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Bill on Net politicking proceeds

Kyodo

The Lower House passed a bill Friday aimed at scrapping the ban on online election campaigning, and it could be enacted as early as next week following deliberations in the Upper House.

The revision to the 1950 Public Offices Election Law would liberalize the use of social-networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as websites, during official periods of electioneering.

The bill was jointly submitted by the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition and the opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

It was also backed by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and Your Party, following an agreement reached with the ruling camp to insert a clause saying the parties will study how to remove the ban on the use of emails in the next Diet election after July’s Upper House race.

The legislation also stipulates penalties of imprisonment, fines or a suspension of the right to vote for those who deliberately misstate certain matters, such as names.