Shigeru Ishiba, Japan’s former Defence Minister, is in the running to become the country’s next Prime Minister. This weekend, his campaign announced its plans to come to Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Ishiba is in the race with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the wake of Shinzo Abe’s decision to step down, reports Mainichi.
In-game, Ishiba was scheduled to appear as “Ishiba-chan” and would visit players who put up his poster. Jiji adds that an island called “Jiminto,” a homophone for the abbreviation of his political party, was also going to appear in New Horizons.
Since launch, activists have used Animal Crossing: New Horizons to make their voices heard. For example, in April, Hong Kong protesters created pro-democracy art, while the Black Lives Matter movement also used New Horizons to protest systematic racism and the ongoing extrajudicial killings of Black people in the United States. The game has also been a place that queer players can express themselves.
More recently, Joe Biden’s campaign announced it was releasing “Team Joe”, a “Joe” pride logo as well as “Biden Harris” signs in-game.
While Ishiba has suspended his Animal Crossing campaign, for the time being, Nintendo is looking into the matter. “Currently, we are reviewing this internally,” Nintendo tells IT Media, “and at this point, cannot comment.”