Cool Biz effort starts month early

Kyodo

Government and parliamentary staff ditched their ties Tuesday as Japan began its Cool Biz summertime casual wear campaign aimed at saving power by reducing the use of air conditioning.

The government moved up the start of the campaign by a month as it did last year amid the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in the belief that continued energy-saving efforts will be necessary this summer.

The Environment Ministry introduced the casual dress code in 2005 so office workers could be more comfortabe with the air conditioners set at 28 to combat global warming. Before 2011, the Cool Biz campaign had started every June 1.