Live streaming in a Japanese city where politicians go to make sure they stay awake at meetings


The new policy stems from citizens’ reaction after city council members saw naps as they read novels during discussions.

City Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecturehe had a problem. Citizens pointed out that many members of the city council committed irregularities. Worse, they brazenly engaged in this unethical conduct in council halls.

So what offenses have occurred? Taking bribes? Do you catch interns? No, they were sleeping during city council meetingsas seen in the video here.

To be fair, no one showed up in pajamas with a pillow and a blanket. Instead, those who slept were: dozing in their seats while their colleagues gave speeches and presented topics for debate. Even so, most people would say they would prefer their elected representatives to be at least aware when they are allegedly discussing and establishing public policies that influence their constituents. Oh, and apart from those who have fallen asleep, one city councilor was seen with a history novel in hand, reading it in his seat while he was supposed to listen to the ongoing discussion.

The inhabitants of Ichikawa were, of course, very worried about this. When a nap was first noticed in the summer, more than 100 phone calls and letters were received into the city with complaints with news such as: “Do your job!”, “This is beyond laziness” and “They should be removed from office.”

In an effort to restore the public’s faith in the council, more zealous members came up with the idea. About five years ago, Ichikawa City Council started broadcasting its plenary sessions on its YouTube channel, and until last summer the camera usually zoomed in and focused on who was standing on the podium at the front of the hall and addressing other members. Now, however, the cameras are rotated more often to show the faces of listening council members so that everyone watching the broadcast can see if they are shown in this section of the video.

The face view is key. Seen from behind, council members may confidently claim that they are not sleeping, but are sitting stealthily and breathing deeply, possibly with their head tilted at a slightly unusual angle, while paying close attention to the proceedings. However, with the camera focused on their faces, anyone sleeping at work will be caught red-handed / eyes closed.

The new camera angles began to be used in September, the chairman of the city council, Osami Matsuaga, said “Thanks to this close action, I hope that all members of the council will behave properly and will do their best to regain the trust of our townspeople.” Yuki Sato, her first term councilor, also expressed her support for the counteraction. “I think it’s a very good thing for people to be able to visually check on board members with their devices. This creates a cohesive atmosphere in which board meetings should be taken seriously. “

However, turning the cameras over did not fix the problem right away. During the September council meetings, the last live session, some members were still nodding their tipsand some have expressed their dissatisfaction with the new camera protocol saying: “The real problem is that discussions make you sleepy. “ and “The drawback is in the uninteresting, uninvolved discussions.” One even went so far as to say “I don’t agree with them telling us to ‘Don’t go to sleep’ like we’re kids or something.”

▼ It seems that the most effective way to avoid people telling you “Stay awake” is to stay awake in the first place, but apparently it’s too complicated a strategy for this councilor.

However, several Twitter commentators believe it is perfectly legitimate to treat offensive council members as bad children.

“I think even the students could come up with better excuses than the members of the council.”
“They are less mature than real children. Take naps during your regular work and they will come in handy.
“There is absolutely no sense of responsibility. When I think about how our tax money goes to their salaries, it makes me want to flush them. “
“If you’re going to be so lazy, just quit already.”
“How about this: in return for a 100 yen donation to the city, you can throw a rubber band at a city council member who has fallen asleep. [like teachers do to kids who sleep in class in anime and manga]”.

The latter seems to be the real powerhouse for Ichikawa, but it does not appear that the city is ready to implement such a program yet. As the next council session is due to start next month, however, it would probably be a good idea for each council member to catch up on sleep before the next batch of plenary sessions starts next month.

Source: NHK, FNN Prime online, Twitter
Top image: Pakutaso
Place the image: Pakutaso
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