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Doorstep Interview with Minister Seko (excerpted version)

*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purpose only.

18:55 - 19:03
Friday, September 7, 2018
Front Entrance Hall, METI

Opening Remarks

Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt sympathies to everyone in Hokkaido for the loss of power and for the troubles incurred until it is restored.

Since the earthquake struck, in addition to overnight restoration efforts by Hokkaido Electric Power Co. and related parties, we have been making continuous efforts, including utilization of private power generators, in order to secure supply capacity of up to 3.6 million kilowatts by the end of the day tomorrow. Through these efforts, we can see daylight that the electricity supply can be restarted to approximately 2.95 million houses throughout Hokkaido.

On the other hand, however, based on the track record of electricity demand in the prefecture, demand could swing upward on weekdays. And, some of the thermal power stations that have resumed to operate at this time are very aged facilities. Considering that there is a possibility that such thermal power plants may drop out, there is also a risk that large-scale blackouts might occur again due to instability of frequency.

In order to avoid such risks, until power is fully restored, it is essential to conserve about 10 percent of electricity from the beginning of the week compared to normal times. Therefore, I would like to encourage everyone in Hokkaido to cooperate thorough electricity savings so that electricity can securely reach all the people in the prefecture. I would like to ask for your cooperation in this regard. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. will make full efforts to completely restore power supply.

We also need to prepare for unexpected problems, while firmly working on the supply side as well as on the demand side. I would like to prepare for every possible means including carefully preparing for planned blackouts.

However, as I am sincerely hoping to avoid such risks and the required mobilization to meet them, as much as possible, I would like to ask anew all the people in Hokkaido for their maximum cooperation to save electricity.

Specifically, unnecessary lighting should be turned off to the greatest degree possible. Families should try to spend time in the same room to avoid extra use of electricity. Electric appliances that are not in use for a long time should be unplugged. Other electricity utilization not directly related to power restoration, such as neon-lighting advertisement, should be reduced. I would like to ask you to take such actions.

We at the government will do our utmost to further increase electricity supply capacity. In order to overcome this situation, everyone in Hokkaido, including companies, power companies and government should join forces. I would really like to ask for your cooperation and understanding.

Last updated:2018-09-07