Japan asks residents, businesses to curb energy consumption
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Japanese government on Friday asked the country to reduce energy consumption this summer as the nation’s nuclear power plants remain offline in the aftermath of last year’s nuclear meltdown.
The blanket request, excluding the southwest island of Okinawa, spans from July 2 to Sept. 28 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Households and businesses in Kyushu, which serves Sasebo Naval Base, were specifically asked to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent from last year’s usage rate. And in the Kansai area, where the shortage is expected to be the most serious, users are requested to cut consumption rates by 15 percent.
The power companies are expected to further request that heavy electricity users, including the U.S. military, adopt widespread energy-reduction initiatives like they did in the summer of 2011, a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. told Stars and Stripes on Friday.
TEPCO operates the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was crippled by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a disaster that sparked the current energy crunch and ongoing nuclear crisis.
The U.S. military operates 85 installations throughout Japan, several of which house thousands of Americans military personnel and their dependents.
Last year, bases instituted energy-savings programs from mid-June until October in a successful effort to avert blackouts by cutting peak power consumption by 15 percent or more.
The need to limit electricity use on bases this summer will depend on temperatures and the availability of non-nuclear fuels such as coal, oil and gas for Japanese power plants, Yokota Air Base officials told Stars and Stripes in April.