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Fire sergeant in west Japan hit with pay cut after earning $9,966 extra income on YouTube

Representatives of the city's fire department are seen apologizing at Wakayama City Hall on Jan. 11, 2022, after announcing a fire sergeant was hit with a disciplinary pay cut. (Mainichi/Atsuhisa Kato)

WAKAYAMA -- A fire sergeant here has been given a disciplinary pay cut after he was deemed to earn additional income by posting let's play videos on YouTube.

    The 33-year-old based at Kita Fire Station in the city of Wakayama uploaded videos from December 2020 to October 2021 and earned about 1.15 million yen (roughly $9,966). He was slapped with a 10% pay cut for a month on Jan. 11 as the Wakayama Municipal Government determined his actions violated the Local Public Service Act, which restricts local government employees from holding second jobs.

    According to the city's fire department, the sergeant made a YouTube channel to post videos of himself playing online games. He took part in an online multiplayer social deduction game in which players work together as crewmates, and edited and posted a total of 314 videos on the site. He garnered about 2.27 million views in total, and earned profits according to the number of views.

    In October 2021, the city was informed that "there may be a firefighter who might be moonlighting on YouTube." As participants had exchanged conversations when playing the games, the city identified the fire sergeant from his voice and questioned him, and he reportedly admitted to the allegations.

    The 33-year-old said that the money he made on YouTube was transferred to his family's bank account, and reportedly explained, "My recognition of what would be considered a second job was naive."

    (Japanese original by Atsuhisa Kato, Wakayama Bureau)

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