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The issue of men with facial hair in the workplace has recently prompted serious discussions in Japan, as well as actual bans on the alleged grounds of decorum.
In May, the municipality of Isesaki banned all male staff from wearing beards in its offices on the grounds that public servants should look decent. The Gunma Prefecture city took the action after hearing local citizens complain about its bearded workers.
In response to the news, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said it had never heard of any municipality in the country introducing such a rule.
Still, the new policy adopted by Isesaki seems nothing new. A growing number of Japanese workers, including athletes, are being prohibited from turning up for work unshaven so as not to offend the public.
Major convenience store operator Seven-Eleven Japan Co is particularly strict about the appearance of its employees and says it will hire no men with beards.
‘‘We might fire workers growing beards regardless of whether they are regular staff or part-time workers,’’ said the company’s public relations officer.
Oriental Land Co, which operates Tokyo Disney Resort, also bans beards. ‘‘It’s important that workers serving our guests maintain an immaculate image,’’ said one official with the theme park firm. ‘‘But the rule does not apply to the man playing the role of Captain Hook in our park.’‘