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Uncool biz

(first posted 23 August 05)

In the summer we had kuuru bizu (“Cool Biz”) and now it’s been announced this will be followed in the winter with (are you ready for this?) – uaamu bizu (“Warm Biz”). Well ain’t that spiffy.

So allow me to explain. Funky PM Junichiro Koizumi came up with this super idea back in the spring. The idea behind it was that the Japanese are too reliant on their air-conditioning, and the fact of using it so much actually exacerbates the situation, pumping more searing hot air into the already searing hot air. He had a point, and it’s been commented on here before.

So were any laws enacted, any strictures passed on? Not exactly. Instead, the über-twee PR exercise, Cool Biz, was announced.

Quite apart from the name, which was designed to be both ‘cool’ and ‘business-like’ yet fails embarrassingly on both counts, the revolutionary idea basically came down to folks taking off their jackets and ties, and switching off their air-conditioners. Mmm. Whilst Koizumi appeared in every tv broadcast thusly clad throughout this summer, the idea never really caught on. This is Japan, and of course, someone has to be the first one to dive in, and if no one does, then the group doesn’t. So only Koizumi and some of his cohorts gamely persevered with it.

Now however they’ve announced ‘Warm Biz’, which will come into ‘force’ October 1. (It should be noted that the temperature will probably still be in the mid 20s in October, but if the government says it’s cold, then why let all obvious evidence to the contrary get in the way?)

Anyway you’re bursting to know the details of Warm Biz, aren’t you? Warm Biz dictates that, in order to save money and the environment, when the temperature plummets below 20° (on October 1), office workers should, rather than heat their offices, put on “knitwear, warm underwear, and headwear”.

Yeeeees. Call me cynical if you will but I can see this meeting with a similar degree of success. I’ll post a photo of a salaryman in a woolly hat the moment I see one (on October 1).

I’m just writing the PM an email suggesting daaku bizu (“Dark Biz”), whereby employees save money and the environment by switching everything off. Watch this space.

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