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Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008

Ozawa takes to Net to woo young


Staff writer

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa made a fresh attempt Monday to appeal to young voters and Internet users, fielding questions on a Net live talk show in Tokyo ranging from his choice in underwear to Japan's claim to Takeshima.

Ozawa visited Toyo University in Bunkyo Ward for what was dubbed "the first-time-ever live Internet conference with 10,000 people" on the Nico Nico Douga site, run by Niwango Inc.

Up to 10,000 people could simultaneously view the program, in which they could leave questions for Ozawa on the site.

Asked what he thinks of changing the election law, which does not permit candidates to campaign over the Internet, he said the government should ease the ban.

"Of course, things like intentional interference should be restricted," he said. "But I think using the Internet as a method (for campaigning) is natural in the current society."

One Internet user was curious about his underwear amid rumors that he dons a loincloth, prompting Ozawa to reply, "Some would imagine an old-style loincloth, but it's not like that." He said he wore loincloth-like underwear used by hospital patients.

In response to another question, Ozawa also said he believes Takeshima is Japanese territory. The South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan are known as Dokdo in South Korea.

As for the chance of a general election, which now appears unlikely anytime soon because Prime Minister Taro Aso is focusing on economic policies, Ozawa said he still expects the poll to be held by the beginning of 2009.

Ozawa's appearance is part of a bid to woo younger voters.



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The Japan Times

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