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Energy Shortages Grip Japan After Quake

Houses and buildings are seen in an electric stoppage at the area after an earthquake at Toshima ward in Tokyo, Japan March 17, 2022.

The 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck off northeastern Japan last week might not have caused severe damage or a destructive tsunami, but it is wreaking havoc with the country’s already fragile power supply.

The quake shut down six thermal power plants, with some expected to remain offline for weeks, trade minister Koichi Hagiuda, said.

The government has issued urgent calls for energy-saving measures such as turning off neon signs, dimming lights and lowering thermostats, Reuters reported.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) warned of limited power supplies as temperatures fell around the Tokyo area to 2 degrees Celsius.

There have been no blackouts so far, but the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is urging people to lower energy consumption until at least Wednesday.

They also warn blackouts are a possibility.

Japan’s power supply has been shaky since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami severely damaged Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi plant, leading to the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 accident at Chernobyl.

The problems with the Fukushima Daiichi plant led to the suspension of operations at many nuclear plants around the country.

The latest energy squeeze is leading some to call for the restarting of idle nuclear power plants.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.