Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

You’re late, minister!

March 3, 2010

Forget about funding scandals, budget debate or rifts over foreign policy: the big to-do in Japan’s parliament this morning was over three tardy cabinet ministers.


The upper house budget committee meeting had been scheduled to begin at 8:50 a.m. but had to be delayed until the three showed up, leading to an uproar from the opposition and a short recess.

When the trio – transport minister Seiji Maehara, internal affairs minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi and national strategy minister Yoshito Sengoku — arrived, they bowed before the committee and apologised.

Haraguchi, who media say was tweeting at 8:52 when he should have been in parliament, blamed his assistants for a scheduling error.

“I was following my schedule, like this,” he said, removing a crumpled sheet of paper in front of reporters and TV cameras and pointing at the 9 a.m. entry. “It said nine o’clock so that’s when I came …  However, even if it is an administrative error, in the end it is the minister’s mistake.”

All three were later reprimanded by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano.

Still, all’s well that ends well: the minsters seem to have learned their lesson and in the afternoon were in their seats by 12:54 — six minutes before the committee was scheduled to reconvene.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Kim Kyung Hoon

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