Japanese lawmakers dial up digital reform in Diet

TOKYO, Nov 30 (News On Japan) - As Japan's parliament inches towards digitalization, this week eliminating stenographers from the Upper House, smartphones are still banned while laptops are permitted, spurring bipartisan members to take action.

Deliberations began earlier this week at the Senate Budget Committee.

Constitutional Democratic Party member Tsujimoto Kiyomi, a senator, said, "On March 19, 2019, a cautionary note about ridesharing was included for the first time in the 'Safety Guidelines.' Who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time?"

Asked this, Minister for Digital Affairs Taro Kono responded, "Let me check."

He searched on his smartphone, and then...

Minister Takai said, "Is that okay?"

The room buzzed with commotion...

The Chairman interjected, "Right now, the use of smartphones is..."

Minister Taro Kono replied, "Oh, I see, it's not allowed."

His use of the smartphone was cautioned.

In the Senate, while the use of laptops and tablets is permitted, smartphones are banned due to the potential for disruption. However, there is a rising movement supporting the use of smartphones in an appropriate manner.

Former Environment Minister Koizumi Shinjiro of the Liberal Democratic Party and other bipartisan parliamentarians have revealed plans to establish a subcommittee aimed at promoting the digitization of the Japanese Diet.

On Tuesday, the Upper House decided to discontinue the use of stenographers in the plenary sessions.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper House recorded interactions between members by hand within the chamber. However, since April 2020, the content of speeches has been typed on computers in a separate room. This change was made due to the lack of new stenographer hires and a decrease in their numbers, among other reasons.

Nov 30 (ANNnewsCH) - 調べ物をするときパソコンはいいけれど、スマホは禁止。そんな国会のデジタル化は進むのか、超党派の議員が動き出しました。  ...continue reading

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