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Japan considering daylight saving time as a means of conserving energy

Japan has resisted daylight saving time for nearly 60 years, but Japanese industry minister Banri Kaieda says changing the clocks might help avoid major blackouts in the summer.

March 25, 2011|By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
  • The lights are off and the streets are largely deserted in the normally bustling Ginza district of Tokyo.
The lights are off and the streets are largely deserted in the normally bustling… (EPA/AFLO/Yusuke Nakanishi )

Japanese officials are considering introducing daylight saving time to help cope with severe power shortages that likely will last for months.

Japan has resisted daylight saving time for nearly 60 years, dumping the practice after the U.S. occupation ended. While Japanese politicians have attempted to bring back daylight saving time in recent years, skeptics have feared it would just keep workers in their offices longer.

But according to Kyodo News agency, Japanese industry minister Banri Kaieda said bringing back daylight saving time may help avoid major blackouts in the summer, when energy consumption peaks because of scorching temperatures.

Kaieda also suggested other policy changes that could bring discomfort to people, according to Kyodo. He suggested raising electricity charges on households and extending workers' summer vacations -- a practice that could be difficult for a society known for a strong work ethic.

ron.lin@latimes.com

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