Tie pogrom just first step to a cool Japan

As government workers leave the jacket and tie at home and salarymen are urged to follow suit, further measures are being taken to cool the sweltering cities.

Global warming is very real in Japan.

While European cities have been feeling the heat with temperatures rapdily rising in recent decades (see related story), Japan has outstripped the global average fourfold.

Tokyo has seen the mercury creep up by 3ºC over the past 100 years and city official are desperately looking for ways to bring it back down

The Government-led Cool Biz initiative brought fashion designers and comic strip writers on board to promote a more casual take on office elegance, advising the business community to leave jackets and ties at home so the air conditioning could be turned down a notch, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But while the impact of the sartorial revolution may be felt in years to come, Tokyo is looking for a short term solution to cool its searing streets.

It has turned its attention to the almost forgotten folk wisdom of sprinkling water on the ground, which has an immediate effect of bringing down the temperature of the streets themselves and as the water evaporates cools the surrounding air.

At a test site in the city flood water is pumped out of the undergound rail network using renewable energy and then sprayed along 300 metre stretch of road.

And so far the results look promising – the road surface has seen a sharp drop in temperature, down by 10ºC while the air above is 1ºC cooler – a small but significant blessing in a city where temperatures are currently above 40ºC.

By Sam Bond

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