Plan in works to liberalize online campaigning

Kyodo

Liberal Democratic Party chief Shinzo Abe, the incoming prime minister, on Friday showed readiness to lift the current ban on the use of the Internet in election campaigning.

“Online campaigning should be liberalized by the next election,” Abe told reporters after a meeting with business leaders, referring to next summer’s Upper House election.

“The use of the Internet is increasingly desired for election-related public relations activities and information exchange. It is also expected to help push up voter turnout,” Abe said.

At present, the Public Offices Election Law strictly regulates distribution of paper leaflets and posters during official election campaigning.

Internet contents visually presented on computer screens, which are interpreted as having the same nature as leaflets and posters, are also subject to the regulation. Candidates are thus banned from updating their websites during the official campaigning period.