The Japanese authorities have warned millions living in the Tokyo region to cut back on energy or risk power outages as the capital faces record temperatures in June following an early end to the rain season.
Temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius (95F) were the forecast for the city all day long, and similar weather was expected for the remaining weeks, as per the Japanese meteorological agency.
“We would like to ask people to limit their energy use during the evening hours, when the reserve ratio decreases,” Yoshihiko Isozaki, the deputy secretary of cabinet, reported reporters.
Isozaki suggested businesses and households switch off the lights when not in use and restrict the use of air conditioners. However, he also advised that people must be aware of heatstroke.
The ministry of economy and industry advised residents of the region served by Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] must conserve energy, mainly when demand is high in the late afternoon or the early evening. According to reports, reserve generation capacity could soon fall to 3.7 per cent in Tokyo and its surrounding regions. Anything less than 3 per cent could cause blackouts and power cuts.
Kaname Ogawa, the director of policy on electricity supply at the ministry, stated that the electricity demand was more significant than anticipated because the temperature was above the forecast for Sunday. “A scorching temperature has struck us for this time of year,” Ogawa said. “Please be patient and help us conserve as much power as feasible.”
A large portion of Japan typically experiences more comfortable temperatures during the middle of the rain season. However, the agency declared that the season was over on the earliest date recorded – within the Kanto region, including Tokyo.
This is the earliest that the rainy season has ended ever since record-keeping began in 1951 and was also 22 days earlier than the norm.
The heat has swept through other country areas over the past few days. The day before, Isesaki, the city of Gunma prefecture, located north of Tokyo has, recorded the country’s most extreme temperature for June at 40.2C.
Over 250 patients were admitted to medical facilities in Japan’s capital city over the weekend following a bout of heatstroke, as reported by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.
“Immediately after the end of the rainy season, the majority of people have not yet fully acclimated to the heat, and therefore are at higher risk of suffering from heatstroke,” the meteorological agency stated in an announcement.
Officials have been urging people to take off their masks while outside to avoid heatstroke, but some were still wearing masks in Tokyo on Monday.
Asako Naruse, exploring the city, told reporters that she had never seen such severe temperatures so early in summer. “I’m originally from Northern Japan, So these temperatures are extreme,” she said.