Air conditioning turn-off in Japan
Air conditioning is seen as a basic facility in most business centres, but not in Japan. In the face of demands to conserve energy (brought to prominence by the Fukushima disaster) Japanese executives are preferring to sweat it out, rather than reach for the cooling switch.
According to the Business Mirror, company president of Global car giant Honda said: “We are already used to being in this warm office. We hope visitors understand the heat is part of our effort to save energy.”
Given that summer temperatures in Minato, Tokyo where Honda is located, can reach the mid-thirties in the shade, this seems to be a big ask. Especially as the Honda HQ, like most modern office centres, is not designed to catch passing breezes but relies on air conditioning.
Apparently however the idea is very popular. Fukushima has seen the cost of energy rocket in Japan and the drive to conserve energy is manifesting itself throughout business and government. Many however are opting to restrict the use of air conditioning rather than turn it off altogether.
The fact that last year deaths from heatstroke in Japan quadrupled in the summer is likely to have a restraining effect on this attempt to conserve energy.