The Japanese car makers have agreed to switch the days when their plants will be closed from the weekend to Thursday and Friday over the summer months of July through September in a bid to try to reduce power needs on these two week days when power demand is particularly high.
The manufacturers are responding to Japanese government requests for a reduction in power usage of 15% during the summer months to stave off electricity shortages. The car makers become the first of Japan’s manufacturing associations to take this step, and they have called on other industries to follow suit. Although, of course, if the other industries also shifted their days off to the same days of the week, then presumably the whole exercise will have been pointless.
Although this is a response to potential power shortages caused by the effects of the March 11th earthquake, it raises the question of whether this kind of staggering of days off across different industries would allow for a smoother electricity demand curve, thus making power generation potentially more efficient and therefore worth implementing in the long term also.
On the flip side, there are questions as to the social effects of the long-term implementation of this kind of policy, where parents and children suddenly find that they have no time off that coincides.
(ANN News video below is in Japanese)
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