Lights Out, Tokyo—It's Going to Be a Hot One

Government asks 37M residents to use less electricity to avoid power outages amid heat wave
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2022 6:23 AM CDT
Updated Jun 27, 2022 7:07 AM CDT
Lights Out, Tokyo—It's Going to Be a Hot One
Tokyo and surrounding areas are preparing for sweltering weather.   (Getty Images/show999)

(Newser) – Temps in Japan usually hover below 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the month of June, but a heat wave that's descended upon Tokyo and surrounding areas has led the government to plead with 37 million residents to switch off their lights to avoid power outages. The BBC reports that the "lights out" initiative is happening from 3pm to 6pm local time on Monday, when people are expected to turn off any lights they don't need, though they're advised to keep the AC running if they have to so they don't get overheated.

"We are struck by unusual heat for the season," says an official from the nation's economy and industry ministry, per the Guardian. "Please cooperate and save as much power as possible." The move comes amid a scorcher that has seen the temperature climb above 95 degrees—even up to nearly 105 degrees in Isesaki, north of Tokyo, which was a June record in Japan. It's been so hot that officials are even encouraging people to remove COVID face masks when outdoors. The Mainichi newspaper reports that more than 250 people were hospitalized over the weekend for heatstroke in the capital city, per the AP.

The country has been experiencing a power squeeze ever since a March earthquake in the northeast shuttered multiple nuclear power plants. Exacerbating it all is that some fossil fuel plants have also been closed to slash carbon emissions, as well as the fact that Japan's rainy season, which typically helps keep temperatures at a more comfortable level, ended early this year. The Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, says it's hoping help from another electrical supplier up north will help ease things. (The same mandate recently went down Down Under.)

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