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Media coverage of the House of Councilors election campaign has been even more lacking in substance than usual. On July 2, Tokyo Shimbun noted how “low-key” the coverage has been on TV.

After the excitement of the money scandal surrounding former Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe, ratings prospects for election-related news items were dim. The morning shows hardly mentioned it, and even legitimate news programs pushed reports to the end. A former NHK producer told Tokyo Shimbun that, given how the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is using the election to secure a two-thirds majority in the Diet to change the Constitution, it’s essential for the media to talk about it, but, in fact, TV seems to be “avoiding the subject” out of fear of angering the LDP. As a result, LDP president and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is, in effect, ruling the airwaves, said the producer.

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