Warm Biz campaign gets under way in Japan
After months of being told to wear less to keep cool for summer, workers are now being urged to wrap up for winter as the energy-saving Warm Biz campaign gets into gear.
The campaign unofficially began on Oct 1—one month earlier than last year—but the weather didn’t cooperate with the first two weeks of October bringing unseasonably warm temperatures in much of Japan.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has already forecast that there is unlikely to be any power shortages this winter. It said projected supply capacity to exceed demand by 3%, which is the minimum level for maintaining a stable electricity supply.
However, the Environment Ministry is still promoting the Warm Biz campaign. It is calling on offices and homes to set heaters and air conditioners no higher than 20 degrees C. and keep warm the “old-fashioned way.”
Average temperatures in Tokyo fall to around 6 degrees C in January and February and the government is advising people to wear extra layers of clothes and eat hot meals to keep out the cold.
The ministry suggests putting on scarves, gloves and leg warmers during the day and an extra layer after the evening bath.
For dinner, it recommends a traditional Japanese hotpot. “You can lower the heat if you enjoy ‘nabe’ with your family and friends, making both bodies and the room warm. The temperature will feel higher than it actually is thanks to steam from the pot,” the ministry website says.
Eating root vegetables and ginger will help to “warm the body up,” it says, adding that getting off the train a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way to work will boost circulation.
Clothing giant Uniqlo is promoting its Ultra Light Down line of warm and lightweight down jackets and HEATTECH innerwear. Department stores are offering a range of knitwear and other items to stave off the winter chills.
People are also being asked to forgo heated toilet seats.
Warm Biz was first introduced in 2005 as a follow-up to the Cool Biz campaign during the summer. But it didn’t really get much attention until 2011 when the government began promoting it heavily due to fears over a potential electricity shortfall following the March 11 disaster.