During the recent campaign for the Upper House, a YouTube video emerged revealing the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s attitude toward the electorate. A woman attending a rally in Fukushima by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe carried a placard that asked the LDP leader his stance on the nuclear energy controversy. LDP security confronted her and said that the rally was “not a place for protest but a place to listen.” Recording the conversation secretly, she explained that she wasn’t protesting. She just wanted Abe to state his position, but they confiscated the placard anyway and asked for her name and address. According to media reports, though she gave them her home address, they sent the placard to her workplace. As of this writing, the video has been viewed more than 88,000 times.
One doesn’t need a hidden camera to show the cynicism of the LDP campaign approach. The party’s most potent weapon was voter apathy, meaning the fewer who voted the better its chances. The media guaranteed this outcome by reporting that the LDP would win in a landslide, so people who opposed the party but weren’t necessarily vehement about it concluded that voting was a waste of time, and they stayed home.
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