When he isn't trying to incite a Japan-China War Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is busy promoting his Cool Biz campaign. The motivation of this bizarre campaign is unclear but it may have something to do with increasing sales of menswear this summer.

All government ministers are encouraged to leave the tie and jacket at home this summer in order to combat the stiffling heat of the Japanese summer. Now this in itself might be a good idea if it wasn't for the other "recommendation" that comes along with it. All office buildings are advised to crank the air-conditioning up to a tropical 28 degrees celsius, ostensibly to save energy. Now I'm not an engineer however I would think that common sense would dictate that cooling a room down to about 24 degrees would use the same amount of energy as heating one up to, or keeping the temperature at 28 degrees. Am I wrong? If anybody here can actually verify that less energy is used please feel free to leave a message here, and if your credentials are impressive enough, I will change my stance on this matter.

However until that happens, I claim that it is just a ploy to sell a new range of Cool Biz clothes by a range of Japanese designers such as Takeo Kikuchi and pals who were on hand at the official launch of the campaign. What a marketing feat to get the Prime Minister on board.

One of the many ways that Japan's hatred or fear of anything natural is manifested is in the fact that the air-conditioner is on every single day of the year, regardless of the temperature outside. If the government was really concerned with greenhouse emissions from air-conditioning, perhaps they could encourage people to simply open a window from April to June, and from mid-September to November when the outside temperature is ideal. I really don't see the point of closing the windows and setting the thermostat to the exact temperature as it is outdoors.

Unfortunately my aging boss has bought into the whole fiasco and this keeps the office at a toasty 28; 29 if no-one is looking. He has bad circulation so he's probably just using Cool Biz to his own advantage, however whatever the motivation, we all have to suffer. Not everybody is buying into Cool Biz however. One unyeilding politician was quoted as saying, "I will never remove my tie and jacket, unless I was arrested. It's my uniform"

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