Well, at least if you're a government employee located in the city of Isesaki. As part of an energy-saving campaign, the Gunma prefecture city has instituted a new rule banning its employees from growing beards. (There is no word on whether curly mustaches or hipster chin beards are allowed, so the potential is there for loopholes.)
According to spokesman Mamoru Hisegawa, "The ban on beards is just one part of the ‘Cool Biz’ campaign." The "Cool Biz" campaign incorporates other rules aimed to reduce the need for costly air-conditioning in the summer months, such as mandating civil servants to avoid wearing jackets and ditching the fancy tie. While the goal of reducing energy costs is a good example of creative green initiatives, not everyone is happy. Human rights lawyers in Gunma prefecture are criticizing the ban as an attack on personal freedom.
Meanwhile, Hisegawa claims that no employees have an issue with the ban, with supposedly no complaints issued so far. (I'm guessing all the crusty old prospectors on the payroll were threatened with life in the mines if they spoke up.) I'm sure there have to be a few employees who are just going along with this so they don't make waves.
Could an eco-friendly initiative be the reason why Brad Rice has shaved off his distinctive beard? Look at the gallery and decide for yourself!
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