Chapter 4  Birth of Setsuden-mushi (a profitmaking device)  4.2 Setsuden-mushi's Growth Expectations and Setbacks  4.2.7 NHK “Ohayo Nippon” Coverage by NHK nationwide broadcast

前話: Chapter 4  Birth of Setsuden-mushi (a profitmaking device)  4.2 Setsuden-mushi's Growth Expectations and Setbacks  4.2.7 NHK “Ohayo Nippon” Mail contact from a reporter of NHK Science and Culture Department
次話: Chapter 4  Birth of Setsuden-mushi (a profitmaking device)  4.3 Received the Energy Conservation Grand Prize

The following is the content of the broadcast.

(Program name; NHK News Ohayo Nippon, Title of the news; A little science of familiar things) 

Announcer Ms. Udoh:

This is NHK News Ohayo Nippon for August 23rd. Today, we are going to take a look at the science of things around us, a little science. Today, I would like to inform you about the wasted electricity that we consume in our homes and offices. Our reporter is Mr. Hombo. Mr. Hombo, what do you mean by wasting electricity?

Reporter Mr. Hombo of Science and Culture Dept:

For example, they are fax machines. In an average household, the time used for sending and receiving faxes is only a few minutes a day at most. But you never know when you will receive the messages, so the power is always kept on.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:

That's right.

Reporter Mr. Hombo:

Recently, there has been a movement to rethink this wasteful use of electricity. First of all, I covered a new effort regarding fax machines.

Mr. Karl T. Kamamoto, a technical consultant in Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, is also an inventor who develops his own products.

This is the device.

When this is connected to a fax machine, the fax machine is normally turned off. However, when a call comes in, the fax machine automatically gets turned on.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:

Hmmm. I wonder how it works.

Reporter Mr. Hombo:

When a fax machine is being in use (to receive or transmit messages), electrical signals flow through the telephone line. This power-saving device simply connects the fax machine's power circuit when the device detects this electrical signal.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:


Reporter Mr. Hombo:

When the reception or the transmission is finished and the electrical signal is stopped, the power to the fax machine is automatically turned off. Using an ammeter, we found that there was no current flowing through the fax machine that was connected to the electricity saving device and waiting to receive messages. However, when I returned the fax machine to its normal state without the device, I found that a current of 0.16 amps was flowing even when it was waiting for reception. It is the standby electricity consumption.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:


Reporter Mr. Hombo:

Mr. Kamamoto's power-saving device is being used in about 200 places. One of them is the office of a citizens' group in Osaka. The fax machine is in use for less than an hour a day at this office. By using this power saving device, they can save 2,300 yen a year.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:


Mr. Kamamoto:

If you look at the number of fax machines in towns, prefectures, Japan, or even in the world, the number is enormous, so even if you save just one yen per unit, if you multiply it out, it's a huge amount of money.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:

So, how much electricity would be saved by installing that power-saving device in all the fax machines in Japan?

Reporter Mr. Hombo:

It is estimated that there are now 10 million fax machines in Japan. If we could save electricity for all of them, the amount would be 200,000 kilowatts.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:

200,000 kilowatts!

Reporter Mr. Hombo:

Yes. That's enough to power a city with a population of 100,000 to 150,000.

Announcer Ms. Udoh:

That's quite a lot!

Reporter Mr. Hombo:


However, this kind of wasted power is not limited to fax machines. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), together with the U.S., is currently promoting energy-saving measures for office equipment, and the five types of targeted products are the ones you see here. They have established international standards for consumed power volume, and the energy-saving products that meet the standards will be marked with this logo. The logo will be used to identify energy-saving products that meet the standards. I interviewed a computer manufacturer in Tokyo about this initiative.

This is a showroom of a computer manufacturer in Tokyo. You can see the energy saving logo on some of the products. This computer normally uses 190 watts of power, but if it is not used for 15 minutes, the consumption power is set to decrease. If you don't touch the keyboard for a while, the screen will go dark like this. At this time, the consumption power is reduced to 45 watts, which is less than a quarter of what it should be. The number of personal computers shipped in Japan this year is expected to more than double from two years ago to 7.5 million units. In recent years, manufacturers have become more aware of the need for energy-saving products, and it seems that energy-saving products are becoming the mainstream.

Mr. Masayoshi Ito, Energy Conservation Office, Energy Conservation Agency:

If we forecast the market in eight years for the models that will be released in the near future, we estimate that the energy-saving effect will be about one million kilowatts or more.

Reporter Mr. Hombo:

One million kilowatts mean it is equivalent to one large nuclear power plant. It is enough to power a city with a population of 700,000. It seems that this trend toward energy conservation in electrical products will increase in the future due to environmental issues.

Serially posted in English every Friday.


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Chapter 4  Birth of Setsuden-mushi (a profitmaking device)  4.3 Received the Energy Conservation Grand Prize

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