couch_warrior writes with a BBC article about Japan's choice to restrain political speech in the 21st century. The nation of Japan bans the use of internet sites to solicit voters in its upper house elections. Based on election laws drawn up in the 50s, candidates are restricted in the ways they can reach their constituents. Candidates are even restrained from distributing leaflets that will reach more than 3% of the voters. What's more, people who are trying to change the laws are failing. Despite heavy internet usage and a strong installed base of high-speed connectivity, young people just don't feel involved in politics. "In Japan, 95% of people in their 20s surf the web, but only a third of them bother to vote. Some, though, do not seem keen on politicians using the web to try to win their support. 'I believe that internet resources are not very official,' says Kentaro Shimano, a student at Temple University in Tokyo. 'YouTube is more casual; you watch music videos or funny videos on it, but if the government or any politicians are on the web it doesn't feel right.' Haruka Konishi agrees. 'Japanese politics is something really serious,' she says. 'Young people shouldn't be involved, I guess because they're not serious enough or they don't have the education.' There cannot be many places in the world where students feel their views should not count. Perhaps it is really a reflection of the reality — that they do not."
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