• Kyodo

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The annual Cool Biz energy-saving campaign kicked off Thursday, allowing employees to dress more casually to stay cool and help reduce corporate air conditioner use.

As the Environment Ministry-led campaign enters its 10th year, an increasing number companies and government entities are allowing employees to lighten up and leave their neckties at home as the weather warms over the next six months.

Cool Biz will run until the end of October, but the sweltering interval between June and September will be escalated to Super Cool Biz, giving workers the green light to wear aloha and polo shirts in the office.

The Environment Ministry introduced the casual dress code in 2005 to let office workers work more comfortably as it urged companies to keep their thermostats set at 28 degrees to combat global warming.

In 2011, the start of the campaign was moved forward by a month to May to deal with power shortages caused by the Fukushima disaster.

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