Japan's Computer-Illiterate Prime Minister to Conduct IT Class

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, a self-confessed computer dunce, will help conduct a class on a favorite, if unlikely, subject: IT.

The prime minister will not attend the classes in person, but an animated image of Mori will assist an owl instructing visitors to the government's INPAKU Internet exposition on such basics as Japan's IT-related laws.

The online class, entitled "Study with the prime minister! An easy IT class,'' will be on offer in the expo's virtual pavilion, a spokesman for the prime minister said in a statement on Thursday. The expo, due to start on Dec. 31, is a government project intended to promote Japan's so-called IT revolution, one of Mori's core policy initiatives.

Television commercials publicizing the event show Mori with a personal computer while drinking a cup of Japanese tea. Never mind that he, by his own admission, never even touched a computer before taking charge in April.

Japan's premier was left red-faced in November after domestic media quoted him telling an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that countries could undergo an IT revolution even if they lacked electricity -- as long as they had cellular phones.

Mori appeared to be overlooking the need for electricity to recharge mobile phones.