Japan ruling party to offer selfies with PM Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (middle) taking a selfie with his wife Akie during a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem on Jan 19, 2015. Mr Abe's party is offering a chance for people to take selfies with the premier by installing a "puri-kura" (p
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (middle) taking a selfie with his wife Akie during a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem on Jan 19, 2015. Mr Abe's party is offering a chance for people to take selfies with the premier by installing a "puri-kura" (photo booth) machine in its Tokyo HQ lobby. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - For the Japanese political junkie who has everything, the party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is offering the perfect gift - a small sticky-back selfie with the bouffant premier.

Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the establishment choice for greying conservatives over several generations, is set to install a "puri-kura" machine in its Tokyo HQ lobby.

The "puri-kura", a Japanese contraction of the English words "Print Club", is an augmented photo booth, popular chiefly with teenage girls, that adds people or scenery to your picture - and then prints it out as a sheet of stickers.

Popular machines, which are found in games arcades or shopping malls, generally offer an image of a doe-eyed cartoon character or one of Japan's huge stable of peculiar mascots.

But visitors to the LDP offices will soon be able to bag a "puri-kura" with the PM, for just 500 yen (S$5.68) for a sheet of stickers, with 20 designs under consideration, Jiji Press reported.

"This is part of our effort to have people feel that politics is close to them," an LDP official said.

More than a quarter of Japan's population is over 65, and younger generations generally feel excluded from a political system they say is tilted heavily in favour of pensioners.

Parliament is expected to lower the voting age this year from 20 to 18 in an effort to give younger people a bigger voice in governance.