The average voter turnout for Japan’s House of Councillors election from all 47 prefectures was relatively low at 52.61%, the lowest since 1995 according to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs revealed on Monday. The same numbers show that there was a 5.31 percent decrease from the previous 2010 election for the upper house, maybe pointing towards a general disillusionment of the Japanese people towards politics.
If the numbers are separated by prefecture, the highest voter turnout was at Shimane Prefecture, at 60.89 percent. These numbers were followed by 60.76 percent in Yamagata and 58.88 percent in Tottori. If these numbers are analyzed, they would show that even in the top voting prefectures, almost half of the population chose not to get involved. The northeastern prefecture of Aomori saw the lowest voter turnout, at 46.25 percent.
The government recently allowed Internet campaigning for this Upper House election, something that was not permitted in elections before now. It seems that the adding of online campaigning as a tool for candidates did not help in convincing the citizens to come out and vote. According to exit polls, around 10 percent of voters said they took into account candidates’ information on the Internet for the Upper House elections, not a very significant number. The data seems to indicate that online campaigning has had very limited effects on this particular election. The numbers are even more significant when one takes into consideration the 86.1 percent who said that they did not consider any online campaigning when they decided who to vote for.
In hindsight, the online element of this election – being that it was the first time this was allowed – was heavily controlled. There was strict police monitoring on any violation of the statutes for Internet campaigning. Japan’s National Police Agency said on Saturday that they have detected 23 cases of illegal online behavior. Those incidents and the people responsible for them were issued warnings, the NPA added. No arrests were made, as no serious problems resulted from these illegal campaign efforts.
[via Jiji Press]