Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda — as well as his opponents in the upcoming election — will use Google+ Hangouts on Friday to answer questions posed by voters. The Wall Street Journal reports that over 500 questions have been submitted using the #letstalktopoliticians hashtag on Google+, with the Hangouts designed to give Japanese voters a better understanding of the election as well as the issues at play. Each candidate has been assigned a 20 minute block where they’ll be able to respond to the crowdsourced questions put forward by the moderator. Five members of the general public will also take part, chosen based on the questions they originally submitted. The Hangouts aren't restricted to the main election candidates, either: Google says that representatives from eight political parties will participate.
Politicians have increasingly leveraged social networks in order to better communicate their message. Barack Obama famously brought down Reddit after participating in an "Ask Me Anything" session, and the president is no stranger to Twitter either. And when social networks command such a large audience, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see more and more political campaigns using similar methods to attract crucial votes.