Japanese government warns of power cuts in Tokyo due to heatwave
TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government warned Monday of potential power shortages in the Tokyo area, asking people to conserve energy as the country experiences an unusually intense heat wave.
Weather officials announced the earliest end to the annual summer rainy season since the Japan Meteorological Agency began keeping records in 1951. The rains typically dampen the summer heat, often well into July.
The Ministry of Economy and Industry has urged residents in the area served by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. to save electricity in the afternoon, especially when demand peaks at 4-5 p.m.
Kaname Ogawa, director of electricity supply policy at the ministry, said electricity demand on Monday was higher than expected as the temperature is higher than forecast on Sunday.
“We are hit with unseasonably hot weather,” Ogawa said. “Please cooperate and save as much energy as possible.”
Ogawa, however, said people should use air conditioning appropriately and take precautions against heatstroke.
TEPCO is expecting contributions from Tohoku Electric Power Co., which serves Japan’s northern prefectures, to help ease the crisis.
The Japanese archipelago experienced record temperatures for June in some areas. In Isezaki, north of Tokyo, the temperature hit 40.2 degrees centigrade (104.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday, the highest on record in June.
According to the Mainichi newspaper, more than 250 people were taken to hospitals in Tokyo over the weekend for treatment.
Electricity supply is relatively tight after Japan idled most of its nuclear reactors following the 2011 meltdowns in Fukushima. It has also shut down old coal-fired power plants to deliver on its promises to cut carbon emissions.
Japan also faces a potential shortage of fossil fuel imports amid sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.