The History of Electric Enterprises and Power Supply Development in Tokyo Since the Meiji Era

  • Toshiaki Nishino
Part of the International Perspectives in Geography book series (IPG, volume 8)


This paper undertakes a detailed study of the history of Tokyo’s electric industry and debates its current problems. On March 11, 2011, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, located in Fukushima Prefecture, was destroyed by a tsunami that followed the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Due to the consequential power shortage in the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s supply area, scheduled blackouts were carried out for weeks. Accordingly, Tokyo’s citizens realized that a large share of the electricity they consumed had been produced by the nuclear plants located in rural areas, such as Fukushima Prefecture. Tokyo (formerly Edo) is located in the middle of Kanto Plain and has been one of the centers of Japan since the Tokugawa period (1603–1868). It became the country’s capital in the Meiji era (1868–1912). Since then, as modernization progresses, it has transpired that its location poses inherent difficulties regarding the local consumption of locally produced electricity. Initially, electricity was supplied locally by thermal power generation. However, the base of power generation moved to areas outside Tokyo before World War II, when large-scale hydroelectric power plants were constructed. Moreover, after 1970, nuclear power plants were built in distant places. Consequently, Tokyo’s electricity self-sufficiency rate fell from 14.6% in 1934 to only 3% in 2012.


Electricity enterprise Electric supply companies Tokyo City Tokyo Electric Power Company 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Takasaki City University of EconomicsTakasakiJapan

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