Electoral Campaigning and the Internet in Japan in the 2010s
Williams, Joshua Arnold
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In the late spring of 2013, Japanese politicians passed a revision to their election laws that essentially unbanned the use of the Internet in electoral campaigns. This dissertation is composed of three independent, but thematically-linked studies revolving around the passing of this legal revision and its early effects on Japanese electoral politics. The first study is a process tracing of the factors that led to 2013 Public Offices Election Law (POEL) revision. It uses an institutional change framework which provides insight into both how and why the legalization happened when it did. This consider considers the implications of the 2013 legal change not only for election campaigning, but also for Japanese politics, media systems, and studies of institutional change. The second study is a quantitative analysis of the relationship between use of the social media platform Twitter by politicians and voting results. This study uses three distinct statistical methods and the unique circumstance of the 2013 POEL revision as the basis for its analysis of an original dataset built around all the candidates in the 2014 general election in Japan. The third study is a mixed-methods content analysis of an original dataset of tweets from Japanese politicians and candidates during the 2014 general election. Pulling the tweet history of more than 500 individuals, this study analyzes nearly one million Japanese language tweets from over a six-year period to try and determine what type of content, political and non-political, was posted during various time periods, including before and after the 2013 POEL revision and during the 2014 general election campaign period.