Politicians running for office in the Upper House elections this July need to get their Facebook and Twitter accounts ready. The ban on Internet electioneering is one step closer to being lifted as all political parties have agreed on the amendments to the Public Office Election Law. All that is needed now is for the Diet to pass the amendments this month, in time for the July elections.
The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito together with the Japan Restoration Party drew up the bill which was agreed to in principle by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. But they reached a standstill due to some limitations on the issue of campaign emails. The original amendment allowed only political parties to post paid banner that lead to their official websites. But the DPJ and Your Party counter-proposed that the candidates themselves and even third parties (including voters and supporters) should be able to purchase the banner ads for their campaign.
All parties managed to reach a compromise by including a supplemental provision in the bill that says “appropriate measures will be taken with regard to the lifting of the (email) ban.” It’s not clear what, how and when these appropriate measures will come about. But the amended bill will be put to vote in the House of Representatives special committee on political ethics and revision of the Public Office Election Law by this month, as early as April 5.