Japan Prime Minister in New Smartphone Game

Created: 2013-06-29 09:45 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

At the headquarters of Japan's ruling party, there's a new plan for victory ahead of next month's national election.
This is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe like you've never seen him before.

He's the star of 'Abe Hop', a new free game for smartphones released by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) this week.

The game is to steer the Japanese premiere high into the sky, winning points to change his attire.

Skillful players can whisk Abe out of his grey business suit and into jeans or gym kit.

The ultimate prize is a bouncing Abe clad in a Superman costume.

Takuya Hirai is an LDP lawmaker and the brains behind the party's internet strategy.

[Takuya Hirai, LDP Lawmaker]:
"If you play over and over again you can win rosettes—they're like the ones candidates get when they win an election. The more you collect, the more costumes you can choose for Abe. We're also doing a version upgrade today to bring in rankings, so we're hoping the game will get people interested in politics in a way they never were before."

The party plans to have six apps in circulation before the country's July 21st upper house election, Japan's first to allow official campaigning online.

Abe has already made a name as a keen user of social media services, with more than 370-thousand Facebook followers.

As voting day approaches, Hirai says he now hopes 'Abe Hop' will help to draw in smartphone-savvy voters who might otherwise give the ballot box a miss.