Photo/IllutrationPeople shield themselves from the scorching heat in Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture. (Jun Kaneko)

Sixty-five people died of heatstroke and 22,647 were taken to emergency wards from July 16 through July 22 as the unprecedented heatwave continued to grip Japan, officials said.

Both figures are the highest for one week since such records were first taken in 2008.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the internal affairs ministry announced the preliminary figures on July 24.

In the previous week, from July 9 to July 15, 12 deaths related to the heat were reported. The number of people admitted to hospitals increased by about 12,700 from the previous week.

In the latest week, Aichi and Mie prefectures had the most fatalities, at seven each.

Saitama Prefecture, where the city of Kumagaya on July 23 recorded Japan’s highest-ever temperature of 41.1 degrees, had six deaths over that period. Five people died of heatstroke in both Osaka and Hiroshima prefectures.

By age group, 10,525, or 46 percent of those hospitalized, were 65 years old or older, while 3,953, or 17 percent, were 17 years old or younger.

By location, 9,462, or 42 percent, became sick at their homes, 13 percent fell ill on streets, and 12 percent were overwhelmed by the heat at their workplaces.