Japan energy crisis
there are some influential countries among them today we will discuss about how japan saved from an economic crisis.
From a global standpoint, if you look at Japan as a country
they are not the richest country in the world,
they don’t have humongous territories. In fact,
Japan is literally at the epicentre of natural catastrophe.
But every time they are faced with crisis they somehow find
an amazing way to solve it
and within no time Japan is always back on track.
In fact, time and again it has set a benchmark
for other countries to get inspired from
on how to tackle a national crisis.
And one of the most mind-blowing case studies that Japan
gave to the world
was on how to tackle the energy crisis.
In 2005, the government of Japan realised
that they were exteremely vulnerable to energy crisis.
For those of you who do not know
energy crisis is caused when a country consumes way more
energy than it could produce.
This shortage of energy results into blackout,
shutdown of industries
and in general, when energy crisis happens in a country
it is considered to be the beginning of an economic
And in 2005, Japan, inspite of being such a small country
it was the fourth largest consumer of electricity in the
And what was more scary was the fact that
80% of that entire energy was coming from outside the
country, as in
they were heavily dependent on other countries for producing
Now, on the outside it might not look like a big deal
but if you look at it from the international standpoint
it makes Japan extremely vulnerable to 3 major global
the country that supplies electricity to Japan
can literally exploit it’s economy by imposing trade tarrifs
and Japan would have no other option other than to agree to
Eventually, a country could systematically
loot Japan using the leverage of energy crisis.
every big corporation will think twice before setting up
their factory in Japan
because tomorrow if Japan picks up a fight with a country
within no time it could be in an energy crisis,
industries would fall short of power and eventually, it
would cost them billions of dollars.
And third and most importantly, in case of a war situation
Japan could be conquered like this (snaps) merely by cutting
off their energy supply.
And as the famous saying goes
if you blind a soldier for a single second in the middle of
a fight, he dies
but if you blind a country for 24 hours, the loss of life is
So, Japan had to do something to fix this problem and for
this kind of a big move
it needed the cooperation of it’s citizens
Now, people if you take a step back
and look at the energy saving strategies deployed by most of
the countries all across the world.
You’ll see that the strategy itself costs them a billlion
Number two, inspite of appealing a lot to it’s citizens
citizens hardly seem to care about the energy conservation
of the country.
And lastly, it takes a minimum of 1-5 years
to even understand if the strategy is working or not.
But you know what ?
Japan used a marketing strategy because of which
they were able to save 700,000 metric tonnes of carbon
which is equal to 1.5 lakh cars taken off road.
And they were able to do this in just 150 days
without spending a dollar !
In fact, they technically profited by $1B
merely because of this campaign.
The question is- What exactly is this strategy and what was
so special about it
that Japan was able to achieve this incredible feat.
As it turns out, after doing a detailed market research
the Japanese government understood
that a major chunk of this energy was being consumed by the
air conditioning in the corporate offices
wherein they observed
that due to the strict dressing culture of Japan
every single corporate employee wore double layered formal
clothing even during summer.
And because of this the temperature of the ACs had tobe kept
at a lower level.
And since this happened all throughout the country,
the cumulative energy consumption only due to ACs was very
So they came out with something called the Cool Biz campaign
the ministry of environmental affairs requested all the
to get their employees to wear summer casual clothes to
And this was done so that
they can increase the temperature of the ACs from 26 degrees
to 28 degrees.
from June to October.
And they invested heavily to promote the idea in the coolest
because Japan understood that this idea doesn’t just have to
be conveyed to the citizens
it needs to be marketed to them.
So the government of Japan organised a fasion show
wherein dozens of CEOs and other senior executives got
And even the Prime Minister himself was featured on
newspapers and T.V. stories
without wearing a tie and in a short-sleeved shirt.
And soon enough, businesses all across the country signed up
for the campaign
and it gave rise to a fashion wave altogether.
And you know what ?
The cherry on the cake was that the clothing companies saw
this as a perfect business opportunity
and they launched an exclusive line of Cool Biz clothing.
The barbers began to give out Cool Biz haircuts and the
entire business ecosystem
came together to participate in the Cool Biz campaign.
And that is how ladies and gentlemen, in just 30 days
Japan was able to re-engineer the idea of formal attire.
180 days later when the results came out
Japan proudly announced to the world
that it had successfully turned an economic threat into an
wherein the GDP of the country benefitted by a 100 billion
Fast forward to today, Cool Biz campaign is being followed
since 15 years
and every single year they keep improving and they keep
saving more energy.
Now, the by-product of this campaign was that
because all the citizens conserved electricity in their
they automatically began to use energy judiciously even in
Now there are 3 very very important lessons that we need to
learn from this case study.
the power of storytelling and marketing doesn’t just have to
be restricted to selling products and services
they can further be extended, even to save a country from a
Number two, not every complex problem needs a technological
In this case if you see
Japan did not use it’s super amazing technology
inspite of being a pioneer in the technological world.
In fact, they used a human centred solution.
which tells us a lot about
how we can leverage behavioural design
to solve global issues like climate change and global
And last and most importantly,
we all need to understand that shouting slogans and
spreading awareness, alone
cannot inspire a change, unless it creates a business
where the economy and society both can benefit together.
In this case if you see
the Cool Biz campaign did not see a single protester on the
shouting about the energy crisis.
But because there was a business incentive for the clothing
it led to a snowball effect wherein instead of the
the business organisations also participated in the movement
to bring about a revolutionary change.
And this is what teaches us a very very important lesson
that if we want to inspire a change
we have to create business opportunities to incentivize the
And when done right
it will automatically and effortlessly spark a revolution.
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