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Koizumi introduces new fashion style to government operations

Date Posted: 2005-06-10

Heads turned and many eyes popped when people saw Japan’s Prime Minister going to work this week.

Junichiro Koizumi stunned government officials and visitors to Japan’s capitol office buildings as he introduced a new casual dress policy for the summer. He was the first to set the pace, showing up wearing Okinawa Yaeyama Kariyushi wear.

The prime minister introduced the “with or without jacket and tie” rule effective June 1st, telling government ministers and officials “there is no need to be straitlaced when thinking about what to wear to work, or whether or not to wear a tie.” He says the new policy is not a fashion statement, but rather, a way of beating the heating with the sweltering Japanese summer.

Koizumi has told leaders to set temperature controls on air conditioning units at 28 degrees Celsius to conserve energy while being more environmentally friendly.

Koizumi called his dress “a laid back Okinawan shirt…very airy and comfortable.” In fact, says the Prime Minister, “I moved through my work faster than usual wearing the Okinawa shirt.” He warns, though, that the “no tie, no jacket” plicy doesn’t mean people must always be without a tie or jacket. Koizumi points out that circumstances will dictate dress, with meetings with foreign leaders or ceremonies requiring employee flexibility.

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