The JCP was founded on July 15, 1922. At the time Japan was under the despotic rule of the Tenno (Emperor) system. Internally the Japanese people were deprived of all democratic rights, while externally Japan took the path of wars of aggression against other Asian countries and expansion of colonial rule over them.
Outlawed from the outset of its founding, the JCP suffered all kinds of oppression and persecution. It was the only political party in Japan that fought against the wars of aggression. Upholding the banner of freedom and human rights, the party fought for the liberation of Korea and Taiwan, colonies of Japanese imperialism, and for the full independence of other colonial and semi-colonial nations in Asia.
In 1945, the Pacific War ended with the defeat of Japanese imperialism. The JCP for the first time won legal status and conditions for activity, which marked the beginning of its new advances.
In 1947, the Constitution of Japan came into effect. It expresses the resolve of the Japanese people that "never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government" and declared that "sovereign power resides with the people." This proved the correctness of the longstanding position of the JCP that had consistently opposed wars of aggression and called for people’s sovereignty.
During the period 1950-1955, repression by the U.S. occupation forces swept Japan, and the JCP was split by a group connected with the Soviet Union and China. The group worked to bring into Japan fallacious policies from abroad. This brought considerable difficulties to the JCP for the next several years (called the "1950 Question").
Two JCP Congresses that took place during 1958-1961 fully resolved the problems related to the party split and restored party unity, establishing a new course as set out below:
1. A new Party Program of democratic revolution with the central tasks for the full restoration of Japan's sovereignty and democratic change in politics and the economy; and
2. Sovereign independent position that does not allow interference from outside in the Japanese people's movement.
In 1964 the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) began interference and attacks on the JCP. In 1979 when the CPSU admitted that it had erred in interfering, JCP-CPSU relations were normalized.
In 1966 the Communist Party of China (CPC) started interference and attacks on the JCP.
In 1968 the JCP opposed the Soviet military intervention in Czechoslovakia.
In 1979 the JCP opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and squarely fought against it.
In 1998 JCP-CPC relations were normalized when the CPC made clear its attitude of "serious examination and rectification" about the error it had made by the past interference.
The JCP Program (revised in January 2004) sets forth a perspective for a future society, overcoming capitalism and advancing to socialism/communism. The party advocates the position of a “step-by-step advance,” that any social change can only be made when people think such change is necessary and conditions for it are in place. The party is also based on the theory of “revolution by the majority” that any stage of social development will be brought about only after the majority of people have agreed and supported it.
From this position, the JCP is working to realize the following changes in Japanese politics for the immediate future, through “democratic change within the framework of capitalism”:
1. Breaking away from the Japan-U.S. military alliance (Japan-U.S. Security Treaty), to fully restore our national sovereignty, and aim to establish the non-aligned and neutral path;
2. To change Japan’s economic policy of serving the interests of large corporations and business circles to one of defending the interests of the people. To establish democratic rules that will check tyrannical activities of large corporations and protect the rights and livelihoods of the people; and
3. Never to allow the adverse revision of the Japanese Constitution, to promote democracy and establish a Japan free from militarism.
The JCP is working hard to establish a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century on the basis of the majority in the Diet, and to shift Japan’s course towards the democratic and peaceful direction.
The JCP attaches importance to respect for the right to national self-determination. It has strongly opposed any expression of hegemonism by any power to violate the sovereignty of other nations. It opposed the U.S. war of aggression against Vietnam, as well as former Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan.
It has maintained the position of sovereign independence, never allowing interference in the internal affairs of the Japanese movement by any big power. It had fought interference and attacks by the former Soviet Union and China’s Mao Zedong group, and eventually in both cases their sides acknowledged their wrongdoings and normalized relations with the JCP.
The JCP sets out in its Program the following basic points that a new Japan should seek in its peace diplomacy:
1. Reflecting on the wars of aggression and the colonial rule Japan perpetrated in the past, we will attach importance to friendly relations and exchanges with the Asian countries;
2. Defending the international order for peace provided for in the UN Charter, we will oppose any hegemonic attempt which would violate or destroy that order;
3. We will work for prevention of nuclear war and elimination of nuclear weapons, which have bearings on the life and death of human beings; safeguarding the right of nations to self-determination; general disarmament, dismantling of all the military blocs, and the withdrawal of foreign military bases;
4. We will oppose both indiscriminate terrorist actions and retaliatory war which would sacrifice people, and try to develop international public opinion and develop joint actions to eliminate terrorism;
5. We will work for the reversion of the Chishima (Kurile) Islands, and Habomai and Shikotan Islands, which are Japan’s historical territories;
6. We will take action to control irresponsible activities of transnational corporations, protect the environment of the earth, and check the economic hegemonism of some big powers. We will work for establishing a democratic international economic order based on respect for economic sovereignty of all nations and their equality and impartiality;
7. We will work for peaceful solution of conflicts. We will also actively engage in international aid activity by non-military means, with the aim of resolving humanitarian problems, including disaster, refugees, poverty and starvation; and
8. We will make efforts to establish relations of peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems, and of dialogue and coexistence among civilizations with diverse values.
The JCP 24th Congress in January 2006 set forth the following 4-point proposal for Japan to shift its present diplomacy to one of opening its heart to other Asian peoples:
1. To overcome the adverse current justifying the past Japanese war of aggression and colonial rule;
2. To end its exclusive support for U.S. policy and develop a comprehensive strategy for exploring peaceful relations with other Asian countries;
3. To stop placing emphasis on military approaches and stand firm for peaceful settlements of international disputes through diplomacy; and
4. To deny any country the right to assert hegemony and call for defending the peace in compliance with the UN Charter.
The JCP makes extensive efforts to establish friendship and exchanges with foreign political parties. Our basic position is that we will open our relations with any party if we share an interest in beginning mutual exchanges in accordance with the principles of sovereign independence, equal rights, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, regardless of whether that party is conservative or progressive, and whether it is a ruling party or an opposition party. Wherever and whenever there are conditions for us to take common action, we would like to do so in the cause of peace in Asia and the rest of the world.
As for relations with foreign governments, the JCP is making efforts to develop exchanges with them on the issues of peace and progress.From this position, the JCP in the past several years visited the following countries: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, the Republic of Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Tunisia, Venezuela and Cuba. The JCP also attended the meetings of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, the Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Countries (guest) and the Organization of Islamic Countries (guest).