If someone asked you to freely associate things with Japan you'd probably think of futuristic high-tech, bullet trains, cyberpunk, anime and all the fancy gadgets we always seem to get years later. But of all countries it's Japan that campaign wise is still stuck in the middle-ages:
It's a first for Japanese politicians — and perhaps illegal. In his bid for re-election, upper house member Kan Suzuki has opened a virtual office in Second Life. He plans to use SL to discuss policy and field questions. Hence, the problem. Japan's fifty year-old Public Office Election limits election campaigns to using only postcards and pamphlets. See, they didn't have Second Life fifty years ago. But! Even recently officials have ruled that web pages cannot be created or updated during campaigns. Suzuki's campaign is venturing into uncharted territory for Japanese politics, which is still based on white gloves and campaign vans.
Makes me wonder how they handle blogs of politically interested citizens who follow the campaigns and publicly exchange their views with others – would updating their blogs during campaigning be illegal as well? Could campaigns pay people to pretend to be independent while they support their agenda? Has Japan heard of astroturfing?-Jens