Cool biz kicks off

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a grey, rainy day today with it getting heavier later in the afternoon. It should clear up tomorrow and then warm up on the 5th and 6th-both Thursday and Friday are looking hot and sunny with highs around 28C. Saturday is looking like it might rain...

Japan began Monday its annual "Cool Biz" campaign, encouraging workers to dress more casually to help reduce energy use, with government offices allowing polo shirts, Hawaiian aloha shirts and similar attire.

Cool Biz, a campaign to set air conditioners at 28 C, will run until the end of September, a month earlier than last year. But the Environment Ministry is calling on workers to "dress casually at your discretion even in October if it is hot."

In central Tokyo where the temperature was 16.9 C at 9 a.m., Environment Ministry officials came to work with casual outfits such as polo shirts and "kariyushi," an Okinawa's summer shirt.

Cool Biz allows people to work without their usual ties and jackets in offices, and has taken root both in the public and private sectors since its launch in 2005.

Cool Biz was started in 2005 by then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions and electricity use. It started on June 1 each year until 2011 when it was brought forward by a month in a bid to conserve electricity after worries that there would be a power shortage following the March 11 disaster.

Once again this year, the campaign goes one step further with Super Cool Biz, in which polo shirts and aloha shirts will be promoted as office wear.

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

At Urban English School, we aren't slaves to what the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) recommends-if it's warm, we roll up our sleeves and if it's cold, we put on a sweater and couldn't care less what day or month it is. People need to stop dressing for the 'season' and start dressing for the 'weather'. 

Have a great day!

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