Japan adopts “no-tie” look for summer to save energy

The paradigmatically propriety-conscious Japanese bureaucrat may be loosening up and dressing down, thanks to, well, orders from above. In an effort to conserve energy by reducing air-conditioner use, Japan’s Environment Ministry today launched a campaign urging government workers to leave suit coats and ties at home. By keeping office temperatures at 82 degrees Fahrenheit rather than 77, the effort will help Japan reach its emission-reduction goals under the Kyoto Protocol. The Energy Conservation Center says it’s possible the country could save 81 million gallons of oil in one summer, just by turning down the AC. Thus a new style of office attire dubbed “Cool Biz,” which includes open-neck shirts, pants in pale colors, and shirts with extra buttons or snaps to keep collars upright without a tie (no sense in being slovenly, after all!). Ministry officials hope an upcoming fashion show and fashionista manual with tips on matching shoes to belts will convince wary employees that dressing cooler is, um, cool.