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Japan region to cut power use with siestas
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) June 16, 2011

As Japan looks to save electricity this summer amid its ongoing nuclear crisis, one regional government has come up with a novel solution not usually found in workplaces here -- siestas.

The government of central Gifu prefecture is urging its staff to go home for a nap between 1:00 and 3:00 pm to cut down on air conditioning and other power usage during the sweltering summer months of July to September.

"The siesta holiday, named after the afternoon break in Spain, is one of the ideas that came up as we were discussing how to slash electricity consumption amid tight supply," prefectural official Hiroshi Ichihara told AFP.

"Power consumption will go down if there are fewer people in the office," Ichihara said, adding that the government is aiming for a power cut of 20 percent during the 1:00-3:00 pm time slot, and of 11 percent for the year as a whole.

Gifu, like other areas of Japan, has struggled with a tight power supply since the March 11 quake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant on the coast northeast of Tokyo and led to other reactor shutdowns.

The civil servants of Gifu may be cheering the chance for a mid-day snooze, but there is a catch, according to the official -- their daytime nap hours will be deducted from their annual holiday entitlements.

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