The government has made final its plans for our summer power-saving period and has set numerical targets to the major power companies, with “cool-biz” already underway.

In Tokyo, businesses and individuals will soon be issued with their targets for the period between July 2 and September 7 – dates which are slightly adjusted in the North and South of the country. The plan has been drafted, according to a government spokesperson, on the assumption that nuclear power plants stay offline.

Perhaps the most obvious sign for those of us living in Tokyo, other than pressure from our boss to try and help reach targets, will be the so-called “cool-biz” campaign.

Cool Biz is the government initiative which started in 2005 and aims to reduce the need for air-conditioning through encouraging the abandonment of ties and long-sleeved shirts. This year, the campaign started officially, for public workers, on May 1 – one month earlier than it had started prior to 2011. Energy conservation targets were initially made in consideration of the pledges to cut greenhouse emissions under the Kyoto protocol but are increasingly important.

In 2011, some companies sen their employees to work early, closed entire floors and encouraged increasingly ‘casual’ workwear. “Super Cool Biz” will begin again on July 1st, so we might see salarymen getting their Hawaiian shirts ready.