Japanese asked to save power as country’s east sizzles

Reuters -- Jul 01
The highest temperatures in at least 147 years have scorched much of eastern Japan for a week as of Friday, with the government asking citizens to cut power use as much as possible, while still running air conditioners to stay safe.

The region around Tokyo was set for its seventh straight day of temperatures above 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and faced a hot weekend as well, and the western city of Nagoya was predicted to hit a sizzling 40C. Slightly cooler temperatures and possibly rain could bring relief on Monday.

Authorities issued no warning of a possible power crunch for the first time this week, although energy supplies will remain tight amid rising energy prices, adding fervour to calls within the government to restart more nuclear reactors that have been offline since the Fukushima disaster of March 2011.

The government warned dangerous conditions would persist, again encouraging people to relax the use of masks outdoors, a message slow to take root in Japan, where mask-wearing was popular even before the pandemic.

The heat came with an early end to the rainy season, which in some parts of Japan lasted barely two weeks, leaving dams partly empty and some areas calling for water conservation.

A tropical storm may brush Japan next week, finally bringing rain and slightly cooler temperatures. ...continue reading

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