Shinzo Abe might have just pulled a total David Copperfield during an appearance in Akihabara.

Any reader of SoraNews24 knows we’re passionate about politics. Whether it’s our thorough coverage of the McDonald’s Burger Election 2017, or the other McDonald’s Burger Election 2017.

And now with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership election set to take place, Shinzo Abe’s position as Prime Minister is threatened by former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba. If Abe can withstand this challenge to his rule, he will be on course to become the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japanese history, and be able to oversee the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

It’s a high-stakes affair and protesters have taken to the streets, disillusioned by what they see as a PM who has grown out of touch with the public’s interests in pursuit of his own personal agenda.

One such demonstration took place in Akihabara earlier this week as Abe was set to give a campaign speech. Scores of anti-Abe protesters came out and demanded Abe resign, bringing with them large homemade banners which managed to virtually drown out the slick professional red flags made by Abe’s team.

It was a powerful message hinting at a possible grassroots support for Ishiba. In the main plaza, only a relatively small crowd of Abe supporters and their tall red flags could be seen, surrounded by a sea of protesters.

However, the main attraction was yet to be revealed. In the middle of the crowd, what appeared to be a large group of protesters held up a huge blue tarp with a homemade message printed on it. And what did it read?

Banner: “Ganbare Shinzo Abe”

In an unpredictable and odd move the crudely designed tarp had “Hang in there Shinzo Abe” printed on it.

No one could tell, because at ground level it would be near impossible to read it. Even when it was revealed, anti-Abe protesters could be heard cheering, assuming it was one of their own.

The news helicopters, however, buzzing around overhead told a completely different story.

In fact, from the chopper’s perspective, it was nearly impossible to see the actual protesters’ signs, despite them appearing to have larger numbers at the scene. Instead of the actual protest, all thousands of people at homes across Japan could see was a crowd of people all cheering for a “Hang in there Abe” banner in perfect harmony.

Commenters online had this to say:

“Abe resign!”
“It’s wonderful to see people from opposite sides of politics working together.”
“Hahaha! My stomach hurts!”
“I wonder if they did that on purpose.”
“In the anti-Abe protesters’ defense, who protests in favor of someone?”
“Any news company wanting to get footage of a protest just wasted a lot of money on helicopter fuel.”

The question remains whether this was an independent group of Abe supporters who showed up by coincidence, or an orchestrated move by the campaign itself. The tarp does appear to be strategically surrounded by Abe flags as if to shield it from being read on the ground or mezzanine.

If it was planned in advance by the Abe camp, then that was some Sun Tzu, Machiavellian-level image tampering.

I mean, the guy has overcome being (accidentally) labeled a sex-offender and is capable of making an entire protest vanish while still finding time to enjoy ice cream and pay his Twitter bills. What chance does anyone have at beating him?

Source: Twitter/@tamago3884, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@hideki_imamura