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Japan: Diet Enacts Bill Allowing Online Campaigning in Elections
Source: http://www.japantoday.com
Source Date: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Internet Governance
Country: Japan
Created: Apr 23, 2013

The Diet on Friday passed a bill allowing online campaigning for future elections. The bill, which is an amendment to the 1950 public offices election law, proposed that online campaigning and online voting start with this summer’s House of Councillors (upper house) election.


It was passed by the lower house last week.


The bill enables election campaigns to use any form of SNS, such as Facebook, Twitter and home pages. The use of email will be restricted to parties and registered candidates only. 


The bill was one of the first issues Prime Minister Shinzo Abe mentioned after he was elected last December. He said that removing the ban on election campaigning over the Internet would lead to higher voter turnout. That election saw voter turnout fall to a record low 59.3%.


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday that he hoped the new bill would get young people interested in politics.


To date, electoral laws that predate the Internet era treat anything appearing on a screen as akin to a leaflet, which means it falls under restrictions on how many fliers any nominee can produce.


Candidates and their supporters have not been permitted to Tweet, use Facebook, update their websites or even send emails during the official campaign period. They spend two frenetic weeks driving and walking around their districts doing little more than shouting out their names.
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