Tokyo [Japan], July 1 (ANI/Xinhua): The Japanese government for the first time in seven years requested Friday that businesses and households begin a three-month period of conserving electricity to avoid a power crunch as temperatures have hit record highs during a scorching heatwave.
The government did not specify an exact target for a reduction in power use through September, but urged people to lower power consumption levels without causing disruption to firms' operations or the daily lives of citizens.
The government said that between 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. local time, when solar power generation declines, it would be particularly important for people to take energy-conserving measures to avoid a power crunch
Temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius at a record six locations across Japan, according to local media, and hit 37.0 degrees Celsius in Tokyo on Friday, breaking the country's "extreme heat" line of 35 degrees Celcius for the seventh straight day.
As a result of the unusually hot temperatures for this time of year, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) urged people to continue using air conditioners amid concerns over heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses.
METI said rather than switching off air conditioners, other power conserving measures could be taken such as switching off lights and unnecessary electrical appliances.
Japan's weather agency issued a heatstroke alert Friday for wide swathes of the nation spanning the Kanto-Koshin to Kyushu regions, as hospitals have seen a spike in heatstroke cases.
With the scorching heat set to continue, Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara also urged the public to remove face masks when outdoors to help prevent heatstroke.
"We are asking the public to take off the masks except for when talking at a short distance," Kihara told a press briefing on the matter. (ANI/Xinhua)