Japanese government asks Tokyo households and businesses to reduce power consumption during summer months
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Japanese government asks Tokyo households and businesses to reduce power consumption during summer months

By Molly Kaiser for The J-Pop Exchange

With summer in full swing, the Japanese government has sent an advisory for residents and businesses in Tokyo to conserve energy to avoid power outages this season.

Last summer, a similar preventative request was put out on June 7 for multiple regions – the first since 2015. Record-breaking temps in June pushed the power system to its limits.

However, this summer, the advisory is only for Tokyo, Japan’s largest city, with more than 8 million residents. The supply of natural gas continues to be strained as a result of issues caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Reuters, power reserve ratios under 3% risk shortages and blackouts. In the event of a record-breaking heat wave, the predicted ratio for Tokyo in July is 3.1% and 4.8% for August. Surrounding areas have a predicted ratio of more than 5%.

The government is recommending that residents turn off the lights when they are not in use and keep air conditioners at a mild temperature (28 degrees Celsius). Other ways to save energy include replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, shutting off appliances and unplugging electric toilets.

The advisory specifically applies to constituents who receive power from the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), the country’s largest energy provider. Changing TEPCO’s infrastructure is key in the country’s overall goals to shift toward more clean energy and achieve their carbon dioxide reduction goals. The company is planning to spend 1 trillion yen ($7 billion) on renewable energy projects by 2030.

The advisories are reminiscent of Japan’s 2011 setsuden movement, which means power conservation in Japanese. The movement encouraged saving electricity during the summer months and a societal shift toward more sustainable energy consumption.

The Huffington Post described the time period as the following:

“From convincing staid Japanese businessmen to stop wearing suits and turning down the office air conditioning to closing the energy-sucking visitors gallery of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Japanese government is asking for 15- to 20-percent power cuts from the board rooms of the country's powerful corporate sector. And it is asking no less in power savings from the Japanese in their homes.”

Similarly in the background of these advisories is the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, in which Japan was a leading signatory. The agreement set specific standards to decrease greenhouse gas emissions among developed nations. Although the Paris Agreement has since replaced this legislation, its inception marked Japan as a leader in global energy conservation advocacy.


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