Children at a park near Tokyo seek relief from the heat Monday. Japan recorded its highest-ever temperature, 105.98 degrees, on Monday as a weeks-long heat wave settled over the country. Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE
July 23 (UPI) -- Japan saw the hottest temperature in its history Monday -- 105.98 degrees Fahrenheit -- amid an oppressive heat wave that's killed at least 40 people so far.
The 106-degree reading in Kumagaya, near Tokyo in Saitama prefecture, eclipsed a 2013 record temperature of 105.8 degrees.
The temperature in metropolitan Tokyo Monday hit 105.4 degrees in the western city of Ome, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The central Japanese city of Tajimi, in Gifu prefecture, dealt with temperatures of 104.9 on Monday, after reaching 105.2 degrees last week.
A temperature of 102 degrees was observed at the Yokota Air Base, a U.S. military facility near Ome.
"It was the hottest-ever July temperature," Senior Airman Darion DuVerney, a forecaster with the U.S. 374th Operational Support Squadron, said. "It looks like it will continue."
DuVerney said the Air Force has kept heat records at Yokota, a Pacific airlift hub, since 1948.
At least 11 people died of heatstroke and other weather-related health problems on Saturday alone, officials said. Three of the 40 dead were 89, 90 and 95, Japan Today reported. Tens of thousands have been hospitalized, and Tokyo's fire department logged more than 3,100 emergency calls on Sunday alone.
The heat wave has lasted several weeks and comes from a ridge of high pressure over Japan, which remains stationary and draws warm air from the south. The hot weather follows recent flooding in western Japan that killed more than 200 people.
The meteorological agency said it expects the hot temperatures to continue into August.