TOKYO An unseasonal chill had some cabinet
ministers shivering in their short-sleeved shirts as Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe launched Japan's annual "Cool Biz" fashion
campaign to save energy and fight global warming.
Japan began its "Cool Biz" push two years ago to get office
workers to shed their stuffy suits and ties and keep
thermostats at 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) as a
way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Known as a stylish dresser himself, Abe had instructed his
cabinet members to wear 'kariyushi' summer wear from the
southern island of Okinawa, similar to Hawaiian aloha shirts.
"It's nice and comfortable. But today it seems a bit
chilly," Health Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa, clad in a blue
short-sleeved shirt imprinted with tiny red cats and birds
native to Okinawa, told reporters.
"I ordered a long-sleeved shirt but they were out of stock
so I could only get short-sleeved," added Yanagisawa, who
appeared pleased to have something to talk about other than a
furor over mismanaged pensions that is dogging Abe's
Administrative Reform Minister Yoshimi Watanabe welcomed
the chance to substitute a collarless shirt for his jacket and
"It's good for people like me with no neck," said the
Economics Minister Hiroko Ota, one of only two women in
Abe's 17-member cabinet, was complimented by reporters on her
striking red 'kariyushi' with a butterfly and floral print.
"Thank you. It's actually still a bit cold to wear this.
But this building is hot, so it's nice," Ota told reporters.
The temperature on Friday morning was around 4 degrees
below the June 1 average of 21.8 centigrade, but was expected
to warm up later, an official at the Japan Meteorological
Later in the day, Abe, keen to polish his anti-global
warming credentials ahead of next week's Group of Eight summit
in Germany, took part in a demonstration of Japanese clean
diesel cars at his official residence.
"I feel certain that Japan's energy-saving technology is
the best in the world," he said before test-driving several