Tokyo Dims Lights, Still Pretty Bright


Tokyoites, like residents of many big cities, are used to bright nights. In the wake of the failure of the Fukushima nuclear plant and power station, Tokyo is trying to save electricity. For example, in subway tunnels, only one of every three ceiling lights is being lit, and the huge, bustling Shinjuku area of downtown Tokyo has many signs left dark. But despite these cuts, one news station shows that even at current levels, Tokyo is just as bright as London. In general, Tokyoites are used to much brighter (and more) lights than Londoners.

Above, you can see a NASA map of Japan and London from space at night. Despite having comparable populations of around 12 million, London and Tokyo look different from space. Tokyo looks brighter, though that could be because of Japan’s overall higher population density. The people in Tokyo interviewed in the video say that they’re okay with things being a little darker than before, and Londoners seem fine with their slightly darker city. So perhaps going forward, Japan could consider reducing its non-essential electricity use. This could be particularly true in the case of hot, humid, Tokyo summers, when overall energy use increases as residents turn to air conditioning and fans to cool down. Some Tokyoites, stuck after the earthquake disrupted train service, have already switched to non-electric forms of transportation like bicycles that would remain unaffected by rolling blackouts.

As a side note, I remain encouraged that the situation in Japan will improve and later this year (with any luck) Tokyoites will have a life that more closely resembles normal. If anything, at least when a Japanese company like Tepco suffers a huge disaster, they cut executive pay rather than give them bonuses for “the best year in safety performance in our company’s history” like Transocean did after the BP spill. 

h/t JapanProbe

 


setsuden nippon by weathersunksprb

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.