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Gov't kicks off Warm Biz energy-saving campaign

46 Comments

The Japanese government on Thursday kicked off its annual Warm Biz energy-saving campaign by encouraging people to dress warmly.

However, temperatures remained unseasonably high for most of the nation, with much of Japan yet to experience cold temperatures. In Tokyo on Thursday, the temperature was 20 degrees at 2 p.m.

Each year, as part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry calls on offices and homes to set heaters and air conditioners no higher than 20 degrees C and keep warm the "old-fashioned way” by wearing extra layers of clothes and eating hot meals to keep out the cold. In the colder months of January and February, the ministry suggests using scarves, gloves, stomach warmers, and leg warmers or two pairs of socks during the day.

For dinner, it recommends a traditional Japanese hotpot. "You can lower the heat if you enjoy nabe, making both your body and the room warm. The temperature will feel higher than it actually is thanks to steam from the pot," the ministry 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.

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.

The Warm Biz campaign runs through next March 31.

© Japan Today

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46 Comments
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First time hearing a word for it, I do these things every year because houses and buildings are so drafty. Kotatsu helps a lot at home, but it still uses energy. Those nifty little kairo that fit in your shoes are the best invention since sliced bread for me when out and about, if my feet are warm the rest follows!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yep, demand that the serfs suffer living in pre-modern conditions, but not a word to home builders about properly insulating homes, doing away with crawl spaces under houses, or public warm water taps to stop the spread of colds and the flu from those dumb enough to follow these edicts.

Cant wait to install my cast iron wood burning stove.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Insulation although now in use is not what it could be. Japan's version just does not do enough, and its exorbitantly costly. Would love to get some pink batts from Aus Canada or NZ. Need an electric carpet to keep a single section of floor warm. Building codes and materials are woefully inadequate for the climate. Office workers every year using blankets at work to keep warm? The best the government has to offer is a diet and a recommendation to walk more? My choice? Coat myself in Tiger balm and wrap cling wrap over my entire body, now that's warm business.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

"However, temperatures remained unseasonably high for most of the nation, with much of Japan yet to experience cold temperatures."

Don't worry it's going to get freezing cold pretty soon.

"Cant wait to install my cast iron wood burning stove"

They won't let me use such a great thing in my apaato, lol. I have to use the electric heaters since I refuse to use those dangerous and smelly kerosene stoves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Glad to hear "Common Sense Biz" has started. I'm saved.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Do Kapanese people ever tire of being told what to do? Japanese houses are built with no insulation at all. The have flipping paper walls! It is impossible to heat a Japanese house without using extensive amounts of energy. Of course, keeping doors closed and hearing singular rooms at a time makes good sense, but it’s nearky impossible if the doors are made from paper. All the suggestions are common sense to any economically mind person.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

You could start by lowering the heat on the a smidgen under roasting conditions. That'll get those sweaters on (and me not in need of a second shower when i get to work)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Our company demands we wear a suit and tie, so is that warm biz?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Our office is freezing during Warm Biz and we can’t change the temperature.

It goes without saying that you can turn the meeting rooms into furnaces to your heart’s content. Can’t make those visitors uncomfortable...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They won't let me use such a great thing in my apaato, lol. I have to use the electric heaters since I refuse to use those dangerous and smelly kerosene stoves.

Those DiLongi electric oil heaters? I have one but never use it. Way too expensive.

I use the kerosene fan heaters but seeing how our living room has 9 sliding doors surrounding it, I never worry about ventelation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It literally never gets cold enough in Tokyo to warrant like, more than a winter coat and hat. It was 67 degrees today and people around my neighborhood were wearing scarves and uniqlo down coats. Ridiculous. I genuinely don't understand. It's only ever cold for like, 10 days in January and then it goes back to chilly. Meanwhile half of the year its boiling hot and if you mention it to anyone and 'shoganai ne'.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Cant wait to install my cast iron wood burning stove.

I have the largest size DutchWest and it still isn't enough because the house has crap insulation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It was 67 degrees today and people around my neighborhood

I seriously doubt that. It would be the hottest place on earth, and people would be dropping like flies.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Govt has to do what govt has to: offer good advices to its people. It has nothing to do with violation of human right.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Like the 'jumper (preferably v-neck) & shirt /no tie' style in winter, long jacket when very cold.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Each year, as part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry calls on offices and homes to set heaters and air conditioners no higher than 20 degrees C and keep warm the "old-fashioned way” by wearing extra layers of clothes and eating hot meals to keep out the cold."

Except preschoolers, who are forced to wear t-shirts and tight shorts to look "genki" in the dead of winter. Maybe the government could start by changing laws for construction of buildings. As all buildings from this or next year must be built with LED light sockets instead of the traditional bulbs, why not demand that insulation standards be improved so that even pre-fab houses can retain heat for more than 5 minutes after a heater is turned off, and passive heating (ie. body heat) can do some of the work to create a somewhat self-sustaining environment? Too much work and not enough profit? Methinks so.

As for nabe and the obvious commercial push for Japanese products (surprised they didn't say, "You should use the superior 'kyo-yasai', which will warm your body and also create minus ions and get rid of pollen!" or something), while it will indeed "feel higher than it actually is thanks to steam from the pot," it still won't be, causing you to lose more body heat. Eating hot foods feels good, but as a substitute for actual heat around you, it can do more harm than good in the long run as your blood goes to the surface of your skin only to be exposed to the cold. May as well ask them to take a "Japanese-style bath and feel warmer while you roll around in the snow after".

Keep warm, people, and by all means try to reduce energy while they insist daylight savings time will confuse the populace and instead light buildings earlier, but be smart about it. Things like water bottles instead of electric blankets work wonders, and yes, bundling up, too.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@savethegaijin

You do mean Fahrenheit right?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nothing to do with the environment. All to do about stingies saving money and treating adults as children.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ive never quite understood always telling individuals to do this and that as if there's a lack of common sense. Is there? A lack I mean.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why not make it mandatory for new builds to include proper insulation, double glazing, properly fitted doors etc. Most buildings are merely elaborate sheds.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Nothing to do with the environment. All to do about stingies saving money and treating adults as children.

Yep. Rules, rules, rules! Can't have those people thinking for themselves, who knows what crazy stuff they might dream up!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

67 F, yes. Sorry.

19 C.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wallace Fred

Yes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Fizzbit If your 9 sliding doors surrounding your living room ( you must live in a real mansion! ) are all closed tightly, you could die of carbon monoxide poisoning using those nasty kerosene heaters. Use something else.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Got on a packed Tokyo train last week wearing a dress shirt as it was sunny and about 20 degrees. 1/2 of the commmuters were wearing down coats and sweating and looked like about to pass out from the heat. I judge day by day as opposed to season by season and on many trains and gets unbearably hot with a coat.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Kerosene heaters, the plug-in fan type ones at least, are perfectly fine and warm in winter. Yes, all unflued fires emit carbon monoxide into the room, but the newer ones will warn you and even shut down if the CO is too high.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Reckless

" I judge day by day as opposed to season by season"

I wish Japanese companies and government offices did this.

I never, ever wear a coat on a packed train.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Serrano

The doors are staggered, gaps all over, impossible to keep the doors air tight, but we always keep one or two open an inch and don’t run it when we sleep. Very very low probability of CM building up.

( you must live in a real mansion! ) 

I wish, nope, sh@thole-a-lago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Serrano, are there no propane fluless cast iron stoves available in Japan? If not Esse in the Uk do a brilliant range (just had one fitted), no need for a flu as a catalytic converter deals with the gases, perhaps you could get one imported?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the government are so keen on saving energy why don’t they provide grants for householders/landlords to insulate their properties. The cost would be far outweighed by the energy savings as has been shown in a number of countries

Combine that to changed regulations for new build will resolve much if not all the problem across a comparatively few years. They could require new build be environmentally friendly so as to reduce or even eradicate the need for energy consumption to heat/cool properties, becoming world leaders?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

it's still over 20C everyday in Tokyo, huh? This looks pretty tone deaf. Makes a nice reminder of how the government does nothing for climate change but wants you to put on a sweater. Weird

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We have elected officials...and they tell us how to dress.

I know how I feel, am a human, and can dress myself.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

thepersoniamnow, you are a human now, but not in the past. By the way, which officials was elected by you ?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Warm Biz, but they still illustrate it with a woman in a knee-length skirt.

Ten years ago, I would have recommended people use thermal underwear by mountain brands like TNF and Patagonia (Arcteryx and Norrona for those with deep pockets). Unfortunately, such brands are now worn by fashion victims more than outdoor types, and the prices have been pushed up to what this expanded market will bear. 8,000 yen for a midweight long sleeve undershirt. Its only polyester! The thicker stuff in Uniqlo's Heat Tech range is quite warm, but its all 9/10 length sleeves, and Japanese clothes have short arms to begin with. The beauty of base layers for Warm Biz is that they'll help keep you warm without falling foul of your company's dress code.

We're at 800m above sea level and it's down to 2-3C at night time now. We've not had the heating on yet though, and its 21C upstairs just off sunlight during the day and heat from cooking, computers etc. We're nowhere near Passivhaus, just quite good insulation and very good draughtproofing. The house was built ten years ago.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Cant wait to install my cast iron wood burning stove

Fizzbit,  definitely do it, nothing like a warm stove in winter, I have been rocking a Stanley stove here & the whole house is toasty warm. I am in a log house & have batten insulation under floor & in the roof so place stays warm in winter & cool in summer(except the 2nd floor, lots of windows to let most of the hot air come evening tho)

Bonus is you get to have fun with axes & chain saws collecting firewood!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ive never quite understood always telling individuals to do this and that as if there's a lack of common sense. Is there? A lack I mean.

haha, have you been here long? i have never known a country with less common sense than Japan, just look at the way they drive among many other things.. ..also the reason why they are telling peeps to do this and that is that Japanese people literally cannot think for themselves outside a group... they need instruction at all times.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yep, demand that the serfs suffer living in pre-modern conditions, but not a word to home builders about properly insulating homes, doing away with crawl spaces under houses, or public warm water taps to stop the spread of colds and the flu from those dumb enough to follow these edicts.

Spot on , serfs indeed...i have yet to see a country like it, when i tell peple in Japan about this it goes over their heads, they probably think i'm slagging off their 'unique culture' i guess.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why not make it mandatory for new builds to include proper insulation, double glazing, properly fitted doors etc. Most buildings are merely elaborate sheds.

Logic is a foreign concept in Japan..

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It would seem all of this is simply common sense...until you see that it's not followed by a significant number of people...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan needs to make thermal efficiency standards in houses legally binding, like advanced countries do. But the government refuses to do so over pressure from the construction industry, which wants to minimize its costs so as to maximize profits.

Instead it forces individual people to bear the brunt. It's clear where the priorities lie in this issue.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Were entering our second winter in a "mansion" after 10 years in a wooden shed house. Guys if you can i recommend it. we heat the whole place with one well positioned gas fan heater 3ldk.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just had a house built in Japan. Double-glazing and insulation were standard in the deal. Didn't even need to ask.

Warm-Biz and Cool-Biz? Why not just check the forecast or look out the window, and dress accordingly? This population is so infantalised it's unreal.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I knew it! I was just walking around in my tighty whities and flip flops, with the balcoy door open, wondering why I felt a chill. Thank goodness the government stepped in to set me straight.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Kobe White Bar Owner

We heat the whole place with one well positioned gas fan heater 3ldk.

My place in central Tokyo is 2 years old, and there is no gas outlet. I asked for one, but the estate company said that would be impossible. The three heating devices in my apartment are actually air conditioners bolted near the ceiling and sliding windows, the least efficient spot possible for a heater. I'll be bundling up at home this winter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Jeff

Yes we had a holiday housebuilt last year and a gas outlet was a no no with the builder. The "mansion" were in now is not a new build hence the gas outlet, but only 1 and thats in the "japanese room" the only room with tatami mats and paper slidy window things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just wearing a t-shirt today as it is a brilliant sunny day!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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