TOKYO – Japan's Agriculture Ministry reprimanded six bureaucrats after an internal probe found they spent work hours contributing to Wikipedia on topics unrelated to farm issues — including 260 entries about cartoon robots.
The six civil servants together made 408 entries on the popular Web site encyclopedia from ministry computers since 2003, an official said Friday.
One of the six focused solely on Gundam — the popular, long-running animated series about giant robots — to which he contributed 260 times.
The series has spun off intricate toy robots popular among schoolchildren as well as adults known as "otaku" nerds.
"The Agriculture Ministry is not in charge of Gundam," said ministry official Tsutomu Shimomura.
The other five bureaucrats scolded for shirking their duties focused their contributions on movies, typographical mistakes on billboard signs and local politics, Shimomura said.
The ministry's internal probe followed recent media allegations that a growing number of Japanese public servants were contributing to the Web encyclopedia, which anyone can edit, often to reflect their views.
The ministry verbally reprimanded each of the six officials, and slapped a ministry-wide order to prohibit access to Wikipedia at work, while disabling access to the site from the ministry, Shimomura said.
The ministry, however, did not object to their limited contributions on the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements.
An Imperial Household Agency official was reprimanded last month for using an agency computer to delete references on Wikipedia that criticized imperial tombs.