Japan to avoid specific power saving targets in summer: Media reports

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan is unlikely to set specific targets for power saving this summer for the first time since the Fukushima crisis brought nuclear generation in the country to its knees, local media reported on Tuesday.

The nation has set numeric goals for curbing energy consumption each winter and summer since an earthquake and tsunami sparked a meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi facility, prompting a near halt in Japan's nuclear fleet.

But it has been battling to beef up its fossil fuel-fired plants, and the Asahi daily said the country's power monopolies are on average projecting surplus supplies of 6.3 percent this summer - above the 3 percent cutoff line to maintain stable supplies.

Japanese manufacturers were badly hit by uncertainty over electricity supplies in the wake of the 2011 crisis, the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

A panel under the trade ministry will unveil the summer power supply/demand outlook later in the day, the reports in the Asahi and Yomiuri said.

All but two of Japan's 50 reactors remain switched off, with the Nuclear Regulation Authority planning to impose tough new rules in July that nuclear operators must meet in order to get reactors approved for restart.