An aerial view of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, taken on March 24 2011.

Tokyo employees start work an hour early to save power

Tokyo’s local government staff started work early today to save power after shortages caused by Japan’s damaged nuclear network.

Many of the staff started work an hour earlier, at 7.30am, allowing them to leave at 4.15pm. By better exploiting the early daylight hours this summer, city officials hope to use less air conditioning and office lighting at night.

“It should be a good thing, and it doesn’t require any cost,” Tokyo’s governor Shintaro Ishihara said. “I think all of Japan should shift to the summer time hours.”

To prevent blackouts in the wake of the March 11 disaster, which knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan’s central government has asked companies and government offices to cut electricity use by 15 per cent. It wants companies to limit air conditioning and set room temperatures at a warm 28C.

Officials are also encouraged to follow a new dress code called “Super Cool Biz” that urges employees to wear lighter clothing instead of the traditional tie and jacket.

Households across Tokyo are advised to use electric fans instead of air conditioners, unplug appliances when not in use, and raise temperature settings on refrigerators.

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