TOKYO, July 1 (Kyodo) — A government-requested three-month period of electricity saving began Monday in large parts of Japan ahead of the high demand season, the fifth of its kind since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis left most of the nation's nuclear reactors offline.
For the first time, however, the government refrained from setting numerical power-saving targets in all areas of Japan served by utilities with nuclear plants as companies and households have become accustomed to conserving electricity even in hot and cold seasons, leaving utilities with extra supply capacity in case of unexpected surges in demand.
The power-saving request through the end of September, due to an expected rise in power usage for air conditioning, was made to areas served by nine utilities, excluding Okinawa Electric Power Co. which does not own a nuclear power plant.
Power conservation efforts are sought from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, excluding the period Aug. 13-15 during Japan's Bon holiday.
"We would like to ask citizens and industries to voluntarily cooperate in saving electricity," Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference on Friday.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, temperatures are expected to be higher than usual across Japan in July and August. In September, it is expected to remain hot in eastern Japan, the agency said.