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Blazing Heat Wave Hits Japan
By: Jiahao Chen
Japan is currently going through an excruciating heat wave. This is raising civilian awareness about the possibility of power shortages, but Japanese officials are suggesting keeping the air conditioning running anyway to keep the blazing heat away.
This heat wave has had temperatures bursting in the high 90s for 8 straight days. This is the second time conditions reached this point since 1875, when Japan started keeping temperature records. A record that was set only two years ago was broken in the city of Isesaki in the Gunma prefecture, breaking 104 degrees.
The heat wave also killed many people, along with an undeniable increase in the number of patients hit with heat strokes. Around 4,500 people were rushed to the hospital due to the smoldering heat, more than 4 times more patients than last year. Most patients were seniors, 65 years or older, and they make up a large chunk of Japan’s population.
To prevent more deaths, authorities have recommended staying indoors and, if outdoors, using umbrellas, and lastly, taking masks off. “I’d like to ask people to take their masks off when walking, jogging and cycling to work,” said Seiji Kihara, the deputy cabinet secretary.
Power companies have also been in a stressful situation. They are suggesting ways to save energy, stressing that they are under pressure from the heat wave. The Tohoku Electric Power Company plays a big role by serving six prefectures in northern Japan. They cautioned that during the week, it would be “extremely difficult” for them to serve their customers. “Please save as much power as possible,” the company said.
The governor of Tokyo, Ms. Koike, gives examples of saving energy, saying the lights in her office are turned off. She also suggests making the temperatures higher in refrigerators, and turning off popular heated toilet seats.
Relying on liquefied natural gas, Japan is now vulnerable to power blackouts. They used to get their liquefied gas from Russia but are now purchasing more expensive gas from different areas because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Some people have gone to other places to cool down, while others are trying to protect themselves where they are. Kentaro Araki, a researcher at the Japan Meteorological Agency, claimed that no one can endure the heat, and that they should take any measure to save themselves.