Ministers sorry for watching TV in Diet session

Kyodo News

Economic and fiscal policy minister Kaoru Yosano and Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa have apologized to Diet leaders for watching TV on a cell phone during a House of Councilors plenary session.

“I was watching the TV to see what (the session) looked like,” Yosano, who owns the phone, told Takeo Nishioka, chairman of the Upper House Rules and Administration Committee, on Wednesday.

The Upper House has banned cell phones from its floor since 1995.

The two ministers apologized to Nishioka and Upper House President Satsuki Eda.

The incident took place on Oct. 3 when Shozaburo Jimi, vice leader of the tiny Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), was asking questions.

Jimi has demanded an apology from the two ministers.

“I am sorry for my bad manners,” Yosano told Nishioka. “Because Mr. Jimi’s questioning was so blistering, I wanted to see how it appeared on TV.”

The latest edition of the Shukan Shincho weekly magazine carried a photo in which Yosano and Nakagawa were watching TV on a cell phone.