TOKYO -- Japanese automakers and suppliers have collectively agreed to work on weekends and rest instead on Thursdays and Fridays during the peak power consumption months in the summer, an industry group said today.
The extraordinary measure would be taken for three months from the first week of July to September at factories nationwide to ease the burden on the power grid on weekdays, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.
As requested by the government, the industry will target a 15 percent reduction in electricity use during the summer, JAMA Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga told a news conference.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan knocked out 8 percent of the nation's generating capacity. Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are working to restore full operations after the disaster led to a 57 percent slump in March vehicle production.
Chubu Electric Power Co., which supplies electricity to Toyota factories in Aichi prefecture, decided earlier this month to shut a nuclear plant in Shizuoka prefecture west of Tokyo.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan requested the shutdown until the plant’s tsunami defenses are improved, citing a government study that showed an 87 percent likelihood of an 8-magnitude quake striking the area within 30 years.
Chubu Electric serves central Japan, including Aichi, where Toyota operates 12 car and component factories.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.