To prevent rolling blackouts as a result of the failure of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Japanese government is mandating that all offices set their thermostats at 82 degrees F this summer. Combined with the usual salaryman armor — a dark business suit — that sounds a little like the eighth circle of hell (the one BEFORE the ice). Accordingly, the Ministry of the Environment's Super Cool Biz campaign is urging workers to show up dressed for a day at the beach.
In a fashion show put on by Uniqlo, Japan's equivalent of the Gap, workers were introduced to traditional Okinawan shirts called "Kariyushi," which resemble Hawaiian shirts. Workers are also, apparently, being urged to wear tight-fitting man-capris and genially tassled shoes. (Click through for the image, it's worth it.)
Keeping offices hot is expected to save 15 percent of the country's normal energy usage this summer, as will other measures, such as working from home more often and taking a longer summer vacation. If only this were the worst of the fallout from the Fukushima disaster — every day is casual Friday, and you should all be spending more time with your families — it would almost turn it into a net positive.
- Japan wants businessmen to shed suits, save energy, The Boston Globe
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