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  On Tuesday, Japan continued to experience sweltering heat as the capital's heat shattered nearly 150...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  On Tuesday, Japan continued to experience sweltering heat as the capital's heat shattered nearly 150-year-old June records. Authorities issued a warning that the power supply was still insufficient and that power disruptions were still a possibility.

After three straight days of temperatures above 35 C, the hottest stretch of hot weather in June since records began in 1875, a high of 36 C was forecast for Tokyo on Tuesday.

Hospitalizations for heatstroke increased early in the day, and many people in the capital still disobey government advise by going outside while wearing face masks, a hangover from the more than two years of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Authorities in the Tokyo area advised people to use less electricity for a second day in order to prevent an impending power outage. The heatwave occurs less than two weeks before a national election in which voters' main concerns, according to opinion polls that show the government's approval rating falling, are rising prices, including power.

According to Fuji News Network, 13 persons had been admitted to hospitals with suspected cases of heatstroke as of 9:00 a.m. local time (0000 GMT). According to the media, at least two people are said to have passed away from heatstroke, which forced authorities to scale back their recommendations for power conservation.

Koichi Hagiuda, the commerce and industry minister, said at a news conference that "apparently some elderly people have turned off their air conditioners since we are encouraging people to preserve energy, but please - it's this hot - don't hesitate to cool yourself."

The government issued a warning on Monday, predicting that in Tokyo and eight neighbouring prefectures, reserve producing capacity could fall below 5 percent on Tuesday afternoon, approaching the minimum of 3 percent required to assure steady supply. Low reserve capacity increases the likelihood of power shortages and blackouts.

On Monday, some lights were switched off in the afternoon and evening at government buildings, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which also stopped using 25% of the elevators in its structure.

According to a poll conducted by Yahoo Japan, staying hydrated came in first place with 53 percent of respondents, followed by utilising air conditioners, at about 21 percent each. Despite government regulations stating that face masks are no longer required to be worn outside, just 12% of respondents stated they had ceased wearing them.

The ruling party of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confronts challenges from rising costs, which are made worse by a decline in the value of the yen that raises the cost of imports, despite expectations that they will perform well in the upper chamber of parliament election on July 10.

Voter approval of the Kishida government dropped from 55% last week to 50% in a survey conducted by public broadcaster NHK on June 24-26.

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