Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Japan's first 'Internet election' | The Japan Times

Japan's first 'Internet election' | The Japan Times

This is a link to an editorial about the upcoming election here in Japan (obviously-- the words "Japan" and "election" are right there in the title!).  Japan has frequent elections.  This one hasn't been as noisy as some of the others-- usually we get these sound trucks driving around blaring party messages.  Of course, I haven't been downtown that often, which is the place where most of this happens, plus loud speeches from candidates or party representatives.  So I could very well be completely mistaken about the noise factor.

What I didn't know was the bit about the revised Public Offices Election Law that now allows candidates to use the Internet to spread their platforms.  It's too bad if, as the editorial suggests, voters aren't participating as much as the parties are.  People seem apathetic, apparently.  As an outsider living here I'm not going to speculate on why that is.

I do know in my own household there's one person who is planning to vote (I'm ineligible), so I feel we're doing our civic duty.  My wife told me the other day she feels obligated to cast a ballot.  I asked her which party she's voting for and she just smiled.  Either she doesn't know or she's being cagey about it.  Whichever, far be it from me to make suggestions or jab at her with my uneducated opinions.  That's why I blog!

It makes me happy she votes, though.  And she does share her opinions on politics with me, although she's not generally a very politically-minded person.  Her homestay mother in Vancouver was, however, and they used to watch CNN together a lot.  So she knows what it's like to have these discussions.  As for me, I tend to rant and get too worked up about this stuff, so I try not to inflict it on her at home.  Things that concern me only affect her indirectly and if there's one thing I can't stand it's a one-sided conversation.  Even one where I'm that side.

But my wife is the only person who has so much as mentioned the election to me.  Granted, I spend the rest of my time with coworkers and we only talk about work.  In the US it's almost impossible to avoid political discussions and arguments.  You can hardly read a comment thread on any news article on whale farts or Martian microbes without someone jumping in with some political non sequitor, usually within the first ten comments.

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