A member of the National Diet of Japan, the federal lawmaking body, was caught on Wednesday watching videos of snakes and alligators during a committee meeting.
Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun reported that the incident took place during the meeting among House of Representative members called to discuss revisions to a law that would allow for an extension of retirement age for prosecutions.
As proceedings were underway, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member and former Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Takuya Hirai reportedly drifted his eyes towards a video where a large alligator was seen attacking a snake.
Hirai’s attention reportedly diverted towards the video as debating between independent Diet member Masato Imai and Minister in charge of Administrative Reform Ryota Takeda began to intensify. He is said to have been watching the videos for around five minutes.
When asked why he was watching such video rather than participating in important legislative affairs, Hirai reportedly got “snappy” and insisted he only watched the clip “for about one or two seconds.”
Journalists then pointed out the clip was playing for considerably longer than a few seconds, to which he responded: “It happened while I was listening to their questions. I was listening (to them). It (the video) began playing by accident.”
Tablet devices have been allowed in the Diet since April last year, although the Lower House secretariat commented that watching videos unrelated to the relevant topics is “unfavorable.” Hirai, who was first elected to the Diet in 2000 and has held a variety of important government positions, is reportedly the only legislator to have ever taken up that specific privilege.