NE Japan Earthquake Day 113: Production Halted at All Japanese Automobile Companies, Osaka Governor Hashimoto Opposes Corporate Rationing, Kansai Governments Voluntarily Ration

Toyota Headquarters Empty July 1
The conspicuously empty parking lot of Toyota Motor Company Headquarters on Thursday, July 1, a substitute holiday. Photo by Haruka Takahashi on a Yomiuri Shimbun helicopter.

Production Halted at All Japanese Automobile Companies
Yomiuri Shimbun: 自動車各社が一斉休業…トヨタ工場周辺閑散
July 1, 2011

In an effort to disperse national electricity usage throughout the week, on Thursday, July 1 all Japanese car companies, from Toyota on down, called a “substitute holiday” and were dormant for the entire day.

In July, August, and September, employees of these companies will take Thursday and Friday off and work on Saturday and Sunday.

All 12 manufacturing plants at the home of Toyota’s headquarters, Toyoda city, Aichi prefecture, and about 300,000 Toyota employees around the country took the day off. Chronic rush hour problems in the Mikawa region of Aichi, where Toyota and other motor companies are concentrated, were alleviated. Department stores in Nagoya and Toyoda enjoyed extra business from customers taking “weekday vacations”.

Osaka Governor Hashimoto Sends Anti-Rationing Email to 2000 Businesses
Yomiuri Shimbun: 橋下知事、2000社に反節電メール
July 1, 2011

On the 1st, Osaka Governor Tōru Hashimoto told the press that “because we’re trying to control electricity usage at peak hours by limiting air conditioning in homes and offices, we don’t need to levy excessive rationing on corporations and small- to mid-sized businesses,” repeating the business world’s anti-rationing stance.

On the same day, Prefectural Hall sent an email to about 2000 Osaka businesses, both large and small, saying “We will not ask you to ration electricity in a manner that negatively affects your business.” It was labeled “a message from Governor Hashimoto” and is currently displayed on the prefecture’s home page.

Electricity Rationing PosterA poster announcing the suspension of elevator service in order to save electricity. Osaka City Hall, June 30. Photo by Atsushi Ozaki.

Will Kansai City Halls’ Electricity Rationing Make a Difference? In Truth, They Don’t Buy from Corporation Requesting Cuts
Yomiuri Shimbun: 庁舎節電、効果ない?…実は関電から買ってない
July 1, 2011

Kansai Power’s request for “15% electricity savings” led Kansai regional governments to begin implementing rationing measures on the 1st. All local governments are trying to contribute, but the city halls of Osaka, Nara, and 4 other major cities do not buy their power from Kansai Power anyway, so their rationing will not directly aid the company.

Osaka Governor Tōru Hashimoto’s proposed “AC suspension strategy” is not expected to contribute, either. City halls stress that they’re wrestling with the problem in order to “do everything possible to enlighten the public,” but staff members are already complaining that “if you think it won’t make a difference, there’s no point in doing it.”

When the electricity industry was deregulated in 2000, electricity providers outside the big corporations were allowed to participate in the market. Since then, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Sakai’s city halls have signed contracts with a small business called the Ennet Corporation (based in Tokyo) whose investors are companies like Osaka Gas.

Kansai Public Service Electricity Rationing Plans
Government Office, Electricity Provider, Plan
Shiga Prefecture, Kansai Power: Leave all hallway lights switched off.
Kyoto Prefecture, Kansai Power: Restrict air conditioning
Kyoto City, Ennet: Ration light usage
Osaka Prefecture, Ennet: Halt air conditioning
Osaka City, Ennet: Ration light usage
Sakai City: Ennet: Use heat sealers
Hyogo Prefecture, Kansai Power: Daylight Saving Time (move beginning and ending of work day one hour earlier)
Kobe City, Ennet: Decrease air conditioning usage
Nara Prefecture, Ennet: Ration light usage
Wakayama Prefecture, Kansai Power: No overtime allowed in August

The electricity providers for all regional government offices except Wakayama’s were decided by a competitive bidding process.





(2011年7月1日11時52分 読売新聞)



(2011年7月1日15時09分 読売新聞)





(2011年7月1日16時13分 読売新聞)

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