• Kyodo

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The government kicked off its annual Super Cool Biz campaign Monday to encourage workers to dress down more and use air conditioning less, as unseasonably hot weather continued across Japan.

The energy-saving campaign is an enhanced version of Cool Biz, the initiative started 10 years ago to prod workers at government ministries and agencies to ditch their usual jackets and ties.

During the Super Cool Biz period, which will last through Sept. 30, employees are allowed to wear polo shirts, sneakers and even Hawaiian-style aloha shirts at the office.

The Environment Ministry is also calling on corporate types to adjust their lifestyles to save energy, such as by moving up their starting hours to the morning, when temperatures are cooler, and to avoid overtime when possible.

Over the past two days, temperatures have soared to 35 degrees or higher in parts of the archipelago due to a large high-pressure system.

Super Cool Biz began in 2011 after utilities were forced to resort to rolling blackouts after the Great East Japan Earthquake knocked out the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, crippling Tokyo Electric Power Co., the nation’s largest utility.

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