A simple reason for a bizarre scandal.

In the modern workplace, where we have such easy access to Internet-connected devices, there’s often a temptation to secretly take a break and chill out with a video or two while you’re actually supposed to be working. Maybe that’s not the worst professional sin you can commit, but it’s still pretty embarrassing to be caught in the act, especially when you’ve got one of the most important jobs in the country.

So when Japanese politician Hirai Takuya, a member of the House of Representatives representing Kagawa Prefecture’s District 1, was spotted sneaking some personal video time on his tablet during a May 13 Cabinet Committee meeting to discuss a proposed amendment to the Public Prosecutor’s Office Law, a lot of people were disappointed to see the seven-time-elected statesman acting like a teenage convenience store part-timer with a poor work ethic. He didn’t help his image, either, with his choice of viewing material: a video of a crocodile.

Hirai initially said he only watched the video for a few seconds while other members of the meeting were speaking, but it later came to light that he’d spent some five minutes watching the crocodile walking around and chomping on a large snake. On last Tuesday’s episode of broadcaster TBS’ news program Hodo 1930, Takuya apologized for the incident and gave a frank, and also frankly bizarre, explanation. “I apologize. My actions were imprudent,” Takuya admitted, before going on to explain:

“I took my seat, turned on my tablet, and there was a video commercial showing a crocodile crossing the fairway of a golf course. If the video was about something other than a crocodile, I don’t think I would have spent so much time watching it, but I like crocodiles, you see.”

This appears to be Takuya’s first direct address of his motivations for watching the video during the meeting, and the fact that it comes now makes it seem like his PR team spent the past four months trying, and failing, to come up with any more sophisticated justification, and the politician has decided that simply coming clean is the best course of action to take.

▼ Will uncovering politicians’ favorite animals, then directing their tablets to videos of them to entice them into similar scandals, become a new underhanded tactic in Japanese politics?

We won’t know until the next election whether Takuya’s crocodile candor has endeared him to voters or if his admission for a lack of willpower where the species is involved has caused them to lose even more respect for him. However, we can sort of sympathize with the guy. We get it, Mr. Takuya. Crocodiles are pretty cool, and we think you’d enjoy these articles about the creatures. Just save them for when you’re not in a meeting, OK?

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko
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Insert images: Pakutaso
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