Police detect 23 cases of illegal online campaigning; no arrests made


Twenty-three cases of illegal Internet campaigning for Sunday’s House of Councilors election have been detected and warnings issued, the National Police Agency reported Saturday.

However, police have made no arrests because none of the cases were deemed serious violations of the election campaign law, the NPA added.

The police issued warnings for 10 violations involving Web pages and blogs, eight that concerned email and five related to social networking sites, according to the agency.

The NPA noted that 13 of the cases would have been judged legal if they had occurred during the official campaign period, which began July 4. The 23 offenses included one in which a voter conducted a popularity vote on his or her home page, while a paid online advertisement was cited in another case.

Most restrictions on the use of the Internet for campaign purposes were lifted for the first time in Japan ahead of Sunday’s Upper House poll. In the last election for the chamber in 2010, when online campaigning was strictly prohibited, the total number of violations came to 12.

This time round, the police issued warnings in 2,034 cases overall, up 198 from the 2010 election, and arrested 14 people on charges that included attacking staff members and ripping up campaign posters of rival candidates, the agency reported.