28 august 2013

[4C note: Background to the following article: One day before it appeared, NHK World printed the following story:

338 deaths from heatstroke since June 1:

"At least 338 people in Japan have died of heatstroke this summer.

"NHK interviewed fire and police authorities across the country and compiled the number for the period from the end of May to last Sunday. Seventy-eight percent of the victims were aged 60 or over. Fifteen percent were in their 30s to 50s. Seventy-five percent of the victims were found indoors. 40 percent had air conditioning, but more than 90 percent of them were not using it.

"The Fire and Disaster Management Agency says that from late May until Sunday, 53,739 people were rushed to hospital nationwide with symptoms of heatstroke. The figure represents an increase of 36 percent from the same period last year, and is the highest since the agency began keeping records in 2010.

"The agency is calling on people to stay hydrated and use air conditioning to keep room temperatures below 28 degrees Celsius."]


Panel to draw up plan to adapt to climate change

NHK World, August 28, 2013

A Japanese government panel has begun discussions to compile measures to adapt to the effects of global climate change.

The government aims to draw up such measures by mid-2015, in light of this summer's record-high temperatures in Japan. The unusual condition brought a surge in the number of heatstroke sufferers and torrential rain that triggered landslides and flooding.

On Wednesday, an expert panel of the Environment Ministry discussed how to analyze the effects of climate change and draw up practical measures.

One panel member called for an analysis of how the effects change as temperatures rise.

Another called for a study of effects on a regional basis so that prefectures and communities can draw up their own measures based on the government plan.

Panel chair and president of the National Institute for Environmental Studies Akimasa Sumi says this summer definitely shows that global warming increases the severity of weather phenomena such as droughts and heavy rain. He says measures to deal with the problem are crucial for Japan's future.

The panel aims to complete its report by January 2015.

Aug. 28, 2013 - Updated 09:58 UTC

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