Web updates OK’d for Diet candidates

Kyodo News

Political parties agreed Friday to lift a ban on updating Web sites and blogs operated by candidates running only for proportional representation in a Lower House election, lawmakers said.

Representatives of the parties reached the accord in a meeting Friday morning at the Diet chaired by Mitsuru Sakurai, a House of Councilors member from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

The parties have already agreed to lift a ban on updating Web sites and blogs operated by the parties and their candidates during campaigning for this summer’s Upper House election.

The public offices election law bans candidates running only for proportional representation in a House of Representatives election from distributing election documents during an official campaigning period, which could include Web sites and blogs.

At Friday’s meeting of representatives, the parties agreed to regard such an update during campaigning as an act by a party, not a candidate, the lawmakers said.

The parties will hold a final round of talks by representatives next Wednesday and are expected to agree to submit a bill for revising the election law.

The bill would lift a ban on updating Web sites and blogs but not the use of e-mail, they said.

If the bill clears the Diet during the current 150-day regular session through June 16, campaigning on the Internet could be allowed from this summer’s Upper House poll.

July 11 poll date?

Kyodo News

The government and the Democratic Party of Japan are nearing a decision to hold the House of Councilors election on July 11, ruling party sources said Friday.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Azuma Koshiishi, chairman of the DPJ’s Upper House caucus, agreed in principle on the election schedule when they met Thursday, they said.