06/25/2008 - When it comes to saving energy, the Japanese have much to teach the United States and other rich countries, whose leaders descend on Japan next month for a Group of Eight summit.
Energy consumption per person here is about half that in the United States, and the growth of greenhouse gas emissions is slower than anywhere in the industrialized world.
There is a hiccup, though, in this world-beating record. It happens inside the Japanese home, where energy use is surging. And nothing embodies the surge quite like the toilet -- a plumbing fixture that has been reengineered here as an ultracomfy energy hog.
"For hygiene-conscious Japanese, the romance with these toilets is equivalent to the American romance with the Hummer," said Philip Clapp, deputy managing director of the environmental group at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington.
Read the complete article In Energy-Stingy Japan, an Extravagant Indulgence: Posh Privies on The Washington Post's Web site.
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