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Let's discuss Cool Biz

This week’s featured article

JIJI, KYODO

The thermostat setting of 28 degrees Celsius recommended by the Cool Biz energy-saving campaign is stirring controversy among top government officials, but the environment minister remains steadfast despite complaints the limit could be too warm.

The Cool Biz campaign also urges workers to dress lightly in summer to save electricity. It was introduced in 2005 by former Environment Minister Yuriko Koike, who is now Tokyo governor.

The issue was raised by State Minister of Justice Masahito Moriyama at a closed-door meeting of state ministers May 11, participants said.

The government drew up the guideline “without strong reasons,” Moriyama was quoted as saying. He was working at the ministry in charge of the campaign when it began in 2005. “Why don’t we scientifically reconsider the temperature setting,” he said.

Yoshihiro Seki, state minister of the environment, implied to the Upper House’s Committee on the Environment the same day that there was no immediate plan to change the limit and that staff would be asked to stay flexible on the matter.

At a news conference May 12, Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto defended the guideline as “reasonable,” citing the Industrial Safety and Health Act, which requires workplace temperatures to be between 17 and 28 degrees.

“The Cool Biz campaign is aimed at saving energy. We ask you to change your lifestyles,” Yamamoto said.

Koike backed Yamamoto. “We decided on the temperature based on solid legal and scientific grounds such as the law and a survey of corporations,” Koike told reporters May 12.

“Any temperature that makes you comfortable is good,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, countered at a separate conference.

First published in The Japan Times on May 12.

Warm up

One-minute chat about summer.

Game

Collect words related to temperature, e.g., AC, cold, hot.

New words

1) stir: to provoke, e.g., “His comments stirred debate.”

2) steadfast: steady, firm, e.g., “The leader remains steadfast in his stance on military aid.”

3) solid: firm, e.g., “We need to form a solid relationship with our partners.”

Guess the headline AC s_ _ _ _ _ _ for C_ _ _ Biz leaves officialdom hot under the collar

Questions

1) What is the controversy about?

2) What does the opponent of the current situation say?

3) Which side is Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you support the Cool Biz campaign?

2) Do you think the current temperature setting is ?

3) How can Cool Biz be improved?

Reference

クールビズが日本で提唱されてから10年以上がたち、社会にもだいぶ浸透してきました。

一方で、ここで一度設定温度などを見直そうという声もあるようです。暑い日にはエアコンの涼しさが快適である一方、設定温度の違いが温暖化への影響の違いになることが、クールビズのきっかけでもありました。

温暖化が進む中、働く私たちにも地球にも負担の少ない形で夏を乗り切るにはどんなことを心掛ければよいのでしょうか。

今年も後数ヵ月で暑い夏がやってきます。その前に、朝の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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