Women to get larger role in Cool Biz

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

Female office workers are being enlisted in the fight against global warming as the Environment Ministry prepares its Super Cool Biz campaign for a June 1 kickoff.

The promotion takes the ongoing Cool Biz program up a notch and proposes that women play a larger role in energy conservation — “female style,” the Environment Ministry said Monday.

The government launched its Cool Biz program in 2005 and has asked office workers to dress casually at workplaces during the summer to reduce energy use by relying less on air conditioners. The ministry encourages setting the air conditioners at 28 degrees.

Whereas Cool Biz focuses mainly on male workers and proposes ditching neckties at workplaces, Super Cool Biz will offer ideas for women for the first time that will enable them to work “comfortably, healthily and beautifully” even under turned-down air conditioners.

Some ideas put forward include wearing clothes that employ odor-fighting fabrics with superior drying action. The ministry is also promoting makeup and hairstyles that reduce the unpleasantness of the summer humidity and heat.

The ministry is scheduled to launch a website later this month to introduce other ideas and also provide advice from stylists.

The Cool Biz campaign began May 1 and will continue until Oct. 31. Super Cool Biz takes effect June 1 and runs through Sept. 30.

In addition to giving advise on how to dress in the workplace, the ministry also encourages workers to take summer vacations, reduce overwork and start their days early while the temperature remains low.

Reducing its carbon footprint has been a tricky proposition for the nation amid a heavy reliance on thermal power plants after the Great East Japan Earthquake forced the halt of most of the nation’s nuclear power plants.

Although Japan in 2009 made a pledge to cut greenhouse gases by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, reports say that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may officially retract the ambitious target as early as the end of this month. The government is expected to set its new emission goals later in the year.