The government said Wednesday it would expand efforts to restrict energy use to the western Kansai region to cope with lower power generation capacity amid public objections to restarting nuclear reactors.
The government will request a 10% cut on energy consumption for major power consumers, such as factories in the Kansai region surrounding the commercial hub of Osaka, from next Monday through September 22.
However, the energy saving policy for the Kansai will not come with fines for those who do not meet the guidelines, as is the case for restrictions in the Kanto and Tohoku regions.
The step was deemed necessary to avoid the risk of blackouts during peak summer power demand, with only 18 out of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors online amid local objections to their restart after scheduled inspections.
Before March 11 Japan derived around 30% of its energy requirements from nuclear power.
Public anxiety about the use of nuclear power has intensified after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was damaged by the March earthquake and tsunami, triggering the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.© Agence France-Presse