• Kyodo

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The government launched a “Super Cool Biz” campaign Wednesday at the Environment Ministry, a more casual version of the annual Cool Biz campaign, encouraging staff to dress more casually and help reduce the use of air conditioning amid anticipated electricity shortages.

Under the new campaign, ministry workers can wear polo shirts, T-shirts, jeans and sneakers in the workplace starting in June, rather than the original no tie, no jacket Cool Biz dress code.

The new campaign comes as the government is calling on the private and public sectors to cut electricity consumption amid concerns about power shortages due to the nuclear emergency at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

But it is still uncertain whether the more casual summer attire will take root among businessmen, who traditionally dress in gray suits.

The prefectural government of disaster-hit Iwate, for example, has decided not to go as far as allowing jeans in the office to avoid making visitors feel “uncomfortable.”

Cool Biz was originally proposed in 2005 by then Environment Minister Yuriko Koike as a way of helping fight global warming.

The government started the campaign on May 1 this year, one month earlier than usual, to keep the temperature in offices at 28 degrees. However, by dressing more casually and introducing the Super Cool Biz campaign, it hopes to attain the target while combating the summer heat with higher air conditioner settings.

The Environment Ministry does not allow athletic wear, shorts, or flip flops under the new dress code.

The ministry does not have a specific dress code for women.

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