Cool Biz gone wrong?

Have you heard of Cool Biz?  This campaign started a few years ago to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions in Japan keeping air conditioner at the reasonable temperature of 28°C (I’m sorry to say this is not enough for me) and letting businessmen not wear a jacket and necktie and wear short-sleeved shirts if they wanted . It was a very successful campaign for everyone but the necktie industry.

After the Tohoku earthquake in 2011 and the eventually shutdown of every nuclear plant within the Japanese nation,  electricity shortage was unavoidable, so the government started an updated campaign called Super Cool Biz, which promoted turning off and unplugging electronics not being used, taking advantage of sunlight by the early start of business hours (7:30 am or 8 am), dimming lights as much as possible, letting office workers wear kariyushu shirts (Okinawan counterparts of Hawaiian shirts), jeans and even sandals in certain situations. This campaign was even more successful and this year the government announced a surplus of energy was available. However, electricity saving continues.

Nevertheless, this campaign didn’t include women since their formal attires offer more flow of air as they wear skirts and don’t wear neckties. I never found this very logical, but I think it sort of makes sense. Fortunately, as the following video reports towards the end, women are included in Cool Biz this year. Hooray!

But, news such as this one show that some people have criticized the Ministry of the Environment for recommending the use of cooling sprays, antiperspirants and more since “people who have chemical sensitivities can fall ill when they smell scented laundry softeners”.

Image depicting the use of "etiquette pads"

Image depicting the use of “etiquette pads”.

I gotta say I don’t know what to say about this. Is it really a big deal if the government suggests the use of such products? Men and women have been using them for years already. I know it’s a bit inconsiderate for those afflicted, but doesn’t just wearing a mask (as people do when they have a cold) solve or minimize the problem? I hope I’m not being too critical.

Scarves that can be moisturized with cold water several times are also a summer staple.

Scarves that can be moisturized with cold water several times are also a summer staple.

Eduardo H.


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