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Japan ranked worst among 181 nations for climate disaster damage in 2018

TOKYO -- Japan earned the worst spot in a ranking of countries that suffered severe impacts from climate disasters in 2018, with damage ranging from typhoons and torrential rains to heat waves, according to an analysis report released by a German think tank on Dec. 4.

The list of rankings weighed the effects from weather-related disasters that are generally attributed to global warming, such as typhoons, floods, downpours and hot and cold spells, in 181 countries based on casualties and the amount of financial losses directly linked to the disasters. The list was announced by Germanwatch in conjunction with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) currently underway in Madrid.

Japan, which had ranked in 36th place in 2017, plunged to the bottom in 2018 mostly due to the torrential rain disaster that battered mainly western Japan in July that year. Other factors included Typhoon Jebi that also ripped through the western parts of the country in September, as well as record-breaking heat waves from mid-July through late August. The mercury soared to 41.4 degrees Celsius in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 23, 2018 -- an all-time record high in Japan. The yearly amount of financial losses from those disasters totaled approximately 3.9 trillion yen (about $35.84 billion).

A representative of the think tank pointed out that global warming has been increasingly bringing serious damage to not only developing countries but also advanced nations like Japan.

Japan was followed by the Philippines, Germany, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Rwanda, Canada and Fiji in the top 10 of the rankings for 2018.

(Japanese original by Ai Oba, Science & Environment News Department)

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