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Firefighter docked pay for making over a million yen from game streaming

41 Comments
By SoraNews24

Firefighting in any country is a difficult and heroic job deserving of our respect, but in Japan they also have to put up with incredibly strict protocols. It wasn’t until 2018 that fire department workers in Kimetsu City, Chiba Prefecture were allowed to buy a coffee while in uniform.

Even off-duty they have to be very careful about what they do, as one 33-year-old fire sergeant with the Wakayama City Kita Fire Department realized. In October of last year, the department received an anonymous tip that the sergeant had “a side job on YouTube” and an investigation was launched.

It was learned that between December 2020 and October 2021 the fire sergeant posted 314 videos his own YouTube channel including many gaming live streams. He must have been pretty good too because he garnered a total of roughly 2.27 million views during that time. Also, thanks to YouTube’s monetizing policy, he reportedly got 1.15 million yen in revenue.

▼ The sergeant is said to have specialized in streaming "Among Us."

The fire sergeant apologized for the transgression, saying he was simply didn’t realize that this activity was included as being in violation of the fire department’s policy against taking side business. He was nevertheless penalized by having 10% of his monthly salary docked, which estimated from the national average salary for a fire sergeant, would be a loss of about 40,000 yen.

Readers of the news mostly felt the rule against side jobs was in need of reform, and many were in awe of the fire sergeant’s range of skills in both public safety and entertainment.

“He’s a pretty talented guy.”

“I don’t really see what was wrong with what he did.”

“The whole ‘no side job’ rule is pretty outdated, isn’t it?”

“A million yen in less that a year is pretty good!”

“He’s probably better off becoming a full-time streamer.”

“Since the chances of any of us getting pensions is disappearing, the rule against side businesses is completely unreasonable.”

“So if he invests his money without producing anything of value himself, that’s okay?”

This rule against side jobs, which applies to all civil servants in Japan – and many private workers too – does have some valid reasons, such as preventing conflicts of interest and ensuring those with crucial roles like firefighting stay focused on them. But as some of the comments mentioned, there are a lot of gray areas, namely: Where do you draw the line between a hobby and a job?

If the fire sergeant simply demonetized his YouTube channel, would he still be allowed to run it as he had been? If so, what really changes then, aside from YouTube keeping 100 percent the revenue that he generates?

What constitutes “work” is changing as we speak, so it’s important for the rules employees have to abide by to change at the same pace. Otherwise, we risk losing more and more valuable first responders to the tempting allure of game streaming.

Source: MBS News, Itai News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Kumamoto Police sergeant reprimanded for making officers eat spicy instant noodles

-- Japanese firefighters now allowed to enter convenience stores while wearing their uniforms

-- Osaka Police sergeant resigns after extorting hamburgers from officers

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

41 Comments
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Ridiculous rule

34 ( +38 / -4 )

These are the ones who put their lives in order to save us when disaster hit. We should at least give them some breathing room. We are grateful for their hard work everyday. That punishment was unwarranted. Who was the snitch that even reported on him?

28 ( +30 / -2 )

Only in Japan. Sad...

8 ( +19 / -11 )

If he streams during his off days as a firefighter then I don't think it's fair to treat him like he's negligent with his job.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

Dumbest news I’ve heard in a while, and there’s been some real cringe worthy news in the last few weeks.

Japan needs to cut the crap with this no side hustle as well. With pay so low, how else do you expect people to survive.

But this guy wasn’t even about the money, I don’t think. Hey, if someone is willing to give you money for doing something you enjoy, so be it. No one is rejecting that offer.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Dumb just keeps getting DUMBER!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Oh & if the dumb city he puts his LIFE on the line for will COMMIT to a Y40,000 yen a month deduction then he should go straight back to his channel as he would be about Y500,000 ahead!!!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It's the crushing of personality and creativity that really gets my goat.

One must be tired and miserable to work in many companies in Japan. Woe betide anyone who dares to be rewarded for their creativity in their own FREE TIME.

We all know it's all about control. Companies don't want people clicking on to the fact that they are being over-worked and underpaid, and that there are other options out there, which are essentially more fun and rewarding.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

The elite here hate it when the peasants make any more than barely surviving wages.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

All a part of being a "government employee" here. Sadly many businesses have the same rule, and with the "My Number" being in effect, it's easier for employers to find out if their employees are working a side job.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

How does him having a side gig affect his ability to put out fires and save lives? It's not like he bailed mid-fire rescue to go stream. How utterly absurd. Restore the man's full salary and stop faffing around in employees' personal lives. What they do off the clock is none of the company's business.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

It wasn’t until 2018 that fire department workers in Kimetsu City, Chiba Prefecture were allowed to buy a coffee while in uniform.

This is pathetic. Should they also go ask their superior for permission before taking a dump or picking their nose?

7 ( +12 / -5 )

It wasn’t until 2018 that fire department workers in Kimetsu City, Chiba Prefecture were allowed to buy a coffee while in uniform.

This is pathetic. Should they also go ask their superior for permission before taking a dump or picking their nose?"

Agreed...what kind of an idiotic rule was that? Made up by some self-important brainless oyaji in charge as usual.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I fail to see what his crime is. Uploading Youtube videos in his free time is a "job" now?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It wasn’t until 2018 that fire department workers in Kimetsu City, Chiba Prefecture were allowed to buy a coffee while in uniform.

wow. I remember the news of a j-cop stationed in front of a US base declining an offer of a drink from an American soldier on duty during the middle of summer. That's tough and extremely outdated. So, buy your coffee in plain clothes instead?

This rule against side jobs, which applies to all civil servants in Japan – and many private workers too – does have some valid reasons, such as preventing conflicts of interest and ensuring those with crucial roles like firefighting stay focused on them. 

if the person in question is able to perform their duties well, then I don't see why they have to question any other side hustle these people do. So, what about English ALT's that teach outside the company.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Only in Japan. Sad...

I think in Taiwan, S. Korea, China, etc. too. Seems to be a sort of pan-East Asian old mentality, especially concerning civil servants.

So outdated, must be from ancient China.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Taxes, insurance, pension, prices on food and everything else go up, salaries still the same as 15 years ago or even less. But a guy gets a side gig to keep afloat and lo and behold.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

should transfer the channel into his wifes name, all proceeds go to her, he can be a guest speaker on the channel, unless she currently working for the government as well

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So Japanese tarento or geinoujins can have Youtube channels but not civil citizens?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

From a legal point, any rules regarding side jobs are unenforceable. That is as long as the side job does not interfere with the main work and you would have to mention any income in your tax declaration.

While statutes in a contract are mostly binding in common-law countries, Japan knows various restrictions regarding what can be legally binding. I refer to 民法第90条, herein especially 自由を極度に制限する行為

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The pay is insufficient for the firefighters here.

He should have just faced his computer with brows knitted and eyes closed pretending to be at work like so many other office workers.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So Japanese tarento or geinoujins can have Youtube channels but not civil citizens?

The difference with that is that the talent agency is most probably getting cuts of the extra revenue - so they will actively support such an endeavor, and probably make it part of the contracted duties.

The fire department gets nothing from this guy - so it's dame.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Gross. Before I had enough and went full independent, I remember being told this during hiring interviews:

-you cant come to the company by any other means but the (tuna-packed) trains

-you cant take any side jobs, including translation work at home (???)

-your career is impressive, but.... is that your natural hair color? (blonde). Depending on the 'circumstances' we might ask you to dye your hair into a more 'modest' color......

yuck

8 ( +14 / -6 )

The only justification for this would be if he was streaming during working hours at the fire station. Companies should have zero say in anything you do outside your assigned work hours.

The amount of control exerted by schools/companies in Japan has always seemed truly bizarre to me. Students not being allowed to buy a snack on the way home (???) or workers having to behave in certain ways outside the office.

I understand a code of conduct at the workplace, but the second I clock out that should be the end of my company's concern with me.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I understand a code of conduct at the workplace, but the second I clock out that should be the end of my company's concern with me.

I've been translating many employee manuals throughout the years, and every work is a chance to realize how different and "weird" kind of society we live here. Last project I got the company used a lot of intimidating pictures to describe what will happen to you AND the company if you cause a traffic accident outside of work hours: the media will cause a huge scandal, we will lose hundreds of customers, it will be the end of our public trust, other workers will be overwhelmed dealing with your case, our people will be ostracized in the streets etc... wth

1 ( +4 / -3 )

AddfwynToday  12:26 pm JST

The only justification for this would be if he was streaming during working hours at the fire station. Companies should have zero say in anything you do outside your assigned work hours.

The amount of control exerted by schools/companies in Japan has always seemed truly bizarre to me. Students not being allowed to buy a snack on the way home (???) or workers having to behave in certain ways outside the office.

I understand a code of conduct at the workplace, but the second I clock out that should be the end of my company's concern with me.

I agree. working at a company doesn't mean you're teir slave. What's wrong with a little moonlighting? It isn't like he's giving trade secrets away or posting blogs badmouthing the fire dept. Ridiculous and absurd!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This is a typical Japanese way where screw the logic and follow the rules as if they were presented by God almighty himself. As others stated, if his performance was suffering because of his streaming then dock his salary, but doing it just because some (probably ancient) rule says so is idiotic on so many levels.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It would be OK to spend his free time playing pachinko and winning or going to the horse races but playing games at home and being paid for the advertising on your channel as others watch is wrong.

Logic, common sense and Japan.. sometimes these do not mix well.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Clearly they need to pay firefighters more! This is the second article this week about firefighters getting pay deductions for working side jobs. It's hard to say if they actually will ever pay more, what with all the white collar crime there is little left over for real working people.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“The whole ‘no side job’ rule is pretty outdated, isn’t it?”

There are a lot of rules in Japan that are pretty outdated.....

5 ( +8 / -3 )

As a former firefighter, the rule is not intended as an impediment - the intent is to keep focus on an occupation that requires full attention & awareness, as it is wedded to the health and welfare of the citizenry. A dangerous job that involves life & death situations. Being sharp and without distractions is key.

Having an outside job constitutes a distraction and can impair performance. Viewed objectively, it is rather easy to fully comprehend as to WHY. A mistake due to an adverse impact from an 'outside' job, be it simply any form of exhaustion and stress, can result in a danger to one's fellows and those one is dedicated to serving and protecting - life and death is a large part of the job.

He wants to be a YouTuber or whatever, fine, go do that.

In fact. This is a standard policy in other countries, including the U.S.A. It is not an outdated or archaic policy.

He doesn't work for a company. He is a public aka government employee. The rule is not arbitrary it is specific and purposeful. Outside employ interferes with 'the job'. There are no gray areas. It is a dedicated profession with genuine, actual dangers to oneself, fellow firefighters and the public. It is one of the most dangerous jobs, more so than police work. Lives are at stake. It is not akin to typical occupations. Outside employ is prohibited for very good reasons.

A haggard firefighter, who is such because of working outside hours, or stressed out about a revenue stream from a second job - not a good idea - the consequences are obvious.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

314 videos produced in only ten months is a rate of nearly one new video, every single day; as argued eloquently by the previous poster [02:26 pm JST] then it is entirely possible the firefighter was distracted, and not focused on his occupation...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ridiculous. Doesn’t impact on his job and the money will make up his pittance of a wage.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No fun allowed as usual I guess, Japan really needs to drop the "if it's fun you are not working" attitude. At all companies I have worked for here in Japan (in my case game companies) the people working is always working 10 times harder and longer but with less skill and no effort is put into working smart, and the result is usually an equally good or worse product but it takes ten times the manhours to achieve. Start awarding people for how fast they are instead of how many hours they spend warming their chairs. Let people be creative and have fun on their off time, it will only do them and you good. If they are able to make some extra money that is good for you as well, financially secured people are less stressed and will do a better job.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As a former firefighter, the rule is not intended as an impediment - the intent is to keep focus on an occupation that requires full attention & awareness, as it is wedded to the health and welfare of the citizenry. A dangerous job that involves life & death situations. Being sharp and without distractions is key.

Look, I am going to give you an example. I have a friend who sometimes works part time night shifts to get some extra cash. If he were a firefighter those night shifts would for sure affect his performance.

However, how the hell is game streaming affecting his performance? It is virtually the same as playing games as is or playing pachinko which is considered “normal” here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So if his hobby is water colour, he can paint all he wants, but if he ever sells something he paints he has crossed the line? He can make all the Youtube videos he wants, but if he gets renumeration because of youtube ad revenue, he has crossed the line? He can drink all he wants, but only if his drinking brings him money (somehow) he has crossed the line? Seems like what does not impair his work or the fire station's reputation should be allowed. In this case, the fire station (or the local government) has made itself look silly and petty, and damaged its own reputation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Richard Gallagher

As a former firefighter, the rule is not intended as an impediment - the intent is to keep focus on an occupation that requires full attention & awareness, as it is wedded to the health and welfare of the citizenry. A dangerous job that involves life & death situations. Being sharp and without distractions is key.

It's not about being public employee, it just Japan they have ridiculous rules, both written rule and unwritten rule. Even some can not drink simple water on duty.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/u.s.-soldier%E2%80%99s-failed-attempt-to-give-japanese-policemen-some-cool-drinks-impresses-internet%E2%80%99s-heart

Also whether firefighter can have side job outside Japan, they do from personal trainer to safety trainer.

https://firefighterinsider.com/can-firefighters-have-2-jobs-firefighter-side-hustles/

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Richard Gallagher

So the many firefighters in the US with their own side business, many in building trades, are somehow distracted from their work as a firefighter? Pardon me please if I find that far fetched in the extreme.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

t's not about being public employee, it just Japan they have ridiculous rules, both written rule and unwritten rule. Even some can not drink simple water on duty.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/u.s.-soldier%E2%80%99s-failed-attempt-to-give-japanese-policemen-some-cool-drinks-impresses-internet%E2%80%99s-heart

Wow. I still vividly remember seeing four German motorcycle cops sitting in their uniform leathers in a restaurant having pints of stout beer with their dinners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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