Tokyo: Japan's Environment Ministry on Friday started its "Super Cool Biz" campaign to promote energy saving at the workplace, broadening the type of acceptable clothing for its staff to Hawaiian shirts and sandals.

The campaign is a step beyond the "Cool Biz" practice introduced a month earlier, in which office employees typically work without ties and set air conditioners' thermostats at 28 C to save energy.

This is the second time the "Super Cool Biz" campaign has been implemented after last summer when the country faced an energy shortage following the Fukushima nuclear crisis in the wake of the March 11 quake and tsunami.

Japan has shut down all its nuclear reactors, which in fiscal 2010 accounted for 26.4 percent of power generation. This will be the first summer in 42 years with no operating nuclear reactor across the country.

Concerns over energy shortages are growing particularly in the western Japan region, including Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe cities, served by Kansai Electric Power Co, which had been relying heavily on nuclear power generation.

The government has been calling on residents to devise ways to live without being dependent on air conditioners.

In addition to Hawaiian shirts, the ministry has approved wearing polo shirts and untorn jeans at work. It also allows solid-color T-shirts and sandals, but undershirts and flip flops are banned.

Calls have also been made within the ministry for workers to start early and cut down on overtime.

Like last year, the ministry is planning Super Cool Biz through September and Cool Biz until the end of October.

The government is also promoting "Cool Share" steps such as running just one air conditioner at home for all family members getting together in a single room and escaping the heat by going to public venues such as library and museums.

(Agencies)

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