Japan recorded its highest temperature ever July 23 as the mercury hit 41.1 in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, amid a deadly heat wave, the Meteorological Agency said.
Scorching weather killed 77 people and sent more than 30,000 to hospitals across the nation from July 9 to July 22, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and a Kyodo News tally.
At least nine people died July 23.
The heat wave also set a new record in Tokyo, where a sizzling temperature of 40.8 degrees was logged in Ome, the agency said.
The record-setting heat wave comes just two years before Tokyo hosts the Olympics.
The temperature in Kumagaya hit 41.1 degrees at 2:16 p.m., eclipsing the previous record of 41.0 set in August 2013 in Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture.
The temperature also hovered near a record high in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, which saw the mercury touch 40.5 on July 23 after hitting 40.7 on July 18, the agency said.
The hot temperatures give rise to safety concerns about the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in July and August, typically the hottest months of the year. Olympic officials and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government are examining measures to deal with the heat. (Kyodo, AFP-Jiji, The Japan Times)