Tokyo Notes

Too Much Tweeting?

Yukio Hatoyama’s Cabinet gets carried away with social networking.

A wave of enthusiasm for the microblogging site Twitter among politicians in Japan caused red faces this week. In this country of rigorous timekeeping it was bad enough that three Cabinet ministers turned up 15 minutes late for a parliamentary committee meeting. But the blushes deepened when it turned out that one of them had been sending a tweet two minutes after the scheduled start of the meeting.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, Kazuhiro Haraguchi, the internal affairs minister, arrived at the room to jeers for his tardiness and for his tweeting.

So how did anyone know about his miniblogging? Because, of course, they were tweeting too. In fact, Hiroshige Seko of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party had already sent out three tweets by the time the ministers arrived.

This probably isn’t quite what Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama had in mind when he started tweeting himself on New Year’s Day and encouraged others to get closer to the people via the cyber warbling site…