The Japanese government has warned millions of people in the Tokyo area to save energy or face blackouts as the capital grapples with record-breaking June temperatures after a premature end to the rainy season.
Temperatures of 35C (95F) were forecast in the city throughout the day, with similarly extreme weather expected for the rest of the week, according to Japan’s weather agency.
“We urge the public to reduce energy use in the early evening hours when the reserve ratio falls,” Yoshihiko Isozaki, the deputy chief of cabinet, told reporters.
Isozaki advised homes and businesses to turn off lights they aren’t using and limit their use of air conditioning, although he added that people should protect themselves from heat stroke.
The Ministry of Economy and Industry said people living in the area will be powered by Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] designed to conserve energy, particularly during late afternoon and early evening peak demand. According to reports, reserve generation capacity in Tokyo and the surrounding region was threatened to drop as much as 3.7% at the time; below 3% there is a risk of blackouts and blackouts.
Kaname Ogawa, director of power policy at the ministry, said power demand is higher than expected as the temperature exceeded Sunday’s forecast. “We’re being hit with unusual heat for this season,” Ogawa said. “Please cooperate and save as much electricity as possible.”
Much of Japan would normally experience less uncomfortable temperatures in the middle of the rainy season. But on Monday, the agency said the season had ended in the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo — the earliest date on record.
It was the earliest end of the season since records began in 1951, and 22 days earlier than usual.
The heat has also reached other parts of the country in the past few days. On Sunday, the city of Isesaki in Gunma Prefecture north of Tokyo recorded the country’s highest June temperature of 40.2C.
More than 250 people were rushed to hospitals in the capital over the weekend after suffering heat stroke, according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.
“Immediately after the end of the rainy season, many people have yet to fully acclimate to the heat and are at higher risk of heat stroke,” the weather agency said in a statement.
Officials have encouraged people to remove their masks outdoors to avoid heat stroke, although many were still wearing face coverings in Tokyo on Monday.
Asako Naruse, who was out and about in the city, said she had never experienced such brutal heat so early in the summer. “I’m from northern Japan, so these temperatures seem really extreme,” she said.