OSAKA -- As many as 2,356 Osaka prefectural and municipal government workers were found to have eaten out in "groups of five or more" or "after 9 p.m." on 558 occasions since March 1, even though the prefectural government has been asking residents to refrain from such practices.
The governments announced on April 27 their survey results on the eating behavior of their employees. Officials said, "We would like to apologize that those asking residents to follow the rules broke them themselves." The governments intend to respond harshly to the revelations and possibly punish the offenders.
The Osaka Municipal Government conducted a survey on all of its roughly 35,000 employees including teachers and other school staff after a surge in coronavirus infections among its workers dining out in groups.
According to the municipal government, a total of 1,164 workers, including four at director-general level, attended 251 group dining sessions among general employees between March 1 and April 4, many of which were farewell parties. As many as 25 people attended one gathering, and one worker joined five such get-togethers. Breaking down the members by departments, 160 people worked at the waterworks bureau and 154 at the fire department. Among teachers and other school staff members, 447, including three principals, took part in 97 group dining sessions.
Meanwhile, the Osaka Prefectural Government conducted a survey on about 24,000 employees including teachers and other school staffers. General employees, including one at manager level and four at assistant-manager level, joined 72 group dining sessions attended by 332 workers between March 1 and April 6. Among them, five or more workers took part in 65 such gatherings, and 14 parties continued beyond 9 p.m. Among prefectural school staff, 413 workers, including three principals, attended 138 group dining sessions.
Asked to comment on the revelations, Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura told reporters: "It's unforgiveable that government employees act in defiance of rules set by the prefectural government. We plan to consider penalties."
(Japanese original by Mirai Nagira and Kensuke Yaoi, Osaka City News Department)