Panel takes up online campaigning

Kyodo

A Lower House panel began full-fledged deliberations Tuesday on removing the ban on online campaign activities in time for the Upper House election this summer.

A special committee on political ethics and revision of the Public Offices Election Law is examining a bill submitted by the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), as well as another bill presented by the Democratic Party of Japan and Your Party.

The DPJ, the main opposition force, and Your Party aim to allow voters to send campaign-related email, an option not included in the proposal of the LDP and the two other parties on the grounds that it may lead to the posting of slanderous messages on the Internet.

The LDP, New Komeito and Nippon Ishin call for limiting the use of emails to political parties and candidates. The three parties also recommend that people impersonating candidates face up to two years in prison or fines of up to ¥300,000, together with a suspension of their civil rights.

Both bills stipulate that the use of social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, will be allowed.

The ruling camp aims to enact legislation in mid-April after reaching a consensus with the DPJ and Your Party.