(SOURCE) Five people died and around 1,400 people were taken by ambulance to hospitals nationwide due to heat stroke or heat exhaustion, a tally showed Saturday, as temperatures soared across much of Japan.
The rising mercury prompted the Meteorological Agency to issue heat wave advisories for 41 of the 47 prefectures.
The preliminary figure of people being rushed to hospitals came to 1,389, of whom five died and 20 were in a serious condition, according to the tally.
Of 927 observation points of the agency nationwide, 702 — more than 70 percent — logged highs of at least 30 degrees Celsius, while about a quarter of all locations topped 35 degrees.
The city of Higashiomi in Shiga Prefecture clocked a record-breaking 38.8 degrees, and the mercury reached new all-time highs at 13 other locations, including Obama in Fukui Prefecture, at 38.6 degrees.
According to the agency, a high-pressure system in the Pacific Ocean sent a blanket of warm air over a wide swath of the archipelago, from the Tohoku region in the northeast down to Okinawa at the southern tip.
A cold front heading south is forecast to bring the possibility of cooling rain over the country on Sunday, but the stifling heat will likely return on Monday and is expected to continue, the agency said.
The tally of hospital cases was conducted by Kyodo News.