Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
“Be nice to kids too,” shouts a kid with his hand raised.
“OK, OK. Here, I’ll give you 26,000 yen worth of toppings,” responds the ramen chef who looks suspiciously like Japan’s opposition Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama, as he sprinkles more toppings on a bowl of noodles.
With Japan’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party at risk of losing power for only the second time in more than a half-century in an election on Sunday, the party is stepping up its campaign against the opposition with a new series of Internet attack ads – a rarity in a country that has leaned towards the polite and boring in election tactics.
Dripping with puns, one cartoon commercial viewable on YouTube zeroes in on what the LDP insists are impossible promises by the rival Democrats in their campaign platform, or manifesto, as the opposition prefers to call it.
The bowl of ramen is called the “boastful manifesto noodles” and the toppings – added one after the other as customers complain about the taste – represent pledges made by the Democrats, such as a 26,000 yen monthly child allowance.
Tech-savvy Japan is home to many high-tech companies and more than 70 percent of its people use the Internet. But politics on the Web falls far behind.
Both politicians and voters can be found online. Lawmakers have their own blogs and channels on sites such as niconico and youtube, and political parties such as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and main opposition Democratic Party of Japan have websites. A couple of politicians are even tweeting on ”Twitter“.