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Why Japan’s Businesspeople Stopped Wearing Suits and Ties

Tokyo’s hottest fashion trend? Wearing a short-sleeved shirt to the office when it’s hot outside. Okay, that might not sound like a big deal. But it is in Japan. Business casual is a foreign concept to businesspeople who have traditionally worn suits and ties even when it’s sweltering. Yuriko Koike is behind the new workplace look. She’s the governor of Tokyo, and she created the Cool Biz campaign to encourage workers to wear lighter clothing. The initiative is not about fashion so much as it is about getting companies to turn down the air conditioning. And it has been successful. Carbon dioxide emissions have been cut by over 1.69 metric tons across Japan since Cool Biz launched in 2005.

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