The Liberal Democratic Party has learned that the totally unexpected can sometimes happen in the high-tech age.
Baffled members of the LDP’s presidential election management committee were hastily summoned to an impromptu meeting Thursday afternoon. The agenda: A postcard to be used to vote for the Sept. 20 election had been put up for auction on a Web site organized by Yahoo Japan Corp. What to do about it?
“This is something we never dreamed of happening,” bewildered committee chairman Kazuo Tanikawa, 72, told a news conference later in the day.
The committee said the voting card, photographs of which were posted on the Web site, is genuine. It is one of 65,210 such postcards sent to registered party members in Tokyo.
“This is genuine, of course . . . Recommended for LDP or Koizumi buffs!” reads the comment posted by the owner of the card.
The successful bidder can vote for his or her candidate — and the vote will be valid, one committee member said.
The winner of the election — which will be decided by tallying votes cast by LDP Diet members and those distributed to prefectural chapters, which will reflect the voting trends of rank-and-file party members — is likely to also become prime minister, given the party’s secure majority in the House of Representatives.
The committee hastily decided to send a contents-certified letter to Yahoo Japan, asking the Web site operator to remove the voting-card from the auction.
The bidding price, which began at 1,000 yen, surged to 5,000 yen after a TV station aired news of it around 6 p.m. Thursday, a member of the committee’s secretariat said.
The auction was suddenly closed by the seller soon after, according to a Yahoo Japan spokesman. The exhibitor might have seen the story on TV, he added.
Yahoo Japan will remove from its site any future attempts to auction voting cards, citing consideration for the social impact of the LDP election, the spokesman said.