A Japanese civil servant was fined around 1.44 million yen (approximately $10,900) for smoking on the job more than 4,500 times in over 14 years.
On March 20, authorities in Osaka fined the 61-year-old employee and two of his colleagues in the prefecture’s finance department for smoking while on duty despite receiving warnings against it. The authorities enforced a 10% pay cut for six months.
In Osaka, a total ban on smoking cigarettes on government premises was introduced in 2008. Government employees are no longer allowed to smoke during work hours, a ban that started in 2019.
The three employees were first warned by their supervisor in September 2022 after their human resource office received an anonymous tip regarding their actions.
During a follow-up interview in December 2022, the trio allegedly lied about no longer smoking.
The 61-year-old director-level employee was said to have violated the “duty of devotion” under Japan’s Local Public Service Act.
According to the prefectural government, he clocked around 355 hours and 19 minutes of smoking time during work hours.
In addition to his pay cut, he is required to return 1.44 million yen (approximately $10,900) of his salary.
Following the news, several netizens said the fine was too much.
Some of them argued that taking breaks to chat and have tea and snacks could also be considered as wasting time during work hours.