While other high-ranking politicians waited for the escalator, digital policymaker opted for analog method.

On Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumiko Kishida selected new appointees as foreign and defense ministers. Following the cabinet reshuffling, the officials gathered at the Imperial Palace for a commemorative ceremony and group photo, but it’s a different snapshot that got people talking.

After the conclusion of the ceremony, a long line of cabinet members stood on an elevator carrying them towards the exit. But as more than a dozen of Japan’s top politicians relied on machinery to carry them up to the second floor, one man rejected such motorized convenience. The irony? The one guy who chose to take the stairs is the person you’d most expect to be happy to make use of technology: Taro Kono, Japan’s Minister of Digital Affairs.

Dressed in the dapper long tailcoat customarily worn by the Japanese cabinet for formal occasions, Kono, who previously bucked convention by pressing the Japanese government to stop using floppy discs, ended up in stark visual contrast to his colleagues by walking while everyone else was standing. The photo has been met with online comments including:

“He’s the Digital Minister, but choose analog!”
“A lot of politicians are pretty old, so it’s probably hard for them to walk up a flight of stairs. Is this Kono’s way of showing that he’s still young and energetic?”
“It looks like some sort of political cartoon.”
“Taro, going his own way.”
“Maybe he just really likes the soft, plush feel of carpet?”
“The black of his suit really does stand out nicely against the red carpet.”
“I’d choose to walk up a stairway that looks like that too.”

Kono himself noticed all the online chatter and speculation, which prompted him to clarify his motive behind taking the stairs, posting:

“I just wanted to go home quickly.”

Kono hasn’t said why he was in such a rush to get home, but perhaps the reason was bacon-related.

Source: Twitter/@konotaromp, Twitter/@mainichiphoto
Top image: Pakutaso
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