JAPAN: ‘Retweets’ Herald Surge in LDP Influence

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES- Political tension in Japan is high with the upcoming Upper House elections, but has the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) already won over the Twittersphere?

The LDP and Japanese Communist Party (JCP) currently have the most influence from a social media standpoint, according to researcher Ryosuke Nishida of Ritsumeikan University.

As reported in Mainichi Shimbun, the study analyzed Twitter accounts of Upper House contenders and their number of “retweets” before June 13.

The LDP’s 34 accounts boasted 836,000 retweets, while the JCP had 43 and 909,000 respectively. Together, both parties had tweeted 33,000 times, meaning their posts averaged 30 retweets. In comparison, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) rendered a paltry 98,000 retweets from their 24 accounts.

This month’s elections are the first to allow online campaigning. Yet, while the initial findings are impressive, Nishida remained hesitant on whether Japanese politics would experience a critical paradigm shift. For now, he’d “like to watch the data to see how things change in the mid- to long-term.”

Upper House elections are set for July 21 and may pave the way to a united Diet led by the LDP and its coalition partner, New Komeito.

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