Osaka Mayor and co-head of the Japan Restoration Party Toru Hashimoto stated today that he would continue to use the Twitter social network throughout the period leading to Japan’s general election on December 16th. Under Japanese election laws, all forms of internet campaigning are banned, meaning political candidates are not allowed to Tweet, use Facebook, make posts on their websites, or even send emails during the period beginning Tuesday, December 4th.
Hashimoto is very popular on the social network, for a Japanese politician that is, with over 8,400 Tweets and more than 900,000 followers at present. He defends his choice to keep sharing thoughts on Twitter with the explanation that he isn’t a candidate for prime minister, so as long as he doesn’t ask for votes, there shouldn’t be an issue. He currently holds the positions of Osaka Mayor, and deputy leader for the Japan Restoration Party, so there is no way he can be elected to parliament at this time.
While Japan is often seen as the high-tech capital of the world, it often has backwards tendencies to avoid computers and the internet at all costs. The country even still relies on fax machines. The laws over election campaigning were formed before the internet came along, but instead of adapting them, all electronic campaigning is prohibited. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry says that anything that can be displayed on a type of computer screen is considered a type of flyer, and those are strictly regulated under Japan’s Public Office Election Law. As a result, the two weeks before elections are reduced to little more than candidates and supporters driving around town and shouting out their names with megaphones.
The Liberal Democratic Party’s Shinzo Abe is a candidate for prime minister, and he has made waves recently by being one of the first Japanese politicians to truly take advantage of Facebook. As he is expected to win the election, he better work hard to fight his social networking addiction for the next few weeks.
[via Times Live]
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