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Kan Suzuki's SL OfficeEarlier, VB briefly covered the opening of Japanese politician Kan Suzuki’s Second Life office. The BBC is now reporting that Suzuki has been forced to shut down the office. Why? Because as everyone (including Suzuki) knew when it was opened, the office runs afoul of pre-internet Japanese election laws that limit campaign materials to paper postcards and pamphlets. What’s interesting here is that unlike most “closed down” Second Life installations, Suzuki’s office (SLURL here) isn’t gone, it’s just virtually boarded up.

Nothing has changed on the inside — it stands there like a memorial to a brief shining moment of electronic campaigning in Japan. And from the outside, the office looks much like it did before, except there are virtual wooden boards nailed up over the virtual windows and doors.

I love it; if only all politicians were as subtle, subversive, creative, and technologically focused as Suzuki. Are your country’s luddite election laws stuck in 1950? Well then you clearly don’t have to delete a virtual build that violates them, you just have to get yourself some virtual lumber and board it up! I wish I could vote for the guy, whatever his politics.

I’m going to put a bigger-than-front-page-acceptable .jpg of a sign that is currently nailed to the boards on the front of Suzuki’s offices in the comments to this piece. Any of VB’s regular readers able to translate it? I’d really like to find out what it says.

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5 Responses to “Commentary: Japanese Election Law in Second Life”

  1. on 16 Jul 2007 at 3:16 pmBenjamin Duranske

    This is a close-up of the boarded-up entrance to Kan Suzuki’s Second Life office.  Anybody able to translate?

    Sign at Kan Suzuki's

  2. on 17 Jul 2007 at 3:29 amsheila6225 Allen

    Notice of temporary closure

    According to Public Office Election Law, the office has been temporarily closed as the House of Councilors election was notified.
    The office will reopen when the election is over.

    If campaigning through internet is allowed, we will be able to be engaged in campaigning activities in SL to the full extent. However, it is impossible to do so under the present law. It is regrettable.

    Let’s foster a movement for removal of ban on internet campaigning with full-scale efforts of net users in order to have the opinion of the netizens in Japan more reflected in politics.

    “Stand up, netizens!”

    Member of the House of Councilors, Kan Suzuki

    Remarks: I am not a native English speaker, so the translation may be clumsy.

  3. on 17 Jul 2007 at 8:10 amAshcroft Burhham

    Ingenious! And somebody needs to think about reforming Japanese election law.

  4. on 17 Jul 2007 at 1:07 pmBenjamin Duranske

    Thanks a lot, sheila6225 Allen. It reads well, and I’m sure it’s a fine translation. Much appreciated!

  5. [...] there, avoiding the Web, because political campaigns in Japan are forbidden on digital media, was widely discussed two years ago. Getting candidates directly in touch with their voters via digital media is a [...]

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