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Shigeru Ishiba, a candidate in the leadership race for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has suspended his plan to campaign using Nintendo Co.’s popular game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, his camp has said.

The camp for Ishiba, former secretary-general of the LDP, said Sunday that he will start campaign activities on the game Tuesday, when the leadership race officially kicks off. But it said later in the day that the plan was put on hold amid concerns that it may violate the game-maker’s terms of use regarding political activity in the game.

In the game, which has become a hit as many people stay home amid the coronavirus epidemic, players live on an island which they can design themselves, and users can visit each other’s islands.

In the campaign, Ishiba-chan, a character modeled after the candidate, was slated to visit the islands of players who cooperated in putting up posters of his portrait. The island of Jiminto, which is homophonic with the abbreviation of the official Japanese name for the LDP, was also slated to appear in the campaign.

The election to choose the LDP’s next president, who will effectively succeed outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will take place Sept. 14. Ishiba, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida will vie for the top party post.

Ishiba-chan, an avator of Shigeru Ishiba, is seen in the popular game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. | COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF MASAAKI TAIRA / VIA KYODO
Ishiba-chan, an avator of Shigeru Ishiba, is seen in the popular game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. | COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF MASAAKI TAIRA / VIA KYODO

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