Saving energy, changing japan
Welcome to the summer of 2011: a darker, hotter Japan.
In what may be the most tangible aspect of post-March 11 “New Japan” for those outside the disaster zone, the all-out effort to cope with the country’s dwindling power supply is not just a buzz word. “Setsuden,” or energy saving, is propelling a new lifestyle reflecting the many tweaks and adjustments being made to deal with the unfamiliar reality of watching what to switch on or off.
Announcements of new power-saving practices are made every day. Changes affecting daily routines like earlier work schedules and reduced public transportation have spun off into new norms like longer vacations, relaxed office fashion, anddaycare concerns. While most of these activities are concentrated in the Tokyo area, they are starting to spread to other parts of the country as nuclear reactors set for an inspection remain offline longer than expected.
Commuters take the stairs beside an escalator, which has been suspended to save electricity, at a rail station in Tokyo in May.
Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan uses a fan as he attends a Diet session in June. Government buildings have reduced the use of air conditioners and turned off lights to save electricity.
Here’s a roundup of some of the latest lifestyle alterations made in the name of “setsuden” that have been reported in the local media.
– Capital subways operator Tokyo Metro will shut off air conditioners at 100 of 137 Tokyo stations during off-peak hours. The measure will be in effect from July 1 through September 22. Aiming to slash its daily use of electricity by 15%, the move comes in addition to an already 20% reduction in regular train services.
- Bank of Japan employees will be asked to come to work an hour earlier from July to September. The central bank’s currency museum will also be shut on weekdays and seminars scheduled for the summer will be postponed.
- McDonald’s Japan employees with...