As scorching weather has caused deaths and natural disasters in Japan and South Korea, North Korea has also suffered from high temperatures on consecutive days.

In an attempt to beat the heat, many people in Pyongyang have taken steps such as wearing light-colored short-sleeved dress shirts untucked, shading themselves with brightly colored parasols, cooling off with handy electric fans, and eating ice cream.

(A woman weathers summer heat with a hand-held electric fan in Pyongyang)

While women in Pyongyang are fashion-conscious, men in the country have traditionally practiced a "Cool Biz" campaign, which started more than 10 years ago in Japan to encourage workers to dress casually to help reduce energy use.

The abnormally hot weather "holds long" in North Korea, "affected by the unusually developed northwest Pacific high pressure," the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday.

On Sunday, the temperature rose to 39.7 C in Wonsan City, 39.2 C in Munchon City and 39 C in Chonnae and Anbyon counties of Kangwon Province and Kumya County of South Hamgyong Province, the highest since meteorological observation, KCNA reported.

"It is much hotter than usual," a local person in Pyongyang said, with residents in the city wiping away sweat with a towel and resting in the shade with a small electric fan in one hand.

But some North Korean men are managing to stay cool by wearing short-sleeved cotton dress shirts, which are available in a range of colors at supermarkets and department stores in Pyongyang.

"Since many years ago, men in the DPRK have worked at their office, clad in short-sleeved dress shirts with no ties during the summer season," the local person said, using the acronym of the nation's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In Japan, central government officials are urged to work without their usual ties and jackets in the campaign run annually since 2005. Bureaucrats are allowed to wear polo shirts, sneakers and even Hawaiian aloha shirts in their offices.

Cool Biz has taken root both in the public and private sectors since its launch in Japan.

North Korea has apparently conducted the campaign naturally, given that people in Pyongyang have lived economically, valuing the importance of saving energy, in the face of electric power shortages in the past, another local person says.

The capital of North Korea, meanwhile, has been filled with parasols of all colors. A large number of women in the city are walking on the street holding red, pink, blue, green, beige, black and white parasols.

Many women in Pyongyang are also dressed in knee-length skirts. Unlike in Japan or other Western countries, few women seem to wear pants in summer.

(A woman walks with a parasol and fan in Pyongyang)

In addition, people in Pyongyang are trying to cool down by eating ice cream, 100 percent of which is made in the nation.

Under the U.N. economic sanctions aimed at preventing North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, it has become more difficult for the country to import sugar from other nations. The North does not produce much sugar at home.

A food factory in the capital has used a corn-based sweetener as a replacement for sugar in ice cream to boost domestic production. North Koreans do not like artificial sweetener because it is seen as a cause of cancer, locals say.

Be that as it may, most people in Pyongyang are great eaters of ice cream regardless of the season, even in winter, they say.

This year, a deadly heat wave continues to grip a broad swath of East Asia.

On Monday, the temperature in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, hit 41.1 C, the highest ever in Japan, the country's weather agency said.

More than 22,000 people were taken to hospitals against a backdrop of the heatwave across Japan last week and 65 of them died, both record-high figures since comparable information became available in 2008, preliminary government data showed Tuesday.

In South Korea, the daily high temperature in some regions including the southwestern county of Yeongcheon exceeded 40 C Tuesday. The extremely hot weather has resulted in 14 deaths triggered by heatstroke by Monday, according to the government.

(A man with an untucked short sleeved shirt in Pyongyang)