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Northeast Asia suffers under severe heat wave

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 8:29 PM EDT, Tue August 13, 2013
A woman wears sun-protective clothing as she rides in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, August 12. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/13/world/asia/asia-heat/index.html'>Temperatures have spiked in Northeast Asia</a> this summer, causing heat-related deaths as well harming crops and livestock. A woman wears sun-protective clothing as she rides in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, August 12. Temperatures have spiked in Northeast Asia this summer, causing heat-related deaths as well harming crops and livestock.
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Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
Temperatures soar in Northeast Asia
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The high temperature in a Japanese city sets a new national record
  • South Korea orders government offices to turn off air-conditioning
  • The heat is putting extra strain on the country's struggling power grid
  • Scorching temperatures continue to afflict Shanghai after a brutal July

Hong Kong (CNN) -- For countries in Northeast Asia, this summer is becoming too hot to bear.

A Japanese city has experienced the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.

The South Korean government is clamping down on the use of air-conditioning in an attempt to stave off power shortages.

And Shanghai has been sweltering under a record-setting run of baking hot days.

The searing temperatures have brought a spike in heat-related deaths, as well as harming crops and livestock.

As record temperatures hit China, an Ikea store in Beijing has seen a surge in interest from citizens looking for air-conditioning, comfortable sofas and a good nap.
Shanghai experienced its hottest July in 140 years with temperatures as high as 40.8 C. At least 10 Shanghai residents have reportedly died from heat stroke this summer. As record temperatures hit China, an Ikea store in Beijing has seen a surge in interest from citizens looking for air-conditioning, comfortable sofas and a good nap. Shanghai experienced its hottest July in 140 years with temperatures as high as 40.8 C. At least 10 Shanghai residents have reportedly died from heat stroke this summer.
Chinese cool down in Ikea
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Gallery: Chinese flock to IKEA to escape heatwave Gallery: Chinese flock to IKEA to escape heatwave
Trying to beat the heat in Shanghai

A new record

In Japan, of the 52 deaths from heatstroke nationwide between late May and early August, nearly one third of them occurred last week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

On Monday, the temperature reached 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Shimanto in southern Japan, setting a new national record, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

The agency issued a heat alert covering 37 of Japan's 47 prefectures on Tuesday, warning that the high temperatures are expected to continue for about a week in western, central and southern parts of the country.

Looming energy crisis

The hot weather has come at a bad time for South Korea, putting a severe strain on the country's struggling power grid. The energy supply was already suffering from technical problems, including the shutdown of some nuclear reactors.

Officials have warned of an imminent energy crisis.

To try to prevent shortages, authorities on Monday ordered sweltering workers in government offices to turn off the air-conditioning and avoid using elevators.

The order came two days after the city of Gimhae clocked a temperature of 39.2 degrees Celsius (102.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest in South Korea in more than a decade.

Read: South Korean women take to 'refrigerator pants' to beat the heat

The Korea Meteorological Administration on Tuesday issued a fresh heat wave warning -- which means the maximum temperature is expected to be above 35 Celsius for more than two days -- for large areas of the country.

Weeks of heat

Parts of China, meanwhile, have been dealing with unusually high temperatures for weeks.

iReport: Heatwave scorches Shanghai

After sweating through its hottest July in at least 140 years, Shanghai last week experienced four consecutive days during which the thermometer went above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), state media reported. That's the first time the sprawling city of 23 million inhabitants has had a run of temperatures that high, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

China's National Meteorological Center on Tuesday issued its second-highest heat alert for central and southern parts of the country -- the 20th day in a row that it's issued an alert of that level, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

But the agency also offered some hope of a reprieve for heat-weary citizens.

It predicted that "the intensity of the heat and the regions it affects will gradually dwindle over the next three days," Xinhua reported.

CNN's Junko Ogura and journalist Saori Ibuki in Tokyo; and journalist Soo Bin Park in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

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