Holding her newborn baby closely, Mari Matsuoka mounted her smartphone on a tripod before sitting down on a bench outside JR Kunitachi station in western Tokyo on a sunny afternoon last week.

With a friend sitting next to her and serving as an interviewer, Matsuoka started a one-hour speech. While it was mostly intended for residents walking or sitting nearby, it also went out live via her Instagram account.

Matsuoka spoke softly and kept her speaker volume low, which helped her 2-month-old baby remain asleep in her sling. Caught up in a mixture of street and station noises, her voice often sounded like it was coming through a radio, in contrast to the loud speeches made by many other stumping politicians.