Directors from a House of Representatives panel on Friday urged lawmakers to refrain from e-mailing on their cellular phones while the chamber is in session, panel members said.

Several members of the Lower House Committee on Rules and Administration asked each political party to encourage orderly parliamentary proceedings by clearly instructing party members not to write, send or read e-mail messages while Diet debates are in progress.

“Even though (e-mailing) doesn’t make any noise, it cannot be overlooked. (Lawmakers’) actions are broadcast on television from cameras installed in the Parliament. It is disgraceful,” said Chuji Ito, a member of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

Committee chairman Takao Fujii of the Liberal Democratic Party added that e-mailing “disrupts order” in the chamber and “the sense of tension is lost.”

Reading newspapers and books is already prohibited during plenary sessions.

An increasing number of lawmakers have stopped using e-mail during debates at the request of their parties. But some younger legislators have objected to a uniform ban, saying e-mail allows them to receive emergency messages from their offices when proceedings run long.

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