- POLITICS & GOVERNMENT
Reiwa topknot? Kishida parries Inose’s mask jape in Diet colloquy
12:27 JST, October 21, 2022
Lawmaker Naoki Inose of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) took off his mask when asking a question at a House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting Thursday, receiving a warning and jeers.
“Foreigners are calling the Japanese practice of wearing masks the ‘chonmage topknot of the Reiwa era,’” Inose said as he began removing his mask to give Prime Minister Fumio Kishida a question, arguing that the question seat and Cabinet seats were two meters apart.
Committee Chairman Shinsuke Suematsu cautioned the former Tokyo governor, amid cries of, “Follow the rules!”
Inose put on his mask again at the urging of his fellow lawmakers.
In his response, Kishida said: “It is said that answering questions in the Diet creates [airborne] droplets. When my answers are inadequate, loud voices arise in the hall,” drawing laughter from the audience.
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