WIT Life #170: Super Cool Biz
Newspaper articles from this week have highlighted Japan’s handling of energy challenges in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, and subsequently damaged nuclear power plants. The first from the Wall Street Journal talks about the development of a new summer style called “Super Cool Biz” in response to a government decree to conserve electricity (節電 or setsuden) by 15%, or setting workplace temperatures to 82 degrees!
This new effort builds on the previous “cool biz” campaign, but takes it a step further by promoting the wearing of Hawaiian shirts, t-shirts and sandals to work. Needless to say surfer style is not natural to Japanese office environments, and many bureaucrats have expressed their displeasure. However, Uniqlo seized this as a marketing opportunity and has created a new line of eight casual looks that they anticipate will bring in $210 for each customer updating his wardrobe. Check out the article for the picture of the models unveiling these designs!
The other article from the New York Times discusses the coziness of the nuclear industry and the government, going so far as to call nuclear power plants “political power plants” and comparing the craving for them in sustaining local communities to a drug addiction. It becomes a vicious circle as these towns which lack other resources/industries come to depend on nuclear, despite lingering safety concerns. The money pouring in from subsidies, payouts and jobs is used to revitalize communities, thereby making them dependent on central government spending and looking for the next “hit.” Those who oppose are bought out or are forced to stay silent, and in regard to these subsidies the former governor of Fukushima and now nuclear critic Eisaku Sato expresses, “If you take them one time, you’ll definitely want to take them again.”