Campaigning for Sunday’s second wave of quadrennial unified local elections has highlighted a legal loophole that allows candidates to go to extremes — including nudity — to gain votes. In contrast with the ubiquitous portrait shots preferred by most candidates, the campaign poster for Teruki Goto, an independent running for the Chiyoda Ward Assembly in Tokyo, went viral after it showed him posing nude against a Rising Sun flag motif while raising a katana over the Imperial Seal, his genitals covered by his name.
According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the use of nudity is not banned because there are no restrictions on poster design in the Public Offices Election Law. All posters are legal as long they bear the name of the candidate and are posted on the designated boards.
The election law bans campaigning for commercial interests and regulates both the size and number of posters allowed per candidate, but that’s it, a ministry official explained.
“Campaign posters are aimed at introducing candidates and their activities. (The content is) not regulated by law,” the official said, explaining the ministry has no authority to evaluate content.