During a House of Representatives Cabinet Committee meeting on May 13, Takuya Hirai, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, was photographed watching a video of a crocodile on his tablet. Unsurprisingly, the video was not at all related to the meeting’s topic, which was about the retirement age for prosecutors.
When questioned by the press, Hirai claimed he had only been watching the video for “about one or two seconds”, but it has been reported that he was actually watching the video for about five minutes. The incident is reported to have happened just nine minutes after the meeting had begun, while two other politicians were in the middle of a question and answer session. “The video just appeared and started playing while I was listening [to the other politicians],” Hirai commented.
Japanese netizens were amused by Hirai’s viewing habits.
“If he were watching a cat video, I’d forgive him.”
“This is how our taxes are being used…”
“I’m just glad he wasn’t watching porn!”
“A crocodile video is not just something that ‘appears’.”
“I actually thought this was kind of cute! Especially when he said ‘the video just appeared’!”
“His excuse is junior high student level of lame.”
“The fact that he can’t concentrate for even nine minutes… is he an elementary school student?!”
Tablets were only recently permitted to be used in Japanese parliament after the Digital Procedural Bill was passed in April 2019. Coincidentally, Hirai was the first politician to start using tablets during the meetings. After his embarrassing crocodile blunder, he may be reconsidering leaving his tablet at home.
However, he is not the first person to be busted doing something non-work related whilst on the clock, nor do we doubt he’ll be the last. Perhaps Hirai should consider working from home from now on, to avoid embarrassing fiascoes like this.
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