Foreign Policy Blogs

Cool Biz begins, lengthened

After shooting down a proposal to adopt daylight-saving time, Tokyo decided to start Cool Biz May 1 and extend it until Oct. 31 to save energy. Cool Biz is a campaign introduced in 2005 that encouraged government and office workers to wear casual clothes rather than suits and ties during the summer months to reduce usage of air conditioning. Cool Biz typically runs from June through September, but it has been lengthened due to power shortages caused by the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Tokyo recently proposed reintroducing daylight-saving time, which was used in Japan briefly after the war. The proposal was shot down, with sources stating it would cost too much money to reset clocks and it would cause social confusion. As far as I recall, I’ve never spent as much as one cent on setting a clock. In fact, daylight-saving time saves money and energy by shifting daylight one hour earlier during the summer months, which allows people to utilize one hour of cooler morning temperatures and encourages them to stay outdoors later, saving energy on cooling and lighting. I think the actual reason the proposal was shot down is because Japanese salarymen are often compelled to stay at work until after sundown. If Japan adopted daylight-saving time, Japanese office workers would be chained to their desks until 10 p.m.

Extending Cool Biz is one way to save energy in a country that refuses to adopt daylight-saving time. But even as the government lengthened the Cool Biz period by two months, officials, including Prime Minister Naoto Kan, showed up to the Diet in their usual suits and ties.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]