CHIBA -- Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo saw record high average temperatures for the month of January including in the cities of Chiba and Tateyama, which has bumped up water temperatures in an area that will host this year's Olympic surfing events.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the average temperature for the city of Chiba in January reached 7.7 degrees Celsius, matching 1989 for the highest average temperature since records started in 1967.
Over the 31 days of the month, there were only three days in which the average temperature dipped below 5.7 C, the average for a normal year. The average low also stood at 4.5 C, topping the 1.9 C of a usual year. This was the warmest the figure has ever been for the month, according to available records.
At Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in the Chiba Prefecture town of Ichinomiya, which will host surfing during the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the water temperature has also apparently been rising as a result of the warm weather.
On Jan. 30, when surfing conditions were good thanks to swells following the passage of a low-pressure system, the area was crowded with surfers.
"The water temperature is high, and this is the first time that I've been able to get into the sea without booties, gloves and a hood," said a surprised local 44-year-old surfer.
(Japanese original by Mamoru Kanazawa, Mobara Local Bureau)