Japanese officials categorized the country's historic heatwave as a natural disaster and on Tuesday warned citizens against staying inside and avoiding life-threatening 104 degree temperatures in some areas.

At least 65 people have died in the blistering heat since the beginning of July, but the actual figure is considered much higher.

"AccuWeather estimates that the death toll from the heatwave in Japan is likely to be in the hundreds, despite the official toll, and we expect the number to rise in the thousands before the heat wave ends," said Joel N. Myers president and founder.

More than 22,000 people were hospitalized for heat stroke symptoms, Japanese officials said. In Kumagaya city, temperatures rose to 106 degrees on Monday, the highest temperature ever recorded in the country, and nearly 12 degrees hotter than the average July temperatures. In Tokyo, the sizzling heat reached 104 degrees.

Temperatures dropped slightly on Tuesday in Tokyo and reached 91 degrees in the afternoon.

"We are seeing unprecedented heat in some areas," Motoaki Takekawa Weather Agency spokesman said, according to the BBC.

Officials are particularly worried about children because less than half of Japan's public schools are air-conditioned. The school's summer break could be extended to protect children from overheated conditions, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said in a news briefing on Tuesday.

"As a record heat wave flooded the country, urgent action is needed to protect the lives of schoolchildren," he said.

The organizers had to cancel the Hanagasa Junku parade in Kyoto, which is famous for its large floral wagons. Over 300 children and the elderly should attend. The parade is part of the larger Gion Festival, which has already lost 55,000 fewer visitors than in the previous year, reported Japan Forward.

The Japan Meteorological Agency predicts that temperatures will continue to be 95 degrees and higher by August to allow individuals to drink plenty of water, avoid direct sunlight, and use air conditioning.

Heat can lead to spikes in diseases such as asthma and heart failure, Myers said. He added that injuries and deaths in car accidents also increase when people face "reduced ability to concentrate" and a lack of sleep.

Almost half of those who come to hospitals with heat stroke are elderly people. According to AccuWeather, older populations are more susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion.

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