Severe Japan heatwave claims at least a dozen lives: Reports

TOKYO (AFP) - A severe heatwave that hit Japan a week ago has claimed at least a dozen lives, reports said on Friday.

The mercury has topped 35 deg C in areas right across the country for several days, with no immediate end to the misery in sight, forecasters say.

Thousands of people have been taken to hospital suffering from heat stroke or exhaustion, with at least 12 of them dying, Jiji Press and other media reported.

Most of those affected are over 65, but there have also been groups of schoolchildren who were participating in school activities outside.

One recent death was that of a 90-year-old man whose body was discovered by his son inside an apartment. The air conditioner was turned off, Jiji said.

On Friday, the day's highest temperature was 38.3 deg C in Kawanehon town in Shizuoka prefecture.

More than 40 other spots recorded highs of 35 deg C or more, Japan's meteorological agency said.

News reports feature frequent reminders to drink plenty of fluids and avoid prolong periods outdoors, in what has become a regular feature of Japan's sticky summer months.