TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (search) scolded rookie lawmakers Thursday for reading comic books and talking on their cell phones during legislative sessions, according to a newspaper report.
The national Asahi newspaper said Koizumi scolded 30 first-term lawmakers from his Liberal Democratic Party (search) during a luncheon.
"Don't send e-mail on your cell phones or read comic books in Parliament while in session," Koizumi was quoted as saying.
"You can be seen very clearly from the prime minister's seat. You should really stop that — it's disgraceful."
Koizumi's office said he hosted a luncheon Thursday, but it could not immediately confirm his comments.
Comic books, often with adult themes, are common reading material for middle-aged men. Japan's younger generation also is hooked on using cell phones to send e-mail.
The country's youngest lawmakers sit in the front of Parliament, while their elders sit in the back of the chamber.