Japan warned on Monday that power supplies across the country would be hit as the rainy season ended and temperatures began climbing, raising fears of a long hot summer amid high fuel prices.
The Japanese government warned that the power supply in Tokyo will be strained as scorching heat batters the area with record temperatures. Officials called for power conservation, especially in the afternoon.
Surging power prices caused by soaring fuel costs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are making life hard for Japanese consumers less than two weeks before an election for the upper house of parliament.
A power supply shortage in Japan could batter the fortunes of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), already under fire for how it has handled higher consumer prices.
“We encourage people to cut back on energy use to a reasonable degree, such as by turning off lights that aren’t being used, while also using air conditioners during particularly hot hours and exercising caution so as not to get heat stroke,” deputy chief cabinet secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told a news conference.
Power Generation Capacity To Decline
In Tokyo and eight nearby prefectures in eastern Japan, excess generating capacity will drop to as low as 3.7% from about 4:30pm to 5pm on Monday (0730-0800 GMT), according to estimates released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on Sunday. A level of 3% is considered the minimum required for a stable power supply.
As of 11am, temperatures in downtown Tokyo had hit 34.1°C (93.4°F) and those in Kiryu, slightly northeast of the capital, were at 36.3°C.
Japan Meteorological Agency said on Monday the annual rainy season had ended in much of Japan, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, the earliest point since recordkeeping of that data began in 1951.
The end of the rainy season signals the advent of summer heat in Japan.
In 2018, the rainy season ended on June 29, ushering in an extremely hot summer with several heat waves that hospitalized thousands.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara