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What's going on in Japan? (No.27)

'Cool biz' campaign puts a fire under Father's Day sales. A government order to restrict electricity usage appeared to work on its first day of implementation. Because of expected electricity shortages this summer, the central government issued the order effective July 1 to large-volume users of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. to reduce electricity usage by 15 percent. Large-volume users are defined as those offices and factories contracted for at least 500 kilowatts. While the government has also asked households and small-volume users to conserve electricity usage as much as 15 percent, that request was not legally binding. Peak usage in the TEPCO area came between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. when 41.7 million kilowatts were used. That was 15 percent less than on July 2, 2010, which was also a Friday. The lower usage this year came even though the high temperature in Tokyo was 33.9 degrees, about three degrees higher than July 2, 2010.

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