Tokyo and surrounding prefectures brace for intense heat

Officials in Japan are calling on people in Tokyo and four prefectures near the capital to brace for intense heat as the mercury continues to rise along with the risk of heatstroke.

The Japan Meteorological Agency and the Environment Ministry on Thursday announced a heatstroke alert for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba and Ibaraki, as well as for other prefectures.

Officials are calling on people to check an index that indicates the heat stress a person feels in direct sunlight. The index is called the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature, or WBGT, and is provided by the Environment Ministry.

They are also urging the public -- especially children and the elderly -- to take precautions against heatstroke.