For Japan’s political newcomers, getting the message across often requires a lot of imagination -a problem compounded by a shortage of media outlets for their creativity. The country’s electoral law is seen by many as an obstacle to newer, smaller parties which favours the well-established political heavyweights.
Campaign websites, for example, are not allowed to be updated in the run-up to the election. This blunts a political tool that is available to everyone.
Politics professor Kazuhisa Kawakami wants the law modernised:
“In a country with such widespread broadband use, candidates would benefit from using the internet to get their messages across. But politicians who are unfamiliar with the internet haven’t changed the law because they’re afraid of losing out to their computer-savvy rivals,” he says.
Television coverage is dominated by the seven established parties. Until Japanese electoral law opens itself up to the internet – just as the Japanese people have – political outsiders will have to rely on the more traditional methods.