While there have been plenty of news stories about how the various political campaigns in the US have been using the internet to get out the vote, Newsweek has a fascinating story about how Japanese election law pretty much bans all use of the internet in campaigning
. Once a political campaign is announced, that candidate can't update his website or blog. The only loophole is podcasts (the law doesn't cover audio), but that's hardly enough to make much of a dent. As the article notes, this has helped keep younger, more technically savvy politicians from succeeding when they run for office -- and that's part of the reason why older politicians are perfectly happy with the system the way it exists. It sounds like some are pushing for change, while others are actively defying the ban, but it's apparently quite a different online atmosphere during election season in Japan than elsewhere.