Ogata was speaking at the podium when the chairman, Shinya Kutsuki, asked her if she had something in her mouth. She explained that she was sucking a lozenge because she was suffering from a cold and did not want to disrupt proceedings by coughing repeatedly.
The session was suspended while assembly members voted in favour of forming an ad hoc committee to decide how to discipline her. It composed an apology and demanded that she read it out. When Ogata refused, the committee reconvened and the chamber voted to suspend her for the rest of the day. The incident held up council business for eight hours.
“It is unacceptable for a responsible adult to ask questions with a cough drop in their mouth,” said the mayor of Kumamoto, Kazufumi Onishi, according to Kyodo News. “She needs to admit that she was at fault.”
(Justin McCurry, “Japanese politician in baby row thrown out again — for sucking cough drop,” The Guardian, 10-1-18)
(c) 2018 JMN.