IMAGE: TOKYO BUSINESSMAN
Koji Sasahara  /  AP
A Tokyo businessman waits at a crossing Thursday.
updated 8/16/2007 12:52:28 PM ET 2007-08-16T16:52:28

Japan sizzled through its hottest day on record Thursday as a heat wave claimed at least 13 lives and threatened power supplies strained by a recent earthquake, authorities and media reports said.

The mercury hit 105.6 degrees in the western city of Tajimi and the central city of Kumagaya, breaking a previous national record of 105.4 degrees set in 1933, the Meteorological Agency said.

In the Hachioji region of Tokyo, temperatures reached 101.7 degrees, breaking the previous record of 101.3 degrees for August.

The average high temperature in central Tokyo for the month of August is 87.4 degrees.

Ten people died Thursday due to the heat, most of them elderly, public broadcaster NHK said.

A 13-year-old boy who collapsed in Tokyo after basketball practice two days ago was also among Thursday’s dead, NHK said, adding that nearly 900 people were hospitalized across the nation. At least three people died from heatstroke Wednesday, Kyodo News agency said.

Tokyo Electrical Power Co. warned of a power shortage as people turned up air conditioners.

The company has been firing up old thermal power stations and buying electricity from rivals after a strong earthquake in mid-July ravaged its largest nuclear power reactor, reducing its electricity output by more than 10 percent.

Across the country, vacationers sought refuge indoors at the height of the summer holidays.

Rail tracks were bent out of shape in the sun, and authorities struggled to deal with fire alarms set off by rising temperatures, according to news reports.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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