A Japanese company has ordered all of its 2,700 employees to get identical hairstyles. This unusual request is its efforts to help the country save energy. The Tokyo-based construction firm Maeda Corporation has requested that men have a short back-and-sides and women have a "cute" bob with a longer fringe that can be swept to one side. Company spokeswoman Chizuru Inoue explained: "Our company is very keen on protecting the environment and we encourage our staff to adopt many environment-friendly actions." She added: "We are not sure of the data yet, but we believe if people have short hair, they do not need to use their hair driers for so long and they will use less water.” Some staff are confused about which style they must have and have been asking which salons give the best cut.
The energy-saving initiative is part of a national campaign to reduce energy consumption following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March. Japan has been struggling to produce enough electricity since the tsunami ended production at the Fukushima plants. The disaster resulted in a review of the country's energy policy that now means less than a quarter of its remaining nuclear plants are in use. The government has talked about a move away from nuclear energy towards more sustainable technologies. Many government institutions have taken measures to save power, including a reduced use of air-conditioning in offices and schools. Many employees cannot turn down the air-con below 27 degrees in the hottest summer months.