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Monday, September 23, 2013

Japan's scorching summer sets records

The nation of Japan has finally cleared the summertime heat which ravaged its population, and the toll from the season is being calculated. From June through August of this year over 56,000 people from regions spanning the entire island nation were treated at hospitals for temperature-related illnesses, with at least 29 dying from heat stroke.

The middle of August was particularly brutal, with the mercury rising above 40°C (105°F) in many localities, shattering previous records. Food industries were also adversely affected, with poor crop yields and diminished diary production giving officials reason for concern.

It is not yet known what effect the three-month heatwave will have on long-term food supplies, though many are predicting a spike in prices as cooler weather takes hold. While Japan's primary food staple is fish (an industry which thrived during the steamy conditions), the foods which provide the side dishes used to add nutritional balance have suffered during this event; with only 13% of its land utilized for agriculture, any losses are considered potentially serious.

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