Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has drafted a legislation that will authorize the use of online tools like websites, email and social networks for election campaigning. They are hoping to pass this legislation in time for the House of Councillors election in July.
While most of the world has already waken up to the fact that the Internet is definitely needed during an election period, Japan has laws that prohibits any candidate from using any of the available digital tools during the two-week campaign period. When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was elected last December, one of his first moves was to meet with the chiefs of information technology companies and tell them he plans to lift the ban on the use of the Internet for election campaigning, citing higher voter turnout for countries like the United States.
Goshi Hosono, the Secretary-General for the Democratic Party of Japan, just a few weeks ago called for a change in the outdated law before the Upper House election. The New Komeito party and the opposition Japan Restoration Party also support the lifting of the ban.
The proposed revisions to the Public Office Election Law will enable online election campaigning to meet the demands of the time. But they would need to be more specific on whether the candidate and parties can use only the websites or all types of online communication tools. The LDP’s proposal also includes allowing organizations and individuals to update their websites and blogs for campaign-related purposes.