Japan Limits Energy Use as Disaster Causes Crunch

Japan began imposing energy restrictions on companies, shopping malls and other major electricity users Friday to cope with power shortages caused by the loss of a tsunami-hit nuclear power plant.Big factories, office buildings, universities and department stores in the Tokyo area must use 15 percent less electricity than a year ago. Electricity is in short supply due to the shutdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant hit by the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami.The restrictions on power use from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays last until Sept. 22, and violators face fines of up to 1 million yen $12,400. The limit does not apply to households, but the government has urged them to conserve energy.

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