Business

Cool Biz dress campaign kicks off with earlier end date

Kyodo

The government kicked off its annual Cool Biz campaign Monday to encourage workers to dress more casually to reduce energy use, with ministries and agencies allowing staff to wear polo shirts, aloha shirts and similar attire.

Under this year’s Cool Biz campaign, thermostats will be set at 28 degrees until the end of September, a month earlier than last year. But the Environment Ministry is advising workers to “dress casually at your own discretion, even in October, if it is hot.”

In central Tokyo, where the temperature was 16.9 degrees at 9 a.m., Environment Ministry officials came to work in casual wear including polo shirts and kariyushi, an Okinawan summer shirt.

“I can comfortably work with short sleeves in the office, although I wore a summer jacket because I felt chilly in the morning,” said a 27-year-old female official.

Cool Biz allows people to ditch their usual neckties and jackets in the office and has taken root in both the public and private sectors since its launch in 2005.

More than 200 department stores will promote the initiative by setting more moderate temperatures for air conditioners, switching off some lighting and installing LED lights.