Japanese Government Employees Extremely Troubled By Summer Casual Dress Code

Today is the first day of summer, according to Japan’s Environmental Ministry, and that means it’s time to take off the ties and suit jackets and put on “casual” clothes. The ministry has been leading a charge to reduce energy consumption and ease global warming by asking all government employees to leave their neckties at home so they feel cooler with less air conditioning. But despite endorsements from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi it might not be going as well as planned. The Mainichi Daily News is quoting a bureaucrat with the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry as saying:

We haven’t received any specific orders from our bosses. …I want to decide later (whether to go without a jacket and tie) while looking at what my colleagues do.

In fact, the story notes:

The majority of national government bureaucrats working in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district wore jackets and neckties on Wednesday despite a Cabinet ministers’ agreement to dress casually in summer.

But I’m having trouble deciding whether to treat this story seriously or not. I can’t criticize the effort, but the detail and seriousness in the MDN article are just killing me. Oh, yeah, and the headline is:

Stiff bureaucrats reluctant to ditch ties for summer