Lawmaker's disaster helmet drill sparks Twitter debate


Some Japanese lawmakers giggled this week during a drill to practice the use of disaster prevention helmets, at least one of which was put on backwards, prompting Twitter users to question if they were making light of a life-and-death matter.

Video images broadcast on television and other media showed Finance Minister Taro Aso smiling after successfully donning one of the collapsible plastic helmets, and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi wore a broad grin.

"You never know when disaster will strike," Tadamori Oshima, the lower house speaker, said at the end of Tuesday's session, wearing one of the white helmets with gray chinstraps that are reminiscent of traditional samurai headgear. "I want you always to be on alert."

The drill in parliament's lower house was the second since the kits, stowed under members' seats, were introduced in 2017.

School disaster drills are not unusual in Japan, where earthquakes are common. A quake of magnitude 9.0 in March 2011 caused a massive tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Despite getting instructions on how to unfold and wear the helmets, at least one parliamentarian put his on back-to-front. Others needed a helping hand.

Some Twitter users called the lawmakers' levity off-key.

"The Speaker (of the lower house) was talking about being on alert, but others were laughing," said one.

"Before protecting themselves, they should protect people's lives," complained another.

Others took a lighter view.

"Mr Aso's and Mr Motegi's smiling faces are charming," wrote one apparent fan of the cabinet ministers.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Japanese politicians are extremely incompetent, so I highly doubt they were making light of a life-and-death matter.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Putting on those ugly helmets would make me smile and even laugh. It doesn't mean they're making light of safety for the population.

They're real job is to make the safety warnings/alerts more effective and clearer.

On another note, news reporters wearing helmets while reporting on a storm or after one, while there's no real danger, always has me laughing especially when senior citizens and school kids are walking to school in the background without one on and staring at the newscaster.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In all seriousness though, the helmet in question does not have a clear orientation which one is the front or the back. It looks like a Chinese food takeout box. As appealing as folding helmets are, they'd be better off with more conventional helmets

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a really stupid thing to get mad about, who wouldn't smile in that situation?

The helmets are ridiculous really, what kind of disaster is going to affect the Diet building which would be at all mitigated by having these old guys take the time to remove, assemble, and wear these helmets instead of, you know, evacuating the building right away?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Watch and try not to laugh!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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