August 22, 2005

Japan to promote “Warm Biz” look to save energy

TOKYO (Reuters) - Spurred by the success of a "Cool Biz"
campaign this summer that encouraged men to dress down to save
energy, Japan plans to continue conservation efforts this fall
and winter by promoting "Warm Biz" fashion.

Government workers and politicians, known for conservative
fashions, have been encouraged to leave off coats and ties
between June 1 and September 30 so that air conditioner
thermostats can be set higher to help fight global warming.

From October 1, however, public sector thermostats will be
turned down to 20 C (68 F) and workers urged to layer up.

"There are various combinations of dress that we envision,
but thermal underwear is definitely going to be crucial," an
official at the Environment Ministry said.

The wearing of waistcoats, turtleneck sweaters and thick
socks would also be encouraged, he added. "There's no doubt
that 20 C is a bit chilly, so if people don't really take care
to keep warm, they could become uncomfortable."

Aside from its potential contribution to energy saving,
"Cool Biz" sparked a boom in June clothing sales that pushed up
overall retail sales for the month as workers sought out casual

People interviewed by NHK national television gave the new
proposal mixed reviews, with several saying they supported the
idea of saving energy but others worrying about the cost.

"If we have to wear things like waistcoats all winter, this
is going to take a lot of money," one young man said.