Q Why do the Japanese put up with all the noise at election time?

A The repeated calls made for a particular candidate during election time is akin to a repeated commercial broadcast that even the Japai1ese find too much to take. Most of them feel lie crying out, "Stop it!" It is preposterous to even think that votes can be garnered by these repeated calls.

Door-to-door soliciting of votes is prohibited in Japan because of the possibility of illegal vote buying through backdoor means. Although it sounds absurd, as an alterna-tive, it is legal to go to different areas with a loudspeaker to drum up loud support for a particular candidate to be heard by everyone living in the area.

The concern that legalizing door-to-door solicitation will result in cheating reflects the low level of Japan's brand of democracy. And outlawing what is already legal requires going through a lot of red tape. Signatures must first of all be collected through a citi-zen' s movement. A member of the Diet must then be pressured to write a proposal to revise the law, and it must then be brought before the Diet. The question is when. Japan' s government is based on parliamentary democracy.

Change will come about quickly if it is proposed by a member of the Diet, but members of the Diet do not actively seek change from the very system that elected them to office. The prime minister is chosen behind closed doors and politics have become a distant entity to the Japanese. Sma1i Japanese have resigned themselves to the fact that attempt-ing to abolish campaign noise will only be in vain.