Sony considers two-week shutdown due to power shortages

image captionProduction at some of Japan's biggest companies has been affected by power shortages

Sony Corporation is considering shutting down some of its company premises in Japan because of the continuing power shortages.

In order to save energy, the company said it was planning to give its staff two weeks off during the summer months.

Japan has been suffering power shortages due to the damage caused to its nuclear and thermal power stations.

Last week the government set energy-saving targets and asked manufacturers to reduce their energy consumption.

Deteriorating situation

It is feared that the power situation in Japan is likely to get worse in the coming months as demand for electricity reaches peak summer levels.

As a result, companies are being forced to come up with measures to cut their power consumption, while trying to maintain production levels.

Sony said that it is proposing to bring forward various national holidays and ask its staff to work extra days later in the year when the power supply situation is likely to have improved.

"We are looking to provide two weeks of holidays to workers to alleviate the electricity consumption," Sony spokesperson George Boyd told the BBC.

Mr Boyd said that as well as shutting down premises during the summer months, the company is also considering changing its working hours.

"We are likely to bring the work hours forward to cut electricity usage on a day-to-day basis as well," Mr Boyd said.

Production problems

The devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has had a big impact on manufacturers.

They have been facing problems ranging from a shortage of parts to power cuts.

Toyota motors has suspended production at most of its plants in Japan and also reduced output at its North American and European factories.

Nissan and Honda have also been forced to slow production at their plants.

On Wednesday, the Japanese government downgraded its assessment of the economy saying that the breakdown of supply chains and the ongoing power crisis were having a negative impact on growth.

Analysts said that for the economy and industry to get back on track these issues would have to be addressed quickly.

"There's very high uncertainty on Japan's outlook," said Naoyuki Shinohara, of the International Monetary Fund.

"If power shortages are prolonged or if the situation at the nuclear plant deteriorates, the outlook will change... the risk is firmly to the downside," he said.

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