Blackouts in Tokyo and 850,000 households without electricity in parts of Japan
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The crisis in Japan remains and many things are constantly unfolding and it must be remembered that Japan is the first nation to be hit by an earthquake, tsunami, and a nuclear crisis at the same time. Therefore, any national government would be stretched to the full and people should remember the situation is delicate but many measures have been taken by the Japanese government.
Tohoku Electric Power Co. commented that you have 850,000 households without electricity despite the weather being near-freezing and of course they are alarmed by the sheer magnitude of the crisis. Meanwhile the government of Japan stated that running water is not available for 1.5 million households and added to the current climate, and electricity crisis, alongside the mounting death total and nuclear issue, then clearly events are stretching the government of Japan.
Despite this, the military is doing sterling work alongside many research and recovery operations and many areas are being cleared in order for them to become accessible. Rice stocks have been released and the government is pumping in trillions of yen into the money markets in order to restore calm amidst so much upheaval.
At the same time weather conditions in the north-east of Japan are hampering the government and rescue workers are being forced to work in adverse conditions. This applies to the near-freezing weather conditions and the shocking aftereffects of the earthquake and tsunami.
Today, March 17th, the government announced possible major blackouts in the Tokyo region and many workers have been leaving early and some companies remain closed until the situation becomes clear. Therefore, the bustling nature of Tokyo is falling relatively silent by the late evening and while the atmosphere remains calm it does feel strange and a little uneasy but not in the sense of panic.
The number of trains will be reduced in order to preserve energy and Tokyo Electric Power Co. is implementing rolling blackouts and in parts of Kanto this will be for the fourth consecutive day. Tokyo Electric Power Co. needs to do this because of the enormous strain being put on the system after the devastating earthquake.
The need for electricity jumped yesterday because of the cold conditions in Tokyo but it must be remembered that the situation in north-east Japan is much more severe. This applies to the terrible loss of life, lack of running water and major electricity problems.
Banri Kaieda, the Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, called on business companies to preserve energy and the same was mentioned towards individuals because at the moment the sense of emergency is not being felt in Tokyo, to the same level of north-east Japan which was directly hit by the earthquake and tsunami.
East Japan Railway Co. alongside Tokyo Metro Co. are complying with the wishes of the government and a reduced service will be put in place after 5pm and this applies to the Tokyo Metropolitan area.
It must be remembered that the government of Japan is faced with a severe and unprecedented situation and this applies to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant crisis. Also, areas like Iwate, Miyagi, and other neighboring prefectures, have bore the brunt of the huge loss of life and the knock on effect is the destruction of the infrastructure in many areas.
Therefore, people in the Tokyo Metropolitan area can count themselves lucky and the Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, announced a huge economic package to the areas which have been badly hit by the crisis.
This sense of national unity is needed and many foreign press agencies are adding to the heightened sense of foreboding but for people on the ground it is about solving the crisis and helping people who have lost so much.