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Elsewhere in the world, the kind of sōsenkyo (総選挙, general election) that fires up public interest and garners media attention is one where political parties compete for national office. In Japan, however, the sōsenkyo of aidoru gurūpu (アイドルグループ, idol group) AKB48 tends to grab far more attention than it deserves, which is ironic considering the indifference to real politics among young Japanese.

Tōhyōsū (投票数, the total number of votes cast) for the AKB48 sōsenkyo on June 8 was 2.65 million, more than double the 1.26 million for last year’s event. This year marked the fifth annual election, and the number of votes has been surging constantly every year.

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