Japan's maverick mayor refuses to stop Tweeting

Osaka Mayor and Japan Restoration Party leader Toru Hashimoto (right) delivers a speech to support Tokyo Vice Governor Naoki Inose (not pictured) while former Tokyo Governor and Japan Restoration Party co-leader Shintaro Ishihara (L) looks on, Nov 29, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - A maverick hoping to upset Japan's political scene has vowed to continue using Twitter throughout a general election, despite a strict ban on all forms of Internet campaigning.

Under Japanese election law, candidates and their supporters are not permitted to Tweet, use Facebook, update their websites or even send emails during the official campaign period, which begins on Tuesday ahead of the Dec 16 poll.

But Mr Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Japan's second city Osaka, said he would carry on airing his thoughts to his 900,000 followers on the micro-blogging site.

"I am not a candidate, so acts other than vote solicitation should be allowed," said Mr Hashimoto, the deputy leader of the Japan Restoration Party, who is not standing for parliament.