From: Sky News Online
A Japanese city has defended its ban on beards at work by saying it is being environmentally friendly.
The northeastern city of Isesaki says forcing office workers not to sport facial hair will mean they are less likely to need the air conditioning on in the summer months.
Civil servants are already being encouraged to forego jackets and ties during hot weather as part of a "Cool Biz" campaign.
A city official said there had been no complaints from employees since the ban was introduced last month and that it was a necessary part of Cool Biz.
The campaign was introduced in 2005 by the Japanese Ministry of Environment in an attempt to cut the country's consumption of electricity, thereby reducing Japan's carbon footprint.
Beards used to be symbols of power in Japan
Human rights lawyer Fumio Haruyama has criticised the ban, saying it violates personal freedom.
However, the move seems to be part of a growing trend in Japan.
A growing number of Japanese workers are being forbidden from coming into work unshaven because the public supposedly find it "unpleasant".
One major convenience store has said it will not hire men with beards and would fire staff for growing facial hair.