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The first multi-channel, multi-stakeholder Japanese election?

July 30, 2009

Recently, Google Japan started a Youtube Q&A site for upcoming Japanese general election, with artists, movie directors, actresses etc posting questions to the candidates via YouTube. This marks the first time Google’s moderator service has been used for politics in Japan and follows the strong influence and impact of social media in elections across many other Asian countries (also, let’s not forget Obama ‘Change, we can believe in‘….). Despite a 10 week crash course in 2002, my Japanese language skills are non-existent. However, examples of the Youtube videos can be found below.

According to Asahi Shimbun, the site opened on 13 July and by 28 July:

  • 6,256 people had already participated in the moderator and 4,536 questions are posted.  Pro or con posting are over 25,000,
  • Candidates have not uploaded answers yet, they will be uploaded on 30July
  • This system was first used on Obama’s predidential election in 2008 and was very popular in US, but this is the first time used in Japan.
  • Yahoo started a “minna-no Seiji” (everyone’s politics) site 3 years ago and this time average page views per day are about 1 million, which is twice as large as last general election.

Japan has very much been at the bleeding edge of digital/mobile adoption and marketing. The evolving importance of social media as an additional channel to reach and impact people in advance of the upcoming election will be fascinating to watch. In such an important country for our region, I’m expecting great innovation, but probably after this year’s election is finished (e.g.  Twitter not being allowed this year).

Interested to see how Japanese brands react to the governments growing use and whether this further increases the integration social media into marketing and media strategies going forward… To go with its powerful advertising and direct heritage, I believe Japanese brands and Japanese online/social media marketing can be truly world-leading, what do you think?

HT to my colleagues at Edelman Japan for this information.

Please note: this is a mirror of a post I wrote for the MEDIA blog.

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