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Public high school deems Uniqlo clothes acceptable uniform in Japan 1st

Examples of uniform combinations using Uniqlo's ready-made products adopted by Omiya Kita High School are seen at the school in Saitama's Kita Ward on Dec. 14, 2021. (Mainichi/Mineichiro Yamakoshi)

SAITAMA -- A municipal high school in this east Japan city is adopting ready-to-wear clothes from Uniqlo as its uniform from the 2022 academic year in what is believed to be a first anywhere in Japan.

    Omiya Kita High School in Saitama's Kita Ward says the purchase cost for the items is about a quarter of current uniforms -- black school uniforms for boys and navy-blue blazers and skirts for girls -- which will also remain in use.

    Uniqlo Co. said two municipal junior high schools in central Japan's Toba, Mie Prefecture, have adopted their clothes as "quasi-uniforms." According to the Toba Municipal Board of Education, the quasi-uniforms are worn on non-ceremonial days and differ from formal school uniforms.

    Omiya Kita High School has allowed female students to wear pants since February 2021, after one asked not to wear a skirt. Vice principal Kenji Tsutsui said several female students wore trousers they had bought themselves during the 2021 school year.

    This time, the school decided on permanent measures for new uniforms wearable by both men and women. After reviewing ready-made clothing from several major chains, it was determined Uniqlo's could be converted to uniforms, and that their price and quality was acceptable.

    Current uniforms cost around 50,000 yen (about $430), but Uniqlo's cost only 10,000 to 12,000 yen (about $86 to 103) for the top and bottom, with some being home washable. Through online shopping, the clothing firm offers a variety of sizes that are close to custom-made. The school also allows students to prepare similar clothing if they cannot find a size that fits.

    Tsutsui said, "The school has always done things others do differently. We decided to adopt the new uniform after changing our mindset that at this school 'everyone must wear the same uniform for ceremonies and other such occasions.'"

    (Japanese original by Mineichiro Yamakoshi, Saitama Bureau)

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