Lights dimmed throughout Japan on Wednesday (16 January) as the Government began a new oil and electricity conservation programme--with heavy industry the main victim.
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Background: Lights dimmed throughout Japan on Wednesday (16 January) as the Government began a new oil and electricity conservation programme--with heavy industry the main victim.
The Government cut power supplies to major industrial users by ten per cent in November when the Arab oil cutbacks began to bite. Supplies were reduced a further five per cent on Wednesday by a mandatory order affecting about 13,000 large plants and offices throughout Japan.
Schools, hospitals and essential public services are not affected by the new regulations. But public transport, chemical and food industries, agriculture and fishing, and data processing have suffered a five per cent cut; and the media and banking are under a ten per cent power reduction.
Petrol stations have been ordered to close on Sundays and national holidays, and weekend driving is being discouraged--although there are no plans at present for petrol rationing.
Oil has been flowing into Japan in increasing quantities since it was declared a "friendly country" by the Arab nations in December. Many economic experts in Japan have said the latest power cutbacks are unnecessary, and have interpreted the Government move as an attempt to conserve foreign currency to pay for more expensive oil imports. One report suggests the Japanese may have to pay 14,000 million U.S. dollars (6,400 million pounds sterling) for oil imports in 1974.
The latest power restrictions will remain in force until the end of February, when they will be reviewed.