Each year at the beginning of summer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical holds a collaborative lecture titled “This Summer's Climate and Heat Disorders,” designed to promote understanding of this issue among weather forecasters, media personalities, and other opinion leaders who inform the public at large.
“This Summer's Climate and Heat Disorders” Lecture Series
This annual seminar, held for the benefit of weather forecasters, media personalities, and other opinion leaders whose job it is to inform the public at large, provides the latest information on heat disorders prevention.
The purpose of these seminars is to promote a wider understanding within society of prevention methods, by providing weather forecasters with the basic information necessary to hold their own study groups at local government agencies and organizations.
The severe heat waves of the previous year prompted a large number of requests for the Otsuka Pharmaceutical seminar in fiscal 2011. In response, the company held 18 seminars in locations nationwide in fiscal 2011 and 21 seminars in fiscal 2012.
Joint Heat Disorders Prevention website launched with the Weather Caster Network
In fiscal 2012, as part of its educational activities on heat disorders prevention, Otsuka Pharmaceutical participated in a joint project with the non-profit organization the Weather Caster Network to create and launch the Heat Disorders Prevention website (in Japanese).
Visitors to the site can access forecast temperatures for the whole of Japan, as well as the estimated WBGT value,*1 an index that projects the risk of heat disorders by incorporating temperature, humidity, and radiant heat. Access to an index that more closely reflects the temperature that people actually feel (the “real-feel” temperature) allows users to more accurately recognize the heat index and the degree of the risk of heat disorders.
Both the smartphone and PC sites provide the WBGT value for the user's current location, or anywhere else in Japan. A summary of weather conditions and meteorological monitoring (AMeDAS*2 ) data are also posted on the site, giving users a view of which areas pose the highest risk of suffering heat disorders.
1WBGT value: Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature. A temperature index that integrates temperature, humidity, and radiant heat; useful in preventing heat disorders during sports activities and manual labor. A value of 28 or more suggests “severe caution,” while a value of 31 or more indicates a recommendation for “minimal physical activity.”
2AMeDAS: Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System. A monitoring system operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency with a total of 1,300 locations across Japan, 900 of which are used to gauge the temperature.
With a smartphone, users can make use of the GPS function for easy access to the heat disorders risk index for his or her current location.
The site is frequently updated with the latest comments on weather conditions and real-time meteorological monitoring data.
As part of its educational activities to prevent heat disorders, the Otsuka Pharmaceutical website provides a direct link to the Heat Disorders Prevention website, as well.
From autumn to spring the site provides information on the dry index
QR code for smartphones
General Manager, Safety Management Section,
Environment and Safety Division, East Japan Branch,
The construction industry has been grappling with measures to prevent heat disorders in the summertime. To support these efforts, Otsuka Pharmaceutical's website provides clear information on preventing heat disorders and emergency treatment if they occur, as well as providing data on maximum temperatures and the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index. Since all of this information can be accessed in real time at construction sites, we make use of it on a regular basis. The website is very useful for Okumura Corporation and its business partners in carrying out safety management procedures during onsite construction work. Furthermore, we sometimes host speakers from Otsuka Pharmaceutical who give seminars on preventing heat disorders at each of our business sites. We are making a proactive effort to eliminate cases of heat disorders, and these seminars are proving to be highly effective.
Director, Weather Caster Network
(a non-profit organization)
Over the past two or three years, we've seen more weather forecasters warn people of the importance of drinking enough water with an appropriate salt concentration during the hot summer months. I think this is partly the result of Otsuka Pharmaceutical's long-term programs to raise awareness of how to prevent heat disorders. These efforts have included educational seminars held with the Weather Caster Network. Unfortunately, however, record-breaking heat waves keep occurring due to the effects of global warming and urbanization. For the past three years, a total of forty to fifty thousand people annually have been taken to hospitals by ambulance for heat disorders, and in 2010, more than 1,700 people lost their lives—more than in any other year. People can prevent heat disorders from happening if they are aware of precautionary methods, and they can save lives if they perform the necessary emergency procedures. Therefore, accurate information must be widely disseminated. Heat disorders not only happen under the hot sun—many cases occur in unexpected places, including indoors, when perspiration does not easily evaporate because humidity is high. To be aware of the risk level of heat disorders in such environments, it is necessary to make use of the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index, which not only takes into account temperature levels but also humidity.
The Weather Caster Network has been responsible for organizing prevention seminars for heat disorders since 2011. From 2012, in collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical, it set up the Heat Disorders Prevention website (In Japanese), which utilizes the WBGT index. We aim to spread accurate information about heat disorders and provide advice on how to prevent it so that eventually the number of cases of people suffering from this ailment reaches zero.
Heat Disorders Prevention TV Forum・Live On Seminar
In 2012, Otsuka Pharmaceutical held the 1st Heat Disorders Prevention TV Forum that aired over the corporate satellite channel, featuring seminars aimed at industrial physicians across Japan together with public health nurses, clinical nurses, nutritionists, and occupational safety and health personnel working at business locations.
In 2013, the company broadcast the webinars online to increase the reach of the forum beyond Otsuka Pharmaceutical business locations. The seminars again featured an interactive component through Q&A sessions and were broadcast to 120 locations and 911 persons across Japan encompassing Otsuka Pharmaceutical offices, offices of other companies, and public meeting areas.
The program opened with a keynote presentation by Professor Seichi Horie of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan. He was followed Dr. Aoyama (industrial physician of Toyota Motor Corporation) and Dr. Nagano (industrial physician of Tsukuba Plant, Kubota Corporation), who described cases of heat disorders in production floors that they had personally attended to, as well as talking in detail about the latest findings about heat disorders prevention and strategies. The program ended with an active Q&A session, where the doctors fielded questions from different locations.