Firms urged to pull plug on incandescent bulbs

Kyodo

The environment and industry ministries asked businesses Wednesday to refrain from manufacturing and selling incandescent light bulbs to accelerate their replacement with eco-friendly LED bulbs in households and offices.

Vice Environment Minister Katsuhiko Yokomitsu met with representatives of 84 companies and organizations, including manufacturers and electronics retailers, and issued the request on behalf of the two ministries. The representatives told the meeting they are willing to collaborate and will try to meet the government’s demands.

The government will launch a campaign to encourage consumers to buy LED-lit equipment and bulbs amid concerns about electricity shortages in the summer, officials said.

In 2008, the government asked that manufacturers halt domestic production of incandescent bulbs by 2012 as part of efforts to address global warming. Major consumer electronics makers are expected to halt output, except special purpose items, by the end of next March.

Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. have already stopped manufacturing incandescent light bulbs, while an official of Panasonic Corp. said Wednesday it will stop production by the end of December. Some major retailers also have stopped selling such bulbs.

LED-based lighting generally consumes about one-fifth of the electricity incandescent light bulbs use and lasts about 40 times longer. But LED lighting is more costly, a major drawback for consumers.

According to market research firm GfK Marketing Services Japan Ltd., incandescent bulbs accounted for 49 percent of total sales units at major retail stores in May.