David Blecken
Apr 23, 2019

Meaningful communications elude Japan’s local politics

Falling voter turnout and ill-informed selection suggests the need for a public relations approach focused more on direct engagement and less on loudspeakers.

A board showing local candidates in Chuo ward, Tokyo

In the run-up to the local government assembly elections that took place in Tokyo on Sunday, candidates assailed citizens relentlessly with loudspeakers. Their voices blaring from taxpayer-funded vans stuffed with waving white-gloved assistants, most offered little insight into their policies, but stated their names repeatedly in the hope that voters would remember them at the booth. In some cases, the candidate was not present in the vehicle, which broadcast a recorded message on a loop.

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