Japan's Emperor and Empress turned off the lights and heat for voluntary palace power outages in support of citizens experiencing rolling blackouts. The Emperor and Empress also visited evacuees in Tokyo.
Scheduled power outages have been occurring in the Tokyo metropolitan area – excluding the 23 special wards of Tokyo – since the March 11 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.
Lights out in palace
Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko voluntarily turned off the lights and observed power outages at their Imperial Palace residence in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. They took these measures in order to share the burden of going without electricity.
The Emperor and the Empress have been following the timetable for the areas included in the Group 1 outage schedule. The Imperial Palace has confirmed the Emperor and Empress went without electricity for one or two hours twice daily – in the morning and evening – from March 15 through March 23. On some days the scheduled outages are not put into effect due to an adequate supply of electricity.
Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
During their voluntary power outages, the Emperor and Empress have eaten dinner in the dark and have used candles and flashlights. They have also turned off electric heating.
According to the Crown Prince Imperial Household Agency office, Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife Princess Masako have also been observing voluntary power outages in their residence on the palace grounds.
Chat with earthquake refugees
The Emperor and the Empress visited evacuees who are staying at the Tokyo Budoh-kan hall March 30. There are 289 people at the facility. The Emperor and the Empress walked among the evacuees and stopped to talk with many. The Emperor and the Empress left after about 40 minutes.
Top: Before outage. Bottom: During scheduled outage.
Shinjuku station area, Tokyo, Japan, March 30, 2011.