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JULY 21, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 28 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK

Wired Executive
Noda Seiko, Member of the Japanese Diet

Noda Seiko was using e-mail before the Internet was even in existence. The third-term member of the Japanese Diet began corresponding with disabled citizens in her electoral district of Gifu in the late l980s, using Nifty — at that time, a private network similar to Compuserve.

Today, Noda is perhaps Japan's most wired — and wireless — politician. She has her own website, four e-mail addresses (two personal, two professional), a laptop, a desktop and two Internet-capable cellphones. The latter she uses to discretely check messages during meetings. With the handset held under the table and the ringer set to vibrate, no one is the wiser.

Her schedule doesn't allow for many leisure activities, but when she gets a few minutes, she escapes from the constant meetings and policy-making with Genuine Shanghai, a mahjong-like computer game. "This is a great way to get refreshed," she says. After hours, if there's time, Noda ventures into online chat rooms. The conversations never go very far, because she won't reveal what she does for a living. At this point, she just wants to keep in tune with what's going on. But if she were not a politician, she reckons she would be "far more active and adventurous" in the wired world.

E-mails per day: 40

Favorite software application/Internet utility: Internet provider Nifty; NTT DoCoMo's mobile Internet service

Personal Digital Assistant: An i-mode phone for mobile Internet access and a J-phone, which offers more youth-oriented, entertainment content

Preferred analog activity: Reading, Shopping for books. "I would like to keep it as one of my few enjoyable analog leisure activities"

Favorite game: Genuine Shanghai, a mahjong-like computer game

Favorite websites: Real estate sites: "Not to invest, but for fun." Health sites: "I don't have time to see doctors for minor nuisances and [if I must go] I can inform myself beforehand."

Shopping is one of Noda's few analog activities. Once she tried buying groceries online "but I realized I don't eat enough at home to justify that," she says. In some cases the old-fashioned way is still the most convenient.

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