Gerald L. Curtis :: All modern democratic
political systems have rules that regulate election campaigns, election
financing, campaign advertising, and so on. But compared with other democratic
countries, the Japanese laws that regulate these aspects of life of political
life are much more strict and limiting than almost anywhere else.
In Japan, individual politicians are not allowed to buy any time whatsoever
for media, for TV advertising. They're not allowed to buy space in newspapers
or time on the radio.
Every candidate for public office is given a certain amount of free
time for his TV advertising, or radio advertising, or newspaper advertisements,
but they are very restrictive in terms of what kinds of advertising he
can engage in down to restrictions on whether the politician is allowed
to sit or stand, use props, and other things.
The reasons for these restrictions in the Japanese election law supposedly
go back to a desire to make elections fair — not to allow people
who have more money to have more advantages than candidates who don't
have money, to give every candidate exactly the same opportunities
that every other candidate has.