July 2, around 2:00 pm. Two men lying on the beach in a daze, probably overcome by the heat, doing nothing.
A woman in her 20s, who had come to Yuigahama beach (Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture) to swim in the sea, lay under a parasol, gazing off into the distance and blurted out, “It’s so hot!”
Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture, recorded 40°C on July 1, and in Tokyo, the temperature exceeded 30°C for 10 days. In various parts of the Tokyo metropolitan area, people could be seen struggling with the heat.
On July 1, the sea opened at Yuigahama beach for the first time in three years. The beach was crowded with bathers, but some people, like the woman at the beginning of this article, appeared to be exhausted. Yoshimasa Teranishi, who runs two beach houses on Yuigahama, said,
“There were more visitors than usual, but it was so hot that people had to fight for seats in the shade (laughs). Yakisoba has been a hot seller so far, but this year, cold noodles are popular. In the future, we would like to provide cold food and covered seating as much as possible.”
On June 28, the “scorching hot Upper House election” was underway in Yokohama City. LDP candidate Junko Mihara, standing in front of JR Konandai Station at 4:00 p.m., was sweating so much that her makeup was peeling off, and former Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, who had come to support her, was wearing a luxurious shirt that clung tightly to his body. Around them, masked, black-suited SPs, sweating like waterfalls, kept a watchful eye on their surroundings.
Some people have lost their lives due to the extreme heat. Takehiko Yoshimizu of Hitosaji-no-Kai, which has been providing soup kitchens and supplies to people living on the streets in the Asakusa and Ueno areas for the past 14 years, said, “In years when the heat is too much, people die from the cooler temperatures.”
“We have been distributing cooling gel sheets and other supplies in years when the heat has been severe, but we did not expect the temperature to be this high from June, so we have not been able to respond in time. Unfortunately, one of the homeless people we were helping died from what appeared to be heat stroke. He had no choice but to cool off in the shade or in public facilities, and I think he also suffered from lack of sleep due to the heat.”
Why is it so hot? Akira Mori, a meteorologist, explains.
“Two powerful high-pressure systems, the Pacific High and the Tibetan High, covered the skies over Japan. The high pressure is weakening now and the heat has calmed down a little, but there is a risk that the high pressure will strengthen again through August, resulting in multiple episodes of heat waves exceeding 40 degrees Celsius like those seen from the end of June to the beginning of July.”
At the end of June, road cave-ins occurred in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward and Fuchu City, which were also blamed on the heat wave. Abnormal situations caused by excessively hot summers may occur more frequently in the future.
July 2. Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Tokyo, was bustling with people despite the scorching sun. Some people were wondering what to buy for their handy fans.