• The Associated Press


The Democratic Party of Japan, trailing in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 9 general election of the House of Representatives, is telling its candidates to court female voters.

Their advice: Look nice, and don’t lie — women can tell.

The DPJ has distributed 20,000 copies of a specially commissioned guide on how to appeal to women. The party is hoping its 277 candidates running for Lower House seats in the upcoming election — and their aides — will read it and take heed.

Kenichi Suzuki, a DPJ spokesman, said the 21-page pamphlet is based on recent survey results about women’s attitudes toward politics and leaders.

“Some of the opinions were quite severe,” Suzuki said. For instance, women said they lost interest in what politicians say if their hands or nails are dirty.

The guide has some basic tips: bad breath and dandruff are turnoffs. Shirts must be buttoned at the top and ties kept straight. Sweating is unattractive, but it’s OK to get wet in the rain or perspire if you’re clearly working hard.

Look people in the eye when shaking their hands. And don’t even try to deceive.

“Don’t lie under any circumstances,” the guide says. “Perceptive women can intuitively detect the essence of a candidate simply from their words.”

The DPJ’s advice is not just for men.

The party has some 29 female candidates running in the Nov. 9 election. The guide warns them to make sure they don’t have any runs in their stockings and that their nail polish is an appropriate color.

The DPJ, while being the largest opposition party, only has the support of 16 percent of the electorate, according to a poll by the Mainichi Shimbun earlier this month.

While it had the support of 23 percent of male voters, only 12 percent of women said they backed the party.

No other party is so shunned by women.

The same poll showed that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party secured roughly equal support from both sexes: 37 percent of men and 35 percent of women.

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