AKB48 pop stars calling on Tokyoites to vote for next governor
Members of the all-girl J-pop group AKB48 will be the face of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s get-out-the-vote campaign for the second gubernatorial election in a row, electoral officials announced on Nov. 12.
Accompanied by the slogan, “I choose the next Tokyo governor,” images of AKB48 songstresses Minami Takahashi, 21, Tomomi Itano, 21, and Yui Yokoyama, 19, will soon be on large public video screens and some 100,000 posters all over the city, calling on Tokyoites to cast votes in the Dec. 16 poll. A dedicated webpage will also go live on Nov. 26, as will a Facebook page — the latter a first for a Tokyo get-out-the-vote drive.
This is the second time AKB48 has been tapped to help get people to the polls, the first time being the previous Tokyo gubernatorial election in April 2011. The sudden resignation of longtime Gov. Shintaro Ishihara last month meant the pop group’s second vote campaign appearance came a little earlier than might have been expected, but Tokyo Metropolitan electoral officials are proud they were able to get the pop stars on such short notice.
“We managed to get the schedule together in a very short time,” an election official commented. “But I think AKB48 will have a real impact on the younger segment of the population.”
The voting age in Japan is 20, and officials stated that currently 19-year-old Yui Yokoyama would have her 20th birthday before the election.
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