A ban on using the Internet in election campaigns has been lifted ahead of the Dec. 14 lower house election, following the upper house election held in summer last year. Each party is participating in the cybercampaign in their own way to attract the attention of voters. The Liberal Democratic Party has made a dedicated website. Linked with Twitter and Facebook accounts of its candidates, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the website is constantly sharing information from candidates on the campaign trail. On Tuesday, the website presented a photo of the prime minister as he visited the area affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake to make a speech supporting another candidate. Komeito has made a website focusing on the party’s most important pledge — introducing a reduced consumption tax rate system for daily necessities and other items when the tax increase to 10 percent is put in place. Their site highlights the importance of the introduction, with an animation and charts. Page views had exceeded 60,000 as of Tuesday, according to the website, which sports the catchphrase “You can understand in one minute.”
The Democratic Party of Japan uploaded a news program that runs for about five minutes to YouTube, a video sharing website, on the day, with information on campaigns by its senior members and candidates. “Since our opportunity to be seen in the news media was reduced after losing power, we need to promote ourselves on our own,” a senior party member said.
As for the Japan Innovation Party, coleader Toru Hashimoto and other members had already been promoting the party online. Hashimoto has about 1.25 million followers on his Twitter account. One advantage for the party is the high popularity of its coleaders, Hashimoto and Kenji Eda, who are pushed to the front in the online campaign. On Wednesday a video clip of both coleaders’ street speeches was posted, along with introductions of candidates around the nation on Twitter.
According to a nationwide opinion poll conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun after the most recent upper house election, held last year, only 8 percent of voters who responded reported having considered information online when they decided which party would get their vote. It is still unclear how campaigns using the Internet will positively affect efforts to secure votes in this election.
Full Article: Parties begin to seek votes online – The Japan News.