National / Politics

Volunteers’ websites help voters attend speeches and vet candidates ahead of Lower House election

JIJI

Volunteers have set up websites to help voters make their choices for next week’s Lower House election.

Charity Japan’s online map (charity-japan.com/event/6754) allows people to watch videos of street speeches by clicking on each party’s symbol. They can also share information on the schedule and venues for the speeches.

Ryo Funakawa, who designed the map for the incorporated association, said it is intended to help young voters collect information and get to know the candidates and their policies.

“We hope that voters will go to the polls after listening to what the candidates say,” said Funakawa, 33.

Taku Sugawara, a 40-year-old political scientist, opened a website in 2011 summarizing the remarks made and questions posed by politicians in the Diet.

“It allows voters to check candidates’ performance while in office,” Sugawara said of his website (kokkai.sugawarataku.net).

“If candidates repeat remarks in campaign speeches that are in totally different fields compared with the remarks they usually make in the Diet, voters may have reason to distrust them,” Sugawara said.

To address the rampant growth of fake news on social networking services and websites, five online media organizations have begun efforts to examine news articles related to the House of Representatives election on Oct. 22.

Their results are available on a website set up by journalists at fij.info.