Japan: We Don't Have Enough Electricity, So Everyone Dress Warmer!

After last spring's radiation crisis knocked out a heap of Japan's nuclear reactors—which provide 30% of the country's power—it's been struggling to keep the lights on. Last summer, citizens were told to dress down. This winter? Bundle up.

With Reuters reporting electrical shortfalls of up to 2,530 megawatts in places this coming winter, heat won't be as plentiful as it was last year—and if the Japanese don't kick their hot habits, the country will face rolling blackouts.

So what's the fix? The "Warm Biz" campaign, boosted by a "cartoon ninja," AFP reports, exhorting people to wear scarves, sleep with towels around their necks, and warm themselves from the steam of a kettle in order to keep the thermostat down. Is this a good idea in general? Sure—avoiding expensive heating is ecologically wise even when your country isn't stomping through the wake of a nuclear disaster. But the impetus here isn't conservation. Japan's never been shy about showering itself with electricity like Scrooge McDuck and gold coins. Thermal austerity measures like these show just how desperate the situation is—if they government can't come up with a permanent fix (likely very expensive imported fossil fuels), these lifestyle campaigns will become a permanent fixture of Japanese society. [AFP and Reuters]

Photo: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty