Japan records highest average temperature in 125 years, weather agency says

Japan’s summer this year has its recorded highest average temperature since records began 125 years ago, the country's weather agency said on Friday.

“In the summer of 2023, the average summer temperature in Japan was considerably higher in northern, eastern and western Japan. Average temperatures in Japan are the highest for summer since 1898,” the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Based on measurements at 15 locations around the country from June through August, the average temperature deviation was +1.76C, the agency said. That exceeded the previous record of +1.08C in 2010.

Between 16 July and 23 August, the maximum temperature records were broken at 106 of 915 monitoring locations across Japan, it said.

High temperatures have continued even into the beginning of autumn, with “extremely hot days” being recorded in the city of Sapporo.

Earlier in August, Japan recorded the hottest day of the year as temperatures hit 40C in the Fukushima Prefecture. The country recorded its hottest average July temperatures in more than 100 years.

Temperature records have tumbled in 2023 across Asia, Europe and North Africa as the climate crisis makes meteorological conditions more volatile.

At the onset of summer in April, at least a dozen countries were hit by a "monster heatwave" that was made ”at least 30 times likely" due to the climate crisis, according to a study.

“The risks from climate change are right before us,” said Yasuaki Hijioka, deputy director of the Centre for Climate Change Adaptation at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, told the Associated Press.

“You can in principle try escaping from a flood. But heat affects such a wide area, there is almost no escape. Everyone is affected.”

Meanwhile, the weather agency in India said the average mean and maximum temperatures in August 2023 were "record highest since 1901".

“The large rainfall deficiency and weak monsoon condition is the main reason,” it said, according to AFP.