Police are on the alert for candidates who may be tempted to jump the gun and launch their online campaigns for this Sunday’s Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election.
The Metropolitan Police Department has assigned a cybercrime investigator to its task force on campaign violations as recent legal changes allowing Internet electioneering won’t take effect until the Upper House race in July.
Under the amended public offices election law, Internet use by politicians for campaigning purposes during official the election periods will be allowed for the first time, allowing candidates to make use of the Web, including social networking sites and email, to engage voters.
Before the official campaign period for the Tokyo assembly race started Friday, election administration officials called attention to the ban on online activities.
The police task force is staffed with an officer from the cybercrime division and investigators from the white-collar crime division. The officer will give technological advice to investigations conducted by local police.
According to a senior official, the MPD will look into tips on illegal online postings and track down and warn the individuals responsible.
It will also be on the lookout for people pretending to be political candidates, as well as false accusations and defamation.