Tokyo has warned of an electricity crisis as Japan suffers a heatwave

People, some holding umbrellas, walk through an intersection amid the heat, in Tokyo, Monday, June 27, 2022. The <a class=Japanese government issued a warning on Monday of a possible electricity crisis in the Tokyo area, asking people offices and residents to save energy as the capital region is hit by sweltering heat, with weather officials announcing the earliest end to the rainy season in decades. (Yusuke Ogata/Kyodo News via AP)” title=”People, some holding umbrellas, walk through an intersection amid the heat, in Tokyo, Monday, June 27, 2022. The Japanese government issued a warning on Monday of a possible electricity crisis in the Tokyo area, asking people offices and residents to save energy as the capital region is hit by sweltering heat, with weather officials announcing the earliest end to the rainy season in decades. (Yusuke Ogata/Kyodo News via AP)” loading=”lazy”/>

People, some holding umbrellas, walk through an intersection amid the heat, in Tokyo, Monday, June 27, 2022. The Japanese government issued a warning on Monday of a possible electricity crisis in the Tokyo area, asking people offices and residents to save energy as the capital region is hit by sweltering heat, with weather officials announcing the earliest end to the rainy season in decades. (Yusuke Ogata/Kyodo News via AP)

PA

Tokyo residents are sweating as the government warns of possible power shortages and urges greater efforts to save energy as Japan endures abnormally hot temperatures.

Meteorological 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 sweltering temperatures would be considered mild compared to some countries in South and Southeast Asia. But they add to concerns about power shortages over the summer. Some coal-fired power plants serving the region were taken out of service for repairs after a strong earthquake in mid-March. The government warned of potential problems in late March, although no real blackouts occurred.

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 exceeded Sunday’s forecast. A similar warning was issued for Tuesday.

“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.

Heatstroke is a big concern because many older Japanese people tend to avoid using air conditioning, partly out of habit and partly to avoid large electricity bills. Older Japanese houses also tend to lack insulation and are stuffy in the summer and very cold in the winter.

TEPCO said it was 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. The temperature in downtown Tokyo rose to nearly 35°C (95°F) on Monday, higher than Sunday’s forecast of 34°C (93°F).

With humidity around 44%, temperatures felt even warmer.

With warm air coming from a powerful high atmospheric pressure system locked over the Pacific Ocean, high temperatures were expected through early July, the weather agency said.

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. Japan. It has also shut down old coal-fired power plants to deliver on its promises to cut carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government has pushed to restart more nuclear reactors that have met improved safety standards.

Japan also faces a potential shortage of fossil fuel imports amid sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

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