A controversy has arisen over Japan's assignment of civil servants to 'pencil sharpening' ahead of the House of Representatives election (general election).

This is known because of Japan's unique election method, which requires voters to write the name of the candidate they support directly on the ballot in kanji or hiragana.

On the 20th, Japan's ANN reported that government officials are spurring pencil sharpeners at an office in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture, while each municipality is struggling to hold elections safely amid the corona situation.

▲ A Japanese official using an automatic pencil sharpener to sharpen pencils one by one

It is known that Ota City's pencil sharpening work is part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Prior to the House of Representatives elections to be held on the 31st, Japan has issued guidelines requiring voters to return to their polling places with their own pencils to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Therefore, each municipality has to prepare pencils according to the number of voters.

It is reported that Ota City hastily purchased 10,000 antiviral pencils and sharpened them one by one in order to meet the 'before the deadline (advance voting)' that started on this day.

▲ A pencil for the Japanese general election engraved with the phrase 'Goodbye Corona (Sayonara Corona)'

It is known that the pencil used in this election for the House of Representatives is specially engraved with the phrase 'Goodbye Corona'.

The city of Ota also said that it had placed a special order for 103,000 pencils needed on the day of the general election.

An official from Ota City answered in an interview with the local media, "As a result of constant sharpening, as of the 19th, there are 300 pre-voting pencils left."

He continued, "An additional 100,000 special orders will arrive before the 31st. I think we will be able to meet them on Election Day somehow."

Japanese netizens who heard the news showed various reactions, such as "Studying hard and sharpening a pencil", "Again, Japan, an analog country", and "If the voting process is digitized, costs can be reduced."

This is a 'news pick'.   

(Photo = Captured from YouTube 'ANNnewsCH')           

Keywords: japan, servants, assignment, election method, pencils, elections, pencil sharpening, officials, news pick, pencil, pick, election method controversy, official, house of representatives, ballot