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Online campaigning ban likely history

Kyodo

The Liberal Democratic Party has begun working on a bill to submit to the Diet next month to remove the ban on online campaigning in time for this summer’s House of Councilors election, LDP sources said.

The revision sought to the Public Office Election Law would allow candidates and political parties to actively use websites and blogs during campaigning periods, the sources said.

The LDP will soon start talks on the matter with New Komeito, its ruling coalition partner, they said.

It is likely the legislation will clear the Diet during the session starting later this month, given support for the ban’s removal in the opposition camp, including Nippon Ishin no Kai and the Democratic Party of Japan.

In 2010, the then-ruling DPJ, along with the LDP and New Komeito, agreed to legalize the updating of websites by candidates and parties under certain conditions, but the Diet failed to enact the revision.

The conditions included requiring candidates and political parties to identify themselves and provide email addresses when updating their websites during campaign periods.

The deal then between the ruling and opposition camps called for excluding Facebook sites, Twitter and emails from authorized use, on the grounds they could be abused by noncandidates or used to slander official candidates.

The LDP now plans to revive talks on whether to drop the ban on using those tools as well, they said.