Gender Neutral Uniforms for East Japan Railway Company
East Japan Railway Company, also known as JR East, has announced that its uniforms will be changing next spring. The last major uniform update was in 2003 and these were the women's uniforms, which are still being worn today.
The new uniforms will have a color scheme that will change from gray to navy blue. JR East says that this color carries a sense of "traditional dignity". The new designs do have a bit of gray color with the sleeve accent lines (two lines are for station masters and one line for lower ranking employees). The biggest change is the skirt is being replaced by pants for all employees. Also abolished are the neck ribbons worn by women. The new standard uniform will include a necktie, with employees choosing between three designs. All employees will have the choice of hats, instead of only men wearing one and only women wearing the other.
Special "Cool Biz" uniforms, to be worn during electricity conservation periods with less intensive air conditioning, allow both men and women to go without neckties and collars unbuttoned.
It also appears from the photos that women will be allowed to wear flats intead of heels. JR East says the new uniforms are part of its ongoing Reform 2027 regulation revision project. They decided on these uniforms with the intent of eliminating gender differences. The new uniforms will go into use on May 1, 2020, in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. I think this is a great change!