At the Turn of the Century -- Our View on the 21st Century
Japanese Society and JCP -- Changes Taking Place in the 1990s and into the Future
JCP Proposal for ÅgRemaking JapanÅh Envisages 21st Century
JCP on Ways to Achieve World Peace and Social Progress
Towards New JCP Political Advances at National and Local Levels
Let Us Mobilize Party Wisdom and Energy to Build a Strong JCP
Let Us Step Up Efforts to Drastically Increase JCP Activities among the Youth, the Protagonists of 21st Century
Convinced of a Socialist Future and the Banner of the Japanese Communist Party
November 24, 2000
We are standing on the threshold of a new century, the 21st century. At the turn of the century, it is important for us to comprehend the general trend of history and grasp the general idea about a vision for the future.
The Program of the Japanese Communist Party states: "With the advent of the 20th century, world capitalism entered the stage of monopoly capitalism and imperialism. During the century, the quest for world peace, national self-determination, and social progress has certainly made advances, in spite of many upheavals and twists and turns."
In both the developed capitalist countries and the developing countries, the popular movements for social progress and transformation have developed with the major task of overcoming the reactionary rule of monopoly capitalism and imperialism in order to safeguard the interests of the majority of the people.
Certainly, "many upheavals and twists and turns" have been recorded. The two world wars caused by the imperialist strategy of territorial expansion involved unprecedentedly huge human sacrifices. Atrocities committed by fascism led by Japan, Germany, and Italy left a deep scar in the 20th century. The emergence of nuclear weapons, which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are still threatening the survival of humanity. Russia's socialist revolution in its early stages did things contributing to social progress in the world but later the Soviet Union under the Stalin leadership did great harm as it pursued the establishment of its hegemony in international relations and despotism in the country, which had nothing in common with socialism.
Despite all this, the peoples of many countries have waged struggles in defiance of various adverse currents, making historic progress in the 20th century.
-- Democracy and human rights: The 20th century has witnessed a major transition on a global scale from the system of monarchical government to the system of democratic republican government. At present, an overwhelming majority of the United Nations member states adopt the system of republican government with the principle that sovereignty resides with the people. Notable progress has been achieved in the protection of human rights. Not only political rights but various social rights, including the right to exist, the right to work, and the right to education as well as women's equal rights, have come to be regarded as a matter of fact. Social rights have been established as international rules in the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (1948), the "International Covenants on Human Rights" (1966), the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" (1979), and the "Convention on Children's Rights" (1989).
-- National independence: A string of nations which were oppressed as colonies by a tiny number of great powers have converged on the huge struggle to achieve independence and self-reliance. After World War II, the colonial system collapsed worldwide. Today, the developing countries, which have technically achieved independence, are strengthening their substantive independence both politically and economically. They are forming a current of non-alignment and neutrality, thus becoming a major force that influences international politics. And Asia is setting the new international pace in pursuit of independence and self-reliance.
-- Order of peace: After two world wars, major advances have been made towards an international order of peace. In the early 20th century, war was recognized as a legitimate right of the states. But in 1919 the Rules of the League of Nations established regulations of war. The 1928 Paris No-War Convention placed an overall ban on wars and the United Nations Charter, established in 1945 in the wake of World War II, prohibited the use of force or threat to use force. This is how war has been made illegitimate internationally. The Japanese Constitution's Article 9 is the most advanced achievement in this effort, which we can take pride in.
-- Regulations of capitalism: In the 19th century "laissez-faire" capitalism was generally practiced, and the "straight market economy" has become irrelevant in the 20th century. People's movements exerting their power in many countries have achieved various systems of controlling the excesses of monopoly capital. For example, certain regulations of working hours were already established in the second half of the 19th century in Great Britain and some other developed countries as a result of the people's struggles. Such regulations became a world trend and achieved significant progress in the 20th century. Revolutionary Russia which came into being as a result of the October Revolution proclaimed the 8-hour day. This became the motive for the founding of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which established the 8-hour day in its first resolution. All this has played a significant role in spreading working hour regulations across the world.
The 20th century has seen another major change taking place: State intervention in the economy on behalf of the interests of monopoly capital was established at the time of World War One; it became entrenched in the wake of the 1929 Great Depression and matured after World War II. State monopoly capitalism has served to strengthen the oppression of the workers, but at the same time proved clearly that social regulations of production and distribution are an indispensable necessity.
- Socialism: In 1917, the first revolution aimed at the transformation towards socialism broke out in Russia. This revolution, however, began treading a path of seeking hegemony and despotism when Stalin became its leader, ending up in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, what the Russian Revolution achieved in such areas as national independence, international peace, and workers' rights cannot be erased from history despite the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is important to note that one-fourth of the world's population live in countries which have broken with the capitalist system, or those which seek socialism.
All this represents the main current of history which arose and spread worldwide in the 20th century.
This main current is also strongly impressed on Japanese history. Look at the general trend in Japan's history in the 20th century. The prewar political regime in which sovereign power resided with the emperor was replaced by democracy in which the people are sovereign. The Japanese people who had been deprived of all basic rights under the despotic rule won their basic human rights.
In the 78 years since its founding, the JCP, despite difficulties and twists and turns, has firmly opposed wars of aggression and stood for the establishment of sovereignty resting in the people, national independence, democracy, better living conditions, women's equality, and opposition to hegemonism. The JCP, joining together with the people in these struggles, exerted its true value as an engine for the main current of history. We can be proud of this history. In the 20th century, the JCP has been the only political party that has been consistent and is thus capable of talking with conviction about its vision of a new century.
We are also faced with adverse currents, which are a composite of the U.S.-led military alliance systems and the global domination by multinational corporations and international financial capital. This global domination system has undermined democratic principles and human rights in many countries; it has interfered with, and even suppressed national independence efforts; it has imposed hegemony through military strength, in particular the system in which some countries are allowed to maintain a monopoly over nuclear weapons; and it has brought about preponderance of multinational corporations and international financial capital seeking to maximize their profits globally by calling the market economy as panacea. Japan's Liberal Democratic Party government has always been accepting and even assisting U.S. policies that accelerate these adverse currents.
Given the historical context of the 20th century, however, it is clear that these adverse currents cannot continue to exist in the 21st century. Our future in the 21st century will be envisaged in the direction in which the main historical current formed in the 20th century will be much greater and people's wishes will be realized. The JCP will take a lead in the effort to accelerate this historical current.
At the JCP 21st Congress three years ago, we set the goal of "establishing a Democratic Coalition Government in the early part of the 21st century," and began to make efforts toward that goal.
In the three years of national political struggles, the JCP broke records by getting 8.2 million votes in the proportional representation election for the House of Councilors in 1998. Also in the 1999 simultaneous local elections, the JCP achieved an overall advance. However, in the recent House of Representatives general election (June 25, 2000), in the face of unprecedented underhanded anticommunist attacks, the JCP suffered an unfortunate setback.
Despite the setback from the previous positions, the 6.72 million votes the JCP received in the last general election accounted for 11.2% of the total votes cast, exceeding the number and percentage of JCP votes in any of the general elections before 1997, and far exceeding the height the JCP attained in the 1970s. The total number of votes in the single-seat constituencies was 7.35 million, the highest ever number in a House of Representatives election. This is an achievement we can use as a springboard for further JCP advances.
The present situation facing us is marked by a new test in the context of JCP advances. Our activities in the last general election not only showed us how grave attacks from the forces of reaction are, but also made clear the problem we must solve within the JCP. Lessons we duly draw from both progress and setbacks will offer us chances for future progress. This should be the spirit in which we reexamine our activities and do our best to pave the way for new JCP advances.
It is important to examine how the relationship between Japanese society and the JCP changed in the 1990s, the final decade of the 20th century, and find out where the JCP stands.
1) The deadlock and crisis of LDP politics is increasingly serious.
The LDP's national base is on a historical decline. During the 1990s, the percentage of the LDP votes in general elections fell to 28% from 46%. In none of the five national elections since the 1993 House of Representatives general election, was the LDP able to secure a parliamentary majority alone.
Realizing that its single-party rule is no more a possibility, the LDP has repeatedly formed coalition governments in a desperate effort to make up the shortfall and survive. However, this has caused new and serious contradictions. The coalition that includes the Komei Party/Soka Gakkai is marked by its conspicuously strategic anticommunism. Soka Gakkai is a religious organization that regards all the other religions as being perverse and calls for their elimination. Soka Gakkai and the Komei Party are two sides of the same coin. By including such a party in the ruling coalition, the government has aroused deep concern among the people and increased contradictions and frictions with LDP supporters.
The LDP's political line is also stifled. Its long-standing policy of serving the best interests of large corporations has not only thrown the people's living conditions into great difficulty with no way out but has ruined the Japanese economy itself, putting the nation in a major fiscal crisis, and undermined the very foundation of the social security programs. Japanese foreign policy centered on the military alliance pits Japan against Asia's emerging trend towards peace, thus deepening its isolation both in Asia and the world. At no time in the past has LDP politics stood out so clearly as an obstacle to social development in Japan.
2) The Japanese Communist Party during the last decade greatly increased its political influence at both the national and local levels, despite ups and downs it has experienced. The number and percentage of JCP votes in the House of Representatives elections have greatly increased from 5.23 million (7.9%) in the 1990 general election, to 6.72 million (11.2%) in 2000. The same applies to the House of Councilors election, in which the JCP received the highest ever number of 8.2 million votes (14.6%) in the 1998 election, a great leap from 3.95 million and 7.0% in 1989. The total number of JCP members of both Houses combined has increased from 30 to 43 during the decade.
The number of JCP local assembly members in the last decade has increased from 3,938 to 4,455 (1,288 women members included), placing the JCP as the number one political party in terms of the number of local assembly members. The number of local assemblies in which the JCP holds the right to propose bills has increased to 31.9% from 8.5%. (The required ratio of seats to the total number for this right has been changed from 1/8 to 1/12 of the total.) The number of municipalities in which the JCP is the only ruling party increased to 76 from 38. There are 10 municipalities which are led by JCP members as mayors, an increase from three. The JCP is one of the ruling parties in 115 municipalities.
These upward changes are not accidental. In the 1990s, there emerged an objective condition in which the JCP's political line and what Japanese society needed came closer, and they even converged in many areas. The "Remaking Japan" proposal we have put forward as a practical application of the JCP Program is attracting a wide range of the people.
For example, the JCP Program has consistently called for an economic policy of "democratic control of monopoly capital." This policy in the 1993 was developed to a concrete proposal for "capitalism without rules" to be corrected. It was a proposal that meshed with international criticism of the outrageous conducts of Japan's large corporations which ignore even internationally accepted basic rules and of the abnormal attitude of the Japanese government supporting these corporations even in this prolonged economic recession of the 1990s.
Also, the JCP Program's call for a "full extension of a social security system and its establishment" has been developed into a concrete proposal for "reversing the upside down fiscal policy of allocating only 20 trillion yen to social security programs while squandering 50 trillion yen on public works projects." This was a result of our exploration of policies for dealing with extraordinary expansion of public works projects which were at the cost of the social security programs.
3) In examining changes that have taken place in political party positions, it's important to note that the cracks in the system of "all but the JCP are the ruling parties," which persisted since the 1980 "Socialist Party-Komei Party Agreement," began to show in the 1990s.
The decision of the JCP 21st Congress in 1997 severely criticized all the other parties for being politically absorbed by the ruling LDP, stating, "Even in the present political situation in which 'all the parties except the JCP have become the same as the LDP,' it is possible for the JCP to reach partial agreement on various issues with other parties. It is also possible that as the contradictions between misgovernment and the people deepen, then contradictions and splits will emerge among the forces which have embraced LDP politics." The 21st Congress Resolution then proposed the following: "In such circumstances, the JCP will make positive and constructive efforts to change the Diet into taking a positive direction for serving the people's interests."
Taking into account the changes that took place in opposition party alignments following the dissolution of Shinshinto (New Frontier Party) in 1998, the JCP, basing itself on its 21st Congress decision, has made efforts to develop joint parliamentary struggle by the opposition parties. It is important to note that thanks to those efforts, the established principle of "excluding the JCP" in parliamentary activities has become a thing of the past. However, joint struggle by the opposition parties in general still is confined within the scope of only resisting the present government, and joint struggle for realizing certain policies is still very limited.
This is fundamentally due to the fact that all opposition parties except the JCP still remain within the framework of LDP politics, though they criticize the present government; they have not found a basic direction to follow in order to challenge LDP politics. Some in the opposition camp even call for policies more like the LDP's than the LDP itself in order to make their "opposition" to the LDP look attractive.
Building on its recent achievements, the JCP will work to advance the opposition parties' joint struggle on agreed tasks in a sincere, free, and broad-minded manner. At the same time, we will encourage necessary criticisms and debates between opposition parties. Future positive changes in the relations between political parties hinge on the JCP's political advances.
JCP activities in the last House of Representatives general election, in which we suffered a setback, teaches us an important lesson regarding what is to be done for further JCP advances.
After listening to many people both within and outside the party, the JCP reviewed its activities in the last general election and drew lessons from them. All this is in the decisions of the 6th and 7th Central Committee Plenums, which can be important guidelines for further JCP advances. Those lessons are as follows:
1) We use policy debates to develop our activities to make our proposal for a progressive and democratic line embraced by the people.
One of the most important things we should maintain as our basic attitude is to combine criticism and constructive policy proposals. The JCP as an opposition party will most severely criticize misgovernment and at the same time will propose responsible solutions in the interests of the people on any issues.
The JCP is the only opposition party that consistently stands for progressive change, and is the most thoroughgoing critic of misgovernment. Only by exerting this "opposition spirit" will our policy proposals be convincing.
It is also important to maintain the dual approach to work on urgent measures and call for a fundamental solution to problems. We will take up urgent tasks for protecting the people's interests from misgovernment and show the way for a fundamental departure from LDP politics.
The task is for the JCP to take up burning questions the people want to get solved urgently to fend off the oppressive policies of the LDP government. This is the way for us to prove our real worth as defenders of the people's pressing needs. We must link this activity with untiring efforts to present our proposal for "Remaking Japan" as a concrete alternative for solving these problems and achieve a broad consensus on it. We will work for fresh and bold development of our policy-making activities in both aspects.
2) If we are to grow into a party capable of assuming political power, we cannot evade taking up the struggle to expose and defeat the increasing anticommunist attacks which are taking on new forms.
There were extensive anticommunist attacks already in the 1970s aimed at preventing the JCP from achieving major advances. But the recent attacks take on different methods; they are more decadent and debasing, as clear from their underhanded propaganda using anonymous leaflets to spread defamatory statements about the JCP.
The present attacks on the JCP arise from the acute sense of crisis on the part of the forces of reaction over their inability to sustain the system, and the increasing significance of JCP presence and activities. We must not underestimate their extraordinary tenacity and practices using whatever means available to them.
In defeating them, it is necessary for us to speak about the JCP Program and history constantly in our day-to-day activities to a wide-range of people, not to mention quick and resolute responses during election campaigns. Misunderstandings and prejudices that have long separated the people from the JCP are now collapsing, but the anticommunist climate which has historical roots in Japan, has not disappeared completely.
As we carry out our everyday activities to defend the people's interests, it is important for us to heighten public confidence toward the JCP to the extent that no such anticommunist attacks can be sustained. Note the mayoral election of Komae City in Tokyo, held on the same day as the last House of Representatives general election. In spite of violent smear campaigns by the challengers, the JCP member candidate was re-elected by doubling the votes he received in the first election in 1996. This is proof of the great confidence the citizens have in what the democratic city administration has achieved. Though each election takes on different characters from municipality to municipality, we have important lessons to learn from the Komae election.
3) Building a strong JCP both in quality and in number is essential for opening the way for a Democratic Coalition Government.
The 6th Central Committee Plenum pointed out that the root cause of the setback in the general election (June 25, 2000) was found in the fact that we had to enter the election campaign without achieving progress in filling the gap between the JCP's political influence and its organizational strength.
The changes in the JCP's numerical strength in the 1990s show clearly that our organizational strength is far behind the political influence it has gained.
-- The number of party members, the core of the JCP's strength, decreased to 360,000 at the time of the JCP 20th Congress in 1994 from 480,000 in 1990. Thanks to the constant effort for expansion, we have achieved progress, but the present number still stays at 386,517.
-- The Akahata readership, which stood at 2.86 million in 1990, has decreased to 1.99 million at present. The number of Daily Akahata subscribers is about 350,000, down from 540,000.
The 1990s saw the JCP making advances in its political influence in general, but its organizational capacity did not catch up with it, and is still unable to overtake the lag. While obtaining seven- to eight-million people's support in national elections, we are in contact with only a small part of these people in our day-to-day activities. This discrepancy was evident in our setback in the last general election.
Causes of these setbacks should be examined in two aspects. One is the adverse wind that prevailed in connection with the second major reactionary offensive since the end of World War II, and the events that shook the world in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European regimes. It is very significant that JCP positions were sustained despite difficulties we faced in connection with this adverse wind. The other aspect concerns our active efforts. We have found that the lack of conscious efforts to increase JCP membership has been weakness. A lack of accuracy in our guidelines is also to blame.
The grassroots organizations we have for connecting the JCP with the people are great JCP assets, which no other political party has. Consider, however, that we are aiming for establishing a democratic government, and you will easily perceive the delay in party building to be the biggest weakness in our party activities. Let us put all our energies into efforts to overcome this weakness.
4) The setback in the general election was the first test we faced in the process of focusing our struggle on the target of establishing a Democratic Coalition Government in the early 21st century, the goal which we set in the 21st Congress. If the party draws lessons correctly from the test and does its utmost with fresh spirit and enthusiasm, we can certainly pave the way for further JCP advances.
Taking a broader view, a bright future is in our perspective for the 21st century both in Japan and the world. The deadlock and the crisis of LDP politics which deepened during the 1990s is calling for new politics. A new politics which Japanese society calls for and which the JCP Program entails are coming closer and overlapping with each other. Objective conditions for change, which are fundamentally immune to anticommunist conspiracies, are maturing.
Through a buildup of our capabilities we need in the present objective political conditions, we will devote all our energy to rally the majority of the people for democratic reforms and establish a Democratic Coalition Government in an early period of the 21st century.
1) The 1990s saw two events shaking East Asia.
One is the movement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Already in the 1970s, ASEAN was seeking peace, freedom, and neutrality. Joined by Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the 1990s, it has overcome the confrontation from the times of the Vietnam War and developed into an organization for regional cooperation with all ten Southeast Asian countries participating. In 1994, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was inaugurated with the aim of developing security dialogues in the whole of East Asia, followed by dialogues starting between ASEAN and China. Joined by North Korea in July this year, the ARF became a group of all Asian nations which includes Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and China. The Treaty of Nuclear-Weapon Free Southeast Asia signed in 1995 came into force in 1997. Southeast Asia is now a dynamic source of the international movements toward peace and social progress, which include the non-aligned movement, the anti-nuclear weapons movement, and the peaceful settlement of international disputes.
The other is a dramatic movement toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. A successful North-South Korean summit was held this year. This historic event came after many developments with twists and turns -- the simultaneous admission of North and South Korea to the United Nations (1991), the agreement on the proclamation of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula (1991), the crisis over North Korea's nuclear threat in 1994, and the effort to get back on a peaceful track leading to the solution. North-South Korean leaders have agreed to seek peaceful coexistence between the North and the South, and the independent reunification of Korea free of great power interference. This agreement is very important not only for the peaceful solution of the question of the Korean Peninsula but also for the peace and security of East Asia which includes Japan.
2) All this is in sharp contrast to the Liberal Democratic Party government. In the 1990s, the LDP government focused its policy on the Japan-U.S. military alliance and military readiness. It has helped reinforce U.S. military bases in Japan as represented by the adverse revision of the Special Arrangement Act for Land Expropriation for the U.S. Forces. It has also strengthened the setup for sending abroad Japan's Self-Defense Forces through the enactment of the War Laws (Laws related to the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation).
Japan is the only East Asian country to be completely engrossed in the strengthening of its military preparedness without a willingness to work for peace or develop a foreign policy for peace. The North-South summit on the Korean Peninsula was made possible by South Korea, North Korea, China, and the United States pursuing a solution to the question by diplomatic means. The United States, while maintaining its policy for military intervention, had diplomatic options. By contrast, the Japanese government could not take any initiative for dealing with these affairs, thus making the "absence of Japan's diplomatic policy" stand out. The LDP's policy which solely relies on military options, is not only dangerous, it is tantamount to turning a blind eye to what's really happening in Asia. With such a policy, Japan will have to tread a miserable path of isolation in the 21st century in both Asia and the world.
3) Since the JCP 21st Congress which decided to place greater emphasis on Asian affairs, we have developed a new phase in the JCP's relations with Asian countries. This effort has born fruit. The Japanese Communist Party and the Communist Party of China normalized their relations in 1998 and subsequently held summit talks. The JCP delegation toured Southeast Asian countries in 1999. The JCP put forward a proposal for normalizing Japan-North Korea relations and participated in the suprapartisan parliamentary delegation visiting North Korea.
While pursuing the major objective of abrogating the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the JCP through these activities has developed the following immediate tasks to be tackled to establish peace in Japan and Asia.
-- Ending Japan's status as a nation structured on U.S. military bases: We will work for the reduction and removal of U.S. military bases which include strike forces such as the U.S. Marines, the U.S. aircraft carrier battle group, and the Aerospace Expeditionary Forces.
In particular, we regard the task of removing the heavy burden of the U.S. bases in Okinawa as a national task. The Japanese and U.S. governments are planning to strengthen their military interventionist setup in Asia by constructing a state-of-the-art military base in Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture in order to deploy a new type of military aircraft. This new base is part of the intolerable scheme to perpetuate U.S. bases in Okinawa throughout the 21st century. We will fight to stop relocations of U.S. bases within Okinawa and get the bases reduced and dismantled. We do not tolerate the U.S. Forces' colonial-type outrages such as low-altitude flight exercises, night-landing practices (NLPs), or live-fire exercises. We will not allow the War Laws to be invoked, and demand its repeal.
-- A call for four changes in Japan's foreign policy: (i) In dispute resolutions, priority must be given to peaceful means through negotiations, not to military solution. Japan will adhere to the peace order established in the United Nations Charter; (ii) Japan as an Asian country must stop putting too much emphasis on relations with the U.S. and G7 Summit diplomacy and put Asia diplomacy at the center of its foreign relations; (iii) Japan will establish an independent foreign policy that stands for the interests of the Japanese people, work with the world in reasonable ways and refuse to uncritically follow any foreign power; and, (iv) Japan will express remorse and apology for its war of aggression and colonial rule as a prerequisite for developing Japan's relations with Asia.
-- Five principles for Japan-China relations: (i) Japan reflects deeply on its war of aggression; (ii) Japan adheres to the "one-China" principle in international politics; (iii) Japan and China will not invade each other and will adhere to their bilateral relations based on the principle of peaceful coexistence; (iv) Japan and China will solve any problems through peaceful negotiation; and, (v) Japan and China will work together for peace in Asia and the world.
Also in seeking the resolution of the Taiwan question, it is important for Japan to firmly stand for the "one-China" framework under international law. Japan should not support the U.S. position that refuses to give up the interventionist strategy represented by the "Taiwan Relations Act." One hundred and five years ago, Japan took Taiwan from China and kept it under control as a colony. Fifty-five years ago, Japan returned Taiwan to China by accepting the Potsdam Declaration. History dictates that it is Japan's responsibility to defend the "one-China" principle more rigorously than any other country in the world. Only by adhering to this position can we reasonably assert our independent political view that this question must be solved peacefully by respecting the will of Taiwan residents.
-- Negotiations for normalizing Japan-North Korea relations: It is Japan's historical responsibility to solve the past problem of its war of aggression and colonial rule. Japan must take the initiative in doing so. Japan has failed to take action on this problem for the past half century after the end of World War II. The key to getting results in normalization talks with North Korea is for Japan to put forward a positive policy for the settlement of the question. As Japan seeks the normalization of relations with North Korea, it must clearly apologize to North Korea by admitting that its colonization of Korea was an illegal act and promise it will make reparations for the damages from colonial rule. This will help pave the way for solving disputes between the two countries.
The so-called suspicion of North Korea's kidnapping of Japanese nationals should be dealt with on the basis of what has been achieved so far through police investigations.
-- Security dialogues with Southeast Asian countries: We will attach importance to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as a means of making the incipient powerful movement toward peace in East Asia more reliable. The ARF comprises all East Asian nations. One of its principles is that it assumes no enemy country. It presupposes no joint military sanctions. This is how the ARF is making noteworthy progress as an organization devoted to dialogues for peace and security in East Asia. The Japanese government, as an ARF member nation, should do its utmost to firmly defend the Japanese Constitution's Article 9 and promote common efforts with the rest of Southeast Asian countries.
4) The Japanese and Russian governments have held territorial talks without making any progress. The negotiation is at a complete impasse.
Japan has been clinging to the interpretation that Kunashiri and Etorofu islands are not part of the Chishima Islands which Japan disclaimed in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. From this internationally unacceptable position, Japan has only been demanding the return of four islands: Kunashiri, Etorofu, Habomai, and Shikotan islands. From the outset, Japan has excluded the Northern Chishima Islands from the negotiation process. What's more, the Japanese government has proposed to Russia a solution which will only determine a national border putting these four islands in Japanese territory but leaving the administrative rights over the islands in the hands of Russia for the time being. Thus, Japan has repeated to make concessions without Russia making any changes in their attitude, the consequence being disastrous for Japan because its unilateral retreat has become a fait accompli.
In the recent Japan-Russia territorial talks, the Japanese government's negotiating position has not been based on the internationally accepted rationale; it instead heavily relied on "friendly" personal relationship between the two leaders and tried to use economic incentives as a lure to attract Russian attention. Such a way cannot lead to a solution of the territorial question but will rather cause great damage to Japan's national interests.
The JCP has pointed out that the root of the territorial question between Japan and Russia is Stalin's violation of the principle of territorial non-expansion established in connection with the post-World War II disposition. At Yalta, Stalin demanded that the Chishima Islands be handed over to the Soviet Union, and the United States and Great Britain endorsed his demand. Thus, the Japanese government in the San Francisco Treaty's Article 2 Clause C renounced its claim on the Chishima Islands. The JCP has consistently asserted that the Japanese government must not be bound by this wrong postwar disposition and that it must negotiate with the other side from the position of correcting that mistake. To solve this question, it is essential for the Japanese government to negotiate based on the rationale which is supported by international law and which will convince both the world as well as the Russian people.
5) The on-going sea change in the East Asian situation brings into the fundamental question: Should the Japan-U.S. security system be extended into the 21st century?
The "threat" which used to be a pretext for maintaining military alliances is gone. Historically, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was concluded ostensibly to defend Japan against "Soviet threats." Almost ten years have passed since such threats vanished. The loyal pro-Security Treaty forces have replaced the "Soviet threat" with the "North Korean threat," but this rationale cannot be sustained due to the dramatic moves towards peace on the Korean Peninsula. And the fundamental question now is "what is the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty for?"
Against this backdrop, the Japan-U.S. military alliance has become known as an alliance for aggression which has nothing to do with "national defense." Above all, the War Laws [as the legal basis for involving Japan in U.S. wars under the 'Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation'] have only helped sharpen the contradictions between the Japan-U.S. military alliance and peace in Asia and Japan.
Last October, the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) of the U.S. National Defense University published a special report on Japan-U.S. relations, in which key foreign policy and military experts from the Democratic Party and the Republican Party joined together in publicly calling for Japan to accept the right of collective self-defense. This is nothing less than a demand that the Japan-U.S. military alliance be heightened to a new dangerous level, so that Japan's role in military action with U.S. Forces under the War Laws will include participation in combat operations.
The JCP in the Diet exposed Japan-U.S. secret agreements on nuclear weapons. This clearly proves that the mechanism for allowing nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan, as agreed when the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was revised in 1960, is still in force today. The United States remains prepared for the "redeployment of nuclear weapons" in an "emergency." This question concerning allowing nuclear weapons into Japan makes the struggle for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty more urgent than ever.
Bound by the military alliance and forced to live with huge U.S. military bases, Japan, the only atom-bombed country, is made a base for nuclear war. Are we going to accept this situation into the 21st century? Those who believe that this situation should be eternal have no right to talk about independence or Japan's future. The JCP will tackle its programmatic task of winning over the majority of the people to support the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
1) The LDP government's economic policy of serving the interests of the large corporations has greatly distorted the Japanese economy. In the 1990s, these distortions of the nation's economy have not only inflicted a great deal of suffering on the people's lives but hampered the sound development of the Japanese economy.
The Japanese economy after World War II underwent a "high-growth rate period" between the second half of the 1950s and the early 1970s, followed by two oil shocks in the 1970s, and the "slow growth period." This period has witnessed major structural changes in the Japanese economy.
During the era of "high-rate economic growth," contradictions arose from an economic policy which served the large corporations and led to environmental pollution and inflation. It was true, however, that some of the profits of the large corporations were distributed to society through, for instance, investment in equipment, thus contributing to improving the people's livelihood.
But in the era of "slow economic growth" that began in the 1980s, major corporations have come to reap enormous profits through cost reduction or streamlining, which in turn pushed down the income and consumption of working people. As a result, an increase in profits of large corporations did not bring about improvement of living conditions. This situation has exacerbated in the 1990s, when the prolonged economic recession followed the burst of the bubble economy.
These structural changes in the economy are confirmed by government statistics. In its recent report, the Economic Planning Agency (EPA) analyzed the economy as follows: (i) In the "high-rate growth" period, an increase in plant investment by private companies meant the substantial growth of the entire Japanese economy, accompanied by greater consumer spending; (ii) but in the "slow growth" period, an increase in plant investment by private corporations did not help boost consumer spending.
Personal consumption accounted for about 60% of Japan's GDP in fiscal 1998 (April 1998-March 1999). It is essential to the Japanese economy. The sound development of the Japanese economy is impossible without politics providing direct support for the people's livelihood. This is an important feature of the present economic structure of Japan.
2) Being unable to respond to these structural changes in Japan's economy, LDP politics has stuck to the economic policy of primarily supporting the investments and profits of large corporations. The contradictions of this economic policy took on very critical characteristics in the 1990s, during which the Japanese economy plunged into a prolonged recession following the burst of the bubble economy.
-- Government policy was one of using huge amounts of tax money to the benefit of the major general contractor construction companies and big banks. Annual public investment was expanded to an unprecedented scale of 50 trillion yen. And the 70-trillion yen scheme for supporting the major banks was also established. These measures caused the greatest fiscal failure since World War II, leaving national and local governments with a deficit amounting to a total of 645 trillion yen and did not help improve the living conditions of the people. The recession dragged on throughout the 1990s. The government established preparedness for helping large corporations push ahead with restructuring. This helped a few large companies increase their profits. But it also brought about job insecurity, a drop in workers' income, and bankruptcies of small- and medium-sized businesses, resulting in a prolonged and deep economic recession.
-- Merciless policies were imposed on the people and in particular their household economy. The people have been forced to pay more for social security services, including medical care, pensions, and nursing care services. The consumption tax rate increase has taken away 15 trillion yen from the people in the last three years. Equally, in the last nine years the zero interest rate policy caused a loss of 30 trillion yen to the people. And company restructuring has taken away 6.5 trillion yen out of workers' earnings in the last two years. As a consequence, the incomes of wage-earners only increased 1.3% in the past decade, and household spending fell by 4.2% in the same period.
It is all too obvious that this road will undermine both the people's lives and the Japanese economy in the 21st century. Clearly, LDP politics has lost capacity and capability to run the Japanese economy any longer.
Now is the time to change fundamentally economic policy from one of helping the large corporations prosper to one of supporting improvement of the people's living conditions. To this end, the JCP proposes the following three measures to bring about democratic change in Japan's economy.
3) First, the establishment of democratic rules of economic activities:
The 1990s was also a decade in which Japan's economic anomalies became more serious under the government's economic administration centered on the large corporations, which we refer to as "capitalism without rules."
It is important to note that "capitalism without rules" is not only ruining the people's lives but undermining the basic conditions for the development of the nation's economy. The rampant restructuring by large corporations in pursuit of immediate profits is not only prolonging the present economic recession but also contributing to a decline in productivity. The policy of abandoning small- and medium-sized businesses, agriculture, forestry, and local industries is destroying the foundation of Japan's manufacturing-based economy. The collapse of local shopping areas caused by unrestricted inroads of large-scale stores does serious damage to local communities and economies. Bail-outs of the big banks using tax money bring about moral hazards that know no limit in industrial circles, to say nothing of the banks.
Since the JCP 21st Congress, we have developed policies for ending "capitalism without rules" and for putting large corporations under democratic control to make them fulfill their responsibility appropriate to their economic power.
-- Employment: In order to protect jobs from outrageous corporate restructuring, the JCP has proposed the creation of jobs by reducing work hours chiefly through eliminating unpaid overtime work and an enactment of a law to ban dismissals without workers' consent and inhibit coercing workers into "voluntary" early retirement or transfer without consent.
-- Small- and medium-sized businesses: The JCP has called for rules to be established to protect subcontractors from the tyrannical practice of large corporations and local shopping districts from the unrestricted inroads of large-scale retailers. It has also insisted on a budget increase for helping small- and medium-sized businesses improve conditions for their business appropriate to the key roles they play in developing Japan's economy.
-- Financial policies: The JCP has consistently demanded that the scheme for helping the big banks with tax money be abolished and called for the financial system to be reconstructed in accordance with the principle that the banks must together take responsibility for their failures and shoulder due burdens.
These JCP proposals constitute a set of policy propositions designed to take responsibility for the sound development of the nation's economy and the protection of the people's living standards at the same time. Their national significance is confirmed by the fact that they are favorably accepted by many people, including a number of business leaders.
4) Second, a democratic reforms of the fiscal, tax, and social security systems:
The Japanese government's fiscal failure was accelerated in the 1990s by the substantial shortfall in revenues. It has been very extravagant of the government to use enormous amounts of tax money for the benefit of large construction companies and banks while cutting taxes to benefit large corporations and high income earners, including the sizable reduction in corporate income tax rates.
Burdened with the long-term debt amounting to 130% of the GDP, the nation's fiscal crisis has reached a level without parallel in the world. What's more, the national debt keeps growing without the prospect of improvement. Such an abnormal situation must not continue. If we fail to deal with the failure, it will cause a crash of the government bond market, a rise in interest rates of government bonds and long-term loans, and, finally, serious turbulence in the financial market and the Japanese economy. It will have a negative impact on the world economy, too. The only way LDP politics can choose to avoid a catastrophe will be to force the people to accept triple burdens: rampant inflation, an increase in the consumption tax rate, and deep cuts in budget allocations for the improvement of the people's living conditions. LDP politics is on the brink of a nationwide catastrophe in respect to its fiscal management as in many other areas.
The new JCP proposal for fiscal reconstruction which puts emphasis on the immediate need to safeguard the people's lives based on the following three principles: (i) Redirect government expenditure by overhauling wasteful systems; reduce the present level of expenditure for public works projects amounting to 50 trillion yen by half in order to shift more money to the improvement of the people's livelihood and welfare and slash military expenditure; (ii) Reform tax revenue policies by correcting the regressive tax system favorable to large corporations and high-income earners; and (iii) Achieve fiscal reconstruction through step-by-step approaches that secure money necessary for safeguarding the people's living conditions.
How we can sustain an aging society is another serious question in the 21st century.
The government and ruling parties are planning to make major adverse changes in three social security areas toward the beginning of the 21st century: medical care, nursing care, and pensions. It is expected that the people are asked to pay two to three trillion yen more due to increases in insurance contributions and cuts in benefits. It is an urgent task to oppose these adverse revisions and get social services improved in the interests of the people.
Government expenditure for social security benefits in Japan is 18% of national income, which is only 50 or 60% of those of European countries; in Great Britain it is 27%, Germany 33%, and France 38%. It is necessary to raise the present level of Japan as high as is necessary to make a future society in which everybody is free of anxieties about old age. The JCP proposal for a basic plan to secure the necessary funds is as follows:
-- Through the implementation of the new JCP proposal for fiscal reconstruction (both in expenditures and revenues) yearly deficits can be halved while at the same time securing some 10 trillion yen to be used for improving the people's living conditions. With this budget it is possible to fully meet the urgent need for an increase in social welfare funds for pensions, nursing care, and health care.
-- In future, it will be essential to secure funds by overhauling the tax system and the social security programs. Either with tax revenue or social insurance contributions as funds, it is important to adhere to the principle "according to the ability to pay" (to bear burdens according to financial capability) which calls for large corporations and high-income earners to shoulder appropriate burdens. A drastic tax reform based on the following democratic principles is necessary: Direct taxes should be the main source of revenue; taxation must be comprehensive and progressive, and no taxes levied on the cost-of-living. Social security funds should be based more on insurance contributions borne by large corporations, which have been kept lower than in European countries. At the same time, the social security system should be reformed in accordance with the ability to pay principle (charging insurance contributions according to income) including abolition of the ceiling on insurance contributions for high-income earners.
Disparity in income (the gap between the rich and the poor) widened rapidly in the 1980s and the 1990s. Japan is one of the major capitalist countries with the largest income gap. Even according to government statistics, the gap between the poorest 20% and the richest 20% of the population expanded from 7.4 times in 1981 to 33.2 times in 1996. Taking this situation into consideration, reforms of the fiscal, tax, and social security systems should be carried out in a manner that will strengthen their original function of redistributing the national income to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.
Moves to increase the consumption tax rate are gaining momentum in the government and the ruling parties. The struggle against this tax increase plan is urgent and important. The government Tax Commission is clearly inclined towards the raising of the consumption tax rate, defining it as a "key tax." The government and the ruling parties have agreed on raising the government contribution to the old-age basic pension to 50% (from the present 34.5%) from 2004 at the latest. It is likely that they will insist that the consumption tax rate be raised on the pretext of the need to fund the pension plan. The JCP firmly opposes the attempt to use the absurd tax which burdens the people as the backbone of the nation's tax system. The JCP consistently pursues the reduction and abolition of the consumption tax rate as part of our effort to achieve fiscal reconstruction and tax system reforms, while increasing joint national struggles to prevent an increase in the consumption tax rate and to make food tax exempt in response to the urgent call of the people.
5) Third, a change to establish equal economic relations between Japan and the United States:
Under LDP politics, the wealth of the Japanese people has been absorbed by the general contractor construction companies, the major banks, and other large corporations. But this is not all. The Japanese economy is subordinate to the United States with the aim of propping up the U.S. economy. This has caused great damage to the livelihood of the Japanese people.
The strong yen policy, imposed by the "Plaza Accord" at the Conference of Finance Ministers of the Group of Five in 1985, further distorted the Japanese economy. The over-evaluation of the yen against the dollar (the discrepancy between the exchange rate of the yen and its purchasing power parity) has continued now for lengthy 15 years. It erased tens of trillions of yen of Japanese assets in the United States. Under the prolonged over-evaluation of the yen, large corporations rushed to endless cost cutting and workforce reductions, in order to maintain their international competitiveness. This behavior, however, worsened the unemployment problem and increased the failure of small- and medium-sized businesses, inflicting serious damage to Japan's "manufacturing-based economy."
Since the "Plaza Accord," Japan's official discount rate has been kept lower than that in the United States. Interest rates in Japan, kept below those in the United States, worked as a system to drive Japanese funds into the U.S. seeking higher interest rates. Those funds helped sustain Wall Street and cover the huge current account deficit. The zero interest rate policy, imposed by the United States, has been at the immeasurable cost of the Japanese economy. In the second half of the 1980s, the zero rate policy triggered the bubble economy but failed. Its negative impact hangs heavily on the Japanese economy even today. The zero interest rate policy has been maintained in spite of the burst of the bubble economy, exacting a sum of 30 trillion yen from the interest on people's savings in the 1990s alone.
In the "Japan-U.S. Structural Impediments Initiative Talks," the U.S. has imposed deregulation policies on Japan, including the relaxation and abolition of major provisions of the Large-Scale Retail Stores Law, along with the further liberalization of Japanese markets for foreign beef, oranges, and rice, all of which are at the enormous cost to the Japanese economy and the people's living standards.
Both in Europe and Asia, there is a growing movement towards getting free of the tyrannical economic domination by the United States and protecting economic sovereignty. By contrast, LDP politics, which continues to be bound by the myth that the Japanese economy and the U.S. economy are interdependent, does not have the slightest hesitation in giving priority to supporting the U.S. economy. Such politics does not have the capacity to run the Japanese economy. As we seek a democratic reconstruction of the nation's economy in the 21st century, a very important task now is for us to end Japan's subservience to the U.S. in formulating financial, monetary, and trade policies, and establish equitable and equal economic relations with the United States.
1) As we envisage Japan in the 21st century, we find many problems calling for urgent solutions in relation to the people's survival and lives.
-- Children and education: Bullying, classroom breakdown, school violence, and child abuse are problems that make the situation surrounding children and education even more serious. School refusal is on the rise. The increase in juvenile crimes is a source of everyone's concerns. The JCP 21st Congress decision called for education of children designed to equip them with egalitarian cultural values as future members of a democratic society. This task is all the more important today.
The JCP has called for national efforts specifically on three questions: (i) to reform the education of children to end "cramming" education preparing children for entrance examination, education which drives children into competition, and to establish education putting emphasis on the growth and development of every child, (ii) to promote the sound development of children's community by establishing morals in every field of adult society, and (iii) to establish autonomous social rules in the cultural realm in order to protect children from harmful influences.
In its recommendation to the Japanese government in June 1998, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child severely criticized the fact that "Japanese children are exposed to developmental disorder due to the stress of a highly competitive educational system." Japan is the only country that was criticized by the commission for its defective educational system. This confirms the JCP's proposal as being reasonable by international standards.
The pressing task now is to carry out an educational reform that will enable every child to acquire basic academic standards. What might be called the "crisis of academic standards" is widespread today. It is very serious that many children do not understand what is going on in their classes and are even losing interest in school.
That is a result of the educational policy of emphasizing competition and control, the policy which the LDP government and the Ministry of Education have encouraged for many years. There exists an abnormal situation in which children need to go to cram schools in order to understand what is taught at school. One reason for this is that the school curriculum is bound by the (Education Ministry's) "Course of Study." Teachers tend to have children learn fragments of knowledge by heart without any context, and are unable to use class hours in order for children to learn the basic subjects.
To equip children with basic academic standards is a fundamental national demand and a basic task of school under the Constitution and the Fundamental Law on Education. It is necessary to make the curriculum more systematic in accord with the stages of children's development and to improve classes through taking enough time for every child to understand basic or fundamental points.
This kind of improvement can only be possible through reducing the class size by first achieving a 30-student class and further reducing it. In order to achieve this it is necessary to increase teaching staff and educational budgets and establish democratic principles for running schools.
The government and the ruling parties are unable to formulate a policy to overcome the serious situation surrounding children and education. On the contrary they intend to bring reactionary trends into education such as affirming the prewar Imperial Rescript on Education and attempting an adverse revision of the Fundamental Law on Education, while ignoring the recommendations of the United Nations as "not enforceable." We cannot entrust such forces with the future of the nation's children.
It is also important to oppose the proposal to transfer the administration of the national universities to an independent agency. We regard the plan as a scheme that hampers the independent and creative development of the universities which should be the nation's intellectual basis. We must achieve far-reaching improvement of the universities' conditions for education and research.
-- Lower birthrates: Japanese society is losing its capacity to bear and rear children. This is a serious matter for the nation's future. The JCP has pointed out that the fundamental reason for this lies in the contradictions growing and sharpening between "work" and "child bear and rearing," and has made propositions for the solution of this problem.
A fundamental solution will call for not only improvement of the public child care system and the strengthening of support for child raising but also efforts to solve problems of work, in particular employment. In order for both men and women to be able to share the responsibility to take care of their children, it is essential to improve the work environment in the workplace, respect the equality between men and women in all aspects of employment, and provide men and women with stable jobs as a way to solve the problem of unemployment and job insecurity. The JCP proposal for economic reforms to correct "capitalism without rules" is closely connected with the task of solving the problem of "low birthrates."
-- Agriculture, forestry, fishery, and food: The self-sufficiency of food, which is essential to support the lives of the people, has declined to as low as 40%. For grain, the rate has dropped to 25%, ranking 130th among 178 countries and regions, and the lowest among the ten countries with population of more than 100,000,000. When compared with Brazil's 84%, which ranks ninth, Japan's rate is strikingly low. At a time when many intergovernmental agencies are warning against the tight supply of food in the 21st century due to many factors, including population explosion, unusual weather, and limits to acreage extension, the Japanese government's heavy dependence on food imports must be blamed as politics of national ruin.
The task now is for politics to fulfill its responsibility to reconstruct and develop agriculture and increase the food self-sufficiency rate according to plans. Specifically, we call for the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on agriculture to be revised so that rice is removed from items which are subject to the liberalization of imports, and for effective safeguards to be established. This is a step that establishes and protects national sovereignty over food. It is also necessary in this regard that agriculture be established as the nation's key industry, so that tax money for agriculture is used primarily for price supports of farm products, ending over-emphasis on public works projects.
Among the tasks facing us are the reconstruction of forestry through a greater use of Japanese timber and restraints on timber import and the development of fisheries through the recovery of fishery resources and the stabilization of fish prices. Coupled with these efforts, the sustaining and developing of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries as a permanent task should be regarded as essential for securing a stable food supply, preserving farming and mountain villages, and protecting the diverse ecosystems as well as national land and the environment which are essential for the people's lives. All these measures are necessary for exerting agriculture's multifunctionality.
- Energy: The Japanese government's energy policy for the 21st century is one of totally depending on nuclear power generation through construction of more nuclear power plants and promoting the nuclear fuel cycle using plutonium. Japan is the only country among the major capitalist countries to pursue such a policy. Almost all major Western countries have decided to discontinue the construction of new nuclear power plants, thus retreating from the plutonium recycling policy. This shows how anomalous Japan's energy policy is. Again the government's stubborn adhere to the policy abandoned by the other major countries in the world endangers the future of the people.
Last year Swedish decided to close down its nuclear power plants. Germany is planning to shut down all its plants by early in the 2020s. We should put an end to the present dangerous policy of relying more on nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel cycle using plutonium and retreat step by step from nuclear power generation, while seeking to achieve a low energy society and developing renewable energy.
-- Environment: Increasingly serious dioxin contamination, spills of contaminants from industrial waste disposal facilities, the threat of hormone disrupting substance, and air pollution are some of the sources of environmental concerns which threaten the lives and health of the people. It is necessary to establish rules to pursue rigorously the responsibility of large corporations as waste producers and dischargers in every area that needs environmental protection. An environmental tax should be introduced to make clear the responsibilities of corporations that produce and use substances and products that cause contamination.
Natural forests, tidelands, natural coastlines, wetlands, rivers, and lakes, which constitute the rich nature of Japan, are being destroyed by public works projects based on the idea that development is of paramount importance giving rise to severe international criticism. As the 21st century approaches, the urgent task is to end the policy that gives top priority to development.
-- Disaster prevention: Japan is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. What politics must do is to learn lessons from the recent natural disasters caused by a number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in order for the country to be well prepared for them. The need now is to drastically reinforce the inadequate monitoring and prediction systems, accelerate disaster-resistant town development, and improve systems supporting victims' lives, including assistance to individuals and small businesses.
The eruption of Mt. Usu [in Hokkaido] and the volcanic eruptions on Miyake Island [Tokyo's pacific island] have shown the importance of monitoring and predicting volcanic activities. Only 20 out of the 37 active volcanoes designated as 'suspicious' by the Education Ministry's Geodesy Council are constantly monitored, the rest being left with extremely inadequate monitoring or no monitoring at all. We will do our utmost to deal with natural disasters by establishing countermeasures based on a long-term plan, including the setting up of a constant monitoring system for every active volcano.
Floods caused by torrential rains are also frequent. They are endangering the lives of the residents and causing serious damage to properties. Behind this lies unregulated large-scale development, urbanization which do not consider disaster prevention, and reckless deforestation. The claim that "such a disaster was unexpected" must not be used as an excuse. It is essential to substantially establish comprehensive disaster prevention and evacuation systems.
-- IT (information technology): With the 21st century just around the corner, the development of information technology is opening up an epoch-making phase in the cultural and technological history of humanity. Especially the development and diffusion of the Internet has made it possible to internationally exchange information using computers as a new means of communication. Already more than 20% of the Japanese people are using on-line systems to obtain and send out all kinds of information.
IT is still developing. The task now is for politics to take serious steps to make the new technology available throughout all strata of society instead of taking such a short-sighted attitude to only use it to promote conventional public works projects or to boost the economy. In particular it is necessary to take steps to ensure that the new technology is the common property of the people and benefits everyone, to prevent new crimes using IT, and to cope with its negative effects.
2) These are important issues which have significant bearing on the lives and living conditions of the Japanese people in the 21st century. But on any of these questions, the LDP has no fundamental, national solution to propose in a long-term perspective; it only offers cosmetic, irresponsible measures. If LDP politics continues into the 21st century, the Japanese people will lose their capability to live.
The JCP presents responsible solutions to all these questions. The JCP can present solutions on any issue in defense of the interest of the people because it is a party devoted to "Remaking Japan," a program for changing politics away from giving top priority to the interests of large corporations and the United States. The JCP must play the pioneering role as a party that assumes the responsibility for the future of the Japanese people, by envisaging the 21st century from a broad viewpoint and positively dealing with the issues arising from Japanese society.
1) The advocates of constitutional amendments are strengthening their moves towards the adverse revision of the Constitution using the Research Council on the Constitution established in the Diet. The Constitution is now a critical issue in the struggle between the progressive forces and the forces of reaction over Japan's course in the 21st century.
The JCP will carry through with the position that not only the progressive provisions but all provisions of the Constitution must be strictly defended. This is the position the JCP will maintain regardless of whether it is an opposition party or a ruling party. The Democratic Coalition Government we are aiming for is a government that respects and protects the Constitution according to Article 99. With regard to the question of the emperor system, we call for the constitutional provisions to be strictly observed, in particular the provision that the emperor "shall not have powers related to government" (Article 4) and the provision that limits the acts the emperor can perform in matters of state (Articles 6 and 7).
As we look to Japan's future in a broad 21st century perspective, it is natural that the Constitution should make advance based on the consensus of the people. The emperor system, with its basic contradiction with popular sovereignty, cannot be permanent either.
At the same time, we call for the five progressive principles of the Constitution to be defended and fully implemented into the future. They are sovereign power residing with the people and national sovereignty, lasting peace, basic human rights, parliamentary democracy, and local autonomy.
These principles were established as part of the development of the 20th century progressive currents and have a pioneering value; they can be a cornerstone for the construction of a democratic Japan in the 21st century. The JCP's "Remaking Japan" proposal goes hand in hand with the full implementation of the five progressive principles of the Constitution in terms of its contents and direction.
2) At issue in the struggle over the Constitution is Article 9. Those who call for the Constitution to be revised argue for the need to change other articles as well, but it would be no exaggeration to say that their primary and only purpose is to remove the provision in Article 9. It should be noted that the call for the revision of the Constitution is accompanied by militarism ideology and its movements.
The true aim of the call for Article 9 to be revised is to pave the way for Japan's full participation in U.S. interventionist wars anywhere in the world.
The War Laws were railroaded through last year to impose mechanisms for such participation. But, because of Article 9, the government had to concede that technically "the Self-Defense forces are not allowed to carry out their operations for the purpose of using military force abroad and that their activities are limited to rear-area support." But "rear area support" was the government's way of describing logistics. This is a deceitful justification, because logistics is an integral part of war. It is also true that Article 9 has effectively prevented the SDF from being sent abroad.
Since the end of World War II, Japan has never militarily participated in wars abroad thanks to Article 9 and the people's movements for peace. Article 9 of the Constitution has been constantly trampled upon under the LDP governments. Nevertheless it has played and continues to play an important role in preventing the SDF from dispatching troops abroad and Japan from becoming a military power. Can we remove this brake to allow SDF troops to be dispatched abroad unrestricted? This is a burning question in the present struggle over Article 9. The struggle against the adverse revision of Article 9 can involve the wide-range of the people regardless of the views toward the constitutionality of the SDF.
The JCP sincerely calls on the Japanese people to build national cooperation on one point: opposition to the adverse revision of Article 9 and to any plans which are contrary to the constitutional peace principles.
3) How to view the relationship between the Constitution's Article 9 and Japan's Self-Defense Forces, and how to resolve the inherent contradictions is a crucial issue for Japan in the 21st century.
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution does not deny the right of a state to self-defense as an inherent right. However, by providing that the Japanese people "renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force," it states that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained." This provision prohibits Japan from possessing armed forces. Such a thoroughgoing adherence to lasting peace in a constitution is almost unparalleled in the world. We should take pride in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution which heralds the major 20th century trend towards outlawing war.
The world is now giving renewed attention to the true significance of Article 9 as is clear from the appeal made by the action guideline of the World Citizens Peace Conference held last year in The Hague, the Netherlands. It called on the world's parliaments to adopt a war-renouncing resolution similar to Japan's Article 9. This is a reflection of the emerging international movement of peace and progress toward the 21st century. The 21st century will be an era in which international disputes are not "settled" by military force; it will be an era in which world politics will be driven by diplomatic efforts based on international reason through peaceful talks. In the new century, Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution will be relevant globally. It will be highly valued, particularly in Asia in which a strong movement toward peace and progress is now gaining momentum.
It is clear that under Article 9 the Self-Defense Forces are unconstitutional. Stretching interpretation of the Constitution to a virtual revision by describing the SDF as not having war potential but as forces for self-defense is no longer tenable, because the SDF has one of the world's largest military budgets and is armed with state-of-the art weapons.
Then, how to resolve the contradictions between the Constitution's Article 9 and the SDF? The JCP has no intention of "settling" the question by striking out Article 9 to adjust the Constitution into co-existence with the SDF. We maintain that political efforts should be made to reform the unconstitutional reality through the complete implementation of Article 9 which has great significance in history.
These contradictions cannot be solved overnight. The complete implementation of Article 9 of the Constitution must be achieved through a step-by-step approach by respecting the people's consensus on this issue.
-- In the first stage, a stage prior to the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the burning task is to prevent Article 9 from being further violated by the War Laws being invoked and by the sending of the Self-Defense Forces abroad. In the present-day world embracing the major current toward disarmament, the urgent task is to make efforts to end Japan's arms buildup policy and turn to disarmament efforts.
-- The second stage will correspond to the subsequent situation created after the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which means Japan's secession from the Japan-U.S. military alliance. Naturally, there is a discrepancy between the peopleÅfs consensus on the abrogation of the Security Treaty and the peopleÅfs consensus on the disbanding of the Self-Defense Forces. In the JCP's view, a national consensus on the need to dissolve the SDF will be built as the people gain experiences under a democratic government. At this stage, the JCP must tackle a democratic reform of the SDF through ending the SDF dependence on the U.S. Forces, firmly establishing the political neutrality of SDF personnel as public servants, and implement a sizable reduction in the SDF.
-- The third and last will be the stage for a complete implementation of the Constitution's Article 9, which will include disbanding the SDF based on the people's consensus. A Japan which declares independence and neutrality, will join the world movement towards non-alignment and neutrality, and establish friendly relations with all countries in Asia and the rest of the world based on equality and reciprocity so that Japan's neutrality can be secured internationally. Standing for the Constitution's peace principles, such efforts to establish peaceful foreign relations will contribute to the well-being of Asia and the rest of the world. Also, the JCP will work toward taking substantial steps to get the SDF disbanded seeing that stable peace in Asia is maintained firmly and that public consensus matures on the complete implementation of the Constitution's Article 9.
If Japan, after declaring independence and neutrality, develops truly friendly relations with foreign countries and contributes to world peace by means of reasonable diplomatic efforts, it would guarantee Japan's security without depending on a standing military force. This is how the JCP views the 21st century and is our objective.
While we pursue this policy of finding a step-by-step solution to the question of the SDF, our understanding that the SDF are unconstitutional will not be changed. However, we also view that it is inevitable to live with the unconstitutional entity for a certain period. In other words, contradictions between the Constitution and the SDF will remain for a certain period. These contradictions are not something which we are responsible for; they are inevitable contradictions which we cannot escape from when we take over government. We will be obliged to inherit those contradictions as we work hard for the Constitution's Article 9 to be completely implemented. This is how the JCP is going to participate in a Democratic Coalition Government.
In the transitional period, if such an unexpected emergency as violation of our national sovereignty or a major disaster occurs, the existing Self-Defense Forces would be used to ensure the security of the people. Government has due responsibility to defend the constitutional principles by using all possible means: the people's lives, basic human rights, as well as national sovereignty and independence.
4) It is also important to work to have the constitutional provisions concerning basic human rights and democracy applied in politics.
The Japanese Constitution has 30 provisions on human rights. Political rights as well as social rights established in the Constitution also represent internationally high levels of human rights provisions. Under the LDP government, however, these constitutional provisions have been disregarded and even trampled down in all aspects, including the following:
-- In Articles 14, 24, 44, the Constitution provides that men and women have equal rights in society, in family life, and in participation in politics. But these rights are far from being implemented as is clear from the gap persisting between female and male wages. Women's participation in politics is far behind the world's standards.
-- Article 19 states that "freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated." But this provision has been violated by policies that infringe on freedom of conscience, such as the political party subsidies law, and the imposition of the "national flag and national anthem."
-- Article 21 which secures privacy of communications has been trampled down by the enactment of the wiretapping law.
-- Article 25 which establishes the government's duty to "promote and extend social welfare and security" is being ignored by the policies of cutting expenditure on social welfare programs.
-- Article 27 provides for the "right to work" and states that "working conditions shall be fixed by law." However, the problem is that the lack of a law to regulate overtime work, for example, remains. We also must be guarded against the plan to adversely overhaul the Labor Laws.
-- Article 29 that stipulates the "right to own or hold property" is the oldest human rights provision. But this has been violated by the adversely revised Special Arrangement Act for Land Expropriation for the U.S. Forces.
The urgent need now is for politics to apply the extensive human rights provisions of the Constitution of Japan to the lives of the people.
An emerging question now is how to define the new categories of human rights, such as the "right to environment," the "right to know" and the "right to privacy." These rights have been developed by popular movements based on the human rights provisions of the Constitution. The rationale behind these rights is the constitutional provisions for basic human rights, including the "right to pursue happiness" (Article 13). The Constitution is capable of meeting the new categories of human rights. The true aim of those who argue for a revision of the Constitution is to lead public opinion into supporting the revision of Article 9. This is totally unjustifiable.
Judicial precedents have established the "Four Requirements" employers must comply with concerning corporate restructuring that reduces the number of employees. These requirements are now being overturned by one court ruling after another. The task now is to block any attempts to make the judiciary serve reactionary purposes. It is important to carry out a democratic reform of the judiciary through realizing the people's participation including the introduction of a jury system and improving the method for selecting judges and the public financial assistance system for going through legal systems. All this is important for the defense of human rights.
It is necessary to guard against the repeated outrageous party politics of the ruling parties calling for an adverse change in the election system. The present House of Representatives election system is made up of two segments (single-seat constituencies and proportional representation constituencies). The proportional representation segment is a system that correctly reflects voters' opinions. The ruling parties used their force of numbers to enact the bill to reduce the number of seats allotted to the proportional representation segment. The attempt of the ruling parties to change the proportional presentation election system to one of a non-binding list system [in which the electorate would vote either for a political party or a candidate in the political party's proportional representation list for the House of Councilors election] is another party politics undermining the pedestal of the system for voters to choose a party. It continues to be an important task to prevent the undemocratic revision of the electoral system and attain its democratic reforms with an emphasis on the abolition of the single-seat constituency system.
Corporate donations allow large corporations to use their money power to corrupt politics and infringe on the constitutional right of the people to participate in politics. That corporate donations are the source of political corruption is clearly confirmed by the recent series of scandals. The government and the ruling parties stick to their position to receive both corporate donations and political party subsidies, and are ignoring the Political Fund Regulation Law provision that corporate donations to political parties will be reviewed starting on January 1, 2000. As the only party that sets an example of adhering to the ban on corporate donations and the abolition of political party subsidy by its own practice, the JCP will continue to do its utmost to eliminate this root cause of political corruption.
1) The establishment of the Democratic Coalition Government will need the support of the majority of the people who desire a progressive and democratic Japan.
In order to put an end to LDP politics, the JCP will do its utmost to make the following three objectives of progress and democracy accepted by the majority of the people: (i) Abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the building of an independent, non-aligned, and neutral Japan; (ii) A change of economic policy from one of serving the large corporations to one of safeguarding the people's lives and comfortable lives of the people in all aspects; and (iii) Extension and development of freedom and democracy based on the Constitution.
The JCP seeks cooperation with a broad range of people who fight against misgovernment, including those who are not yet in agreement with the three objectives. It is important to make efforts to bring every field of Japanese society into view, extend dialogue and cooperation nationwide and flexibly pursue points of agreement. Recently dialogue and cooperation has made further progress on various issues with people the JCP has had little contact with so far, or with groups of people who were thought to be conservative party supporters, including businessmen, intellectuals, cultural people, and religious leaders. Here, too, we can see great and positive changes taking place in the relations between JCP policies and Japanese society.
2) The key to increasing cooperation with non-party people and establish a national majority for progress and democracy is to strengthen the Progressive Unity Forum Movement (Kakushinkon). The National Forum for Peace and Progressive Unity Movement has developed into a movement with some 4.5 million people participating by means of many creative activities, including symposiums to discuss the key issues of national politics and the "one word message drive" to promote cooperation with a broad range of people from every sector of society.
The JCP 21st Congress called for efforts to extend the network of the Progressive Unity Forum to communities and workplaces throughout Japan. Since then, the movement has made steady progress: Forums in communities increased from 380 to 521, and in workplaces from 84 to 142. The task of extending it literally to the whole of Japan should be undertaken by the Progressive Unity Forum. But it is also the responsibility of the JCP as a participant in the movement. In the 1960 struggle against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, 2,000 regional joint struggle organizations were formed. At present JCP members of local assembles are active in more than 2,300 localities. The JCP will do it utmost to make use of this condition to develop the Progressive Unity Forum movement on a large scale.
3) Local government is another important area of JCP cooperation with non-party people. The number of progressive and democratic municipalities in which the JCP is the only government party is increasing steadily, forming a new current of local government with "residents as the key players." The JCP 21st Congress Resolution emphasized: "How should we develop people-oriented administrations in the municipalities in which the JCP is the ruling party? We have to bear in mind that this has nationwide significance, not only for local residents, but as a benchmark in assessing the capability of the JCP and the progressive and democratic forces for tackling the real political questions." Many progressive and democratic municipalities throughout Japan have achieved many notable advances. They shifted, for example, their budget priority from one of serving large-scale public works projects to one of benefiting residents, thus accomplishing improvement of the living conditions of residents and sound finance at the same time.
We pay close attention to the fact that even in municipalities in which the JCP is not part of the administration, there are moves to protect the residents' interests on issues which have great bearing on local autonomy. In Kochi, the prefectural government is working hard for a law to make the prefecture's ports nuclear free, opposing U.S. low-altitude flight training, and opposing the imposition of compulsory reduction of acreage for rice. Izumi City in Osaka Prefecture is at pains to shift its priorities from large-scale development projects to improvement of social welfare services. In these localities, the JCP has refrained from standing its candidates in gubernatorial/mayoral elections, and have worked in support of positive aspects of their policies, while preserving its right to criticize their policies when necessary. Under the misgovernment that tramples down local autonomy, there are objective conditions for this current to increase. The JCP will be flexible in this regard, while adhering to its principled position.
4) In order to establish a national majority in favor of democratic change of politics, it is essential to dramatically develop a movement in every field to meet the pressing needs of the people.
Social movements are developing in various fields representing various sectors of people. It is strongly desired that democratic movements everywhere will grow so much as to mobilize a majority of the people. At the same time, it is important to promote cooperation with new social movements which are developing among the people without having direct contact with the JCP.
-- Labor movement: As large corporations are competing with each other for sweeping restructuring, which cause contradictions with workers. The existing systems to controlling workplaces is crumbling, which in turn is generating new changes.
Through its 10 years of struggle, the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) has pursued common action in the labor front as well as common action with other democratic forces, thus helping create a new trend in the movement for defending the interests of the workers and the people in general. Zenroren has had a series of victories in struggles against outrageous restructuring practices in various localities, thus establishing its sound reputation in society. Nowadays, Zenroren is often referred to as the guardian of workers. Many workers now know that Zenroren-affiliated prefectural federations of trade unions can help solve workers' problems.
In this regard it is worthy of note that certain changes are taking place inside member unions of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) as a result of Zenroren's struggles achieving concrete results. Despite its labor-capital collaboration, Rengo is beginning to act to meet the demands of workers to some extent. This is a reflection of the serious contradictions increasing in working conditions. Rengo's efforts include the movement against a series of adverse revisions of the labor laws, the demand for a law to regulate dismissals and a law to protect workers, and the movement against adverse revisions of the pension system. Trade unions of a wide spectrum of opinion, including Rengo-member unions, are now agreed on the concrete demands in defense of workers' rights in connection with the tasks related to the institutional questions, the pressing demands of workers in the workplaces, and the demands for the protection of small- and medium-sized businesses including subcontractors.
On the political front, the All Japan Seamen's Union, an important industrial union affiliated with Rengo, the Japan Federation of Aviation Workers Unions, which has no umbrella national trade union center and covers the majority of the industry's workers, and the National Harbor Workers Union, joined with Zenroren member unions to form a group of 20 land, sea, and air transport workers' unions and held the "May 21, 1999 National Rally against War Laws," which was a great success.
The JCP will do its utmost to develop free and open cooperative relations based on mutually agreed demands, regardless of national trade union center affiliation.
An increasing number of workers are left unorganized as a result of dismissals through restructuring in large corporations, a massive replacement of regular workers with part-timers. Those unorganized workers are forced to endure terribly bad working conditions. We will put greater emphasis than ever on the effort to organize them.
-- Citizens movements: Citizens movements are increasing on many issues: environmental protection; promotion of residents' participation in local administration; and the consumer movement; the nursing-care insurance, the pension systems, relief for natural disaster victims, and nuclear power generation. A new notable trend in this field is that they have gained global social influence through creative activities using information networks on the Internet. Activities are also increasing among private-sector non-profit organizations (NPOs) .
It is important that a significant number of citizens movements have overcome differences of opinion and developed cooperative relations with the JCP to realize their demands. In the movement to protect the Kaisho Forest in Aichi prefecture, and the struggle against the construction of a movable dam in the Yoshino River in Tokushima Prefecture, citizens movements and the JCP have established cooperative relations. Now they are beginning to change the position of administration. The JCP will make sincere efforts to further develop these currents.
5) What prospects do we have for coalition with other political parties? The JCP Program states that the JCP adopts the democratic principle of using the power of alliance with other parties, or establishing a coalition government instead of a single party government in promoting any social change from the immediate stage of democratic changes to the future stage of socialist transformation.
As far as the present situation of the political parties is concerned, even though there have been joint struggles on specific and limited objectives inside the Diet, particularly in opposition to undemocratic policies, there is no party with which the JCP can form a coalition based on common objectives of government for democratic change. But there is no need to consider the present situation as unchangeable. It is quite possible that there will be democratic parties with which we can form a coalition when social conditions for the national majority for democratic changes mature.
Recently, for instance, the JCP has had dialogues with a wide range of people in business circles, including large corporate executives. On those occasions, the JCP reached a common realization with most of them that there is no other way to cure the present economic illness in Japan than through a democratic change as proposed by the JCP. At the last JCP Congress there was a reference to a possible cooperation with forces of modified capitalism. Now the possibility is becoming realistic. It is quite possible that this positive current in business circles, when it grows steadier, will create its counterpart in political circles.
Only in the direction proposed by the JCP for "Remaking Japan" can we find the way to break through the impasse and crisis caused by LDP politics and secure Japan's democratic future in the 21st century. Let us do all we can to make this direction a consensus of the national majority.
1) Last year, the War Laws were enacted for the implementation of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation under the Japan- U.S. Security Treaty, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) adopted the "New Strategic Concept.Åh These measures have brought the danger of the two U.S.-led military alliances into a new stage of interventionism.
First, these military alliances have thrown away the great cause of common defense against attacks and openly transformed themselves into interventionist military alliances in which allies would be mobilized.
Under Article 6 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, Japan is obliged to provide the U.S. Forces, which operates ostensibly for international peace and security in the Far East, with military bases. Japan-U.S. military operations were limited to action against armed attacks against Japan (Article 5). But the Guidelines and the War Laws have made it possible for Japan to be involved in U.S. wars of intervention in response to "situations in areas surrounding Japan," even if Japan is not under attack.
NATO's stated principle had been the common defense against armed attacks on any one of NATO members (North Atlantic Treaty, Article 5). But the "New Strategic Concept" declared that NATO would launch joint interventionist military operations to deal with regional crises in the Euro-Atlantic region and its surrounding areas even if its members have not been attacked. Last year's airstrikes against Yugoslavia were the first test of this new strategy.
Second, it was an open declaration that the U.S.-led military alliance would make armed attacks on other countries even without United Nations authorization.
The United States in the mid-1990s made it clear that it would use the United Nations when it is convenient for the United States to do so, but that its strategy would be one of disregarding the United Nations in order to go it alone with military action. The 1996 attacks on Iraq, the 1998 attack on Afghanistan and Sudan, the attacks on Iraq in 1998-1999, and the airstrikes against Yugoslavia were armed attacks that ignored the United Nations.
In the Diet, the JCP questioned the government if the Guidelines and the War Laws will be invoked even when the U.S. Forces are engaged in illegal military operations in disregard of the United Nations. The government did not say "No." When NATO was going to adopt the "New Strategic Concept," U.S. government officials publicly stated that NATO will not come under U.N. command. This virtually was a declaration that NATO will act in disregard of the United Nations.
This change in the nature of the military alliances fundamentally reverses the world peace order stated in the United Nations Charter, namely non-interference in national affairs, no international use of force without being authorized by U.N. decisions, and military action only permitted to repel attacks in self-defense. The danger is that this change was made in order to establish U.S. hegemony free of the U.N. as a new principle of the world and mobilize U.S. allies to hegemonic actions. We must realize that this is a major threat to world peace in the 21st century.
2) It is also important to note that hegemonism and interventionism is increasingly isolated in the world's democratic opinion. The airstrikes against Yugoslavia were carried out in the name of "humanitarian intervention." This action was so outrageous that it came under criticism from a wide spectrum of international opinion.
In September 1999, the non-aligned countries, which represent an overwhelming majority of the world's population, firmly rejected the so-called right to humanitarian intervention saying that it is based neither on the U.N. Charter nor the general principles of international law. In the same month, the JCP delegation visiting Southeast Asian countries found that the JCP and those countries both opposed U.S. hegemony and interventionism using "humanitarianism" as its cover.
In the U.N. General Assembly, the airstrikes against Yugoslavia were severely criticized by China and Russia. Even NATO allies, including France and Germany, expressed concern and said such airstrikes must not be repeated. A recently published report of the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee had to admit that the airstrikes had been in violation of the U.N. Charter, although the report basically supported the NATO action.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. world strategy has been one of blatantly imposing unilateral economic and military sanctions against what they call "rogue" states which do not comply with U.S. directions. What's more, in applying sanctions against Cuba, Libya, and Iran, the United States has also forced its allies to participate in the sanctions and went so far as to penalizing those countries and companies which are reluctant to join with the U.S. in the sanctions. But this has only helped sharpen the contradictions and confrontation between the U.S. and its allies. Following the North-South Korea summit, the country which was labeled by the United States as a "rogue state" began to take part in the process representing one of the two parties for peace. This is a significant change.
In these circumstances, the U.S. government has been compelled to officially abandon the concept of "rogue states," replacing it with a general term "states of concern." But this does not mean that the U.S. abandoned the doctrine for hegemony and interventionism, even slightly. However, this episode does indicate that its global strategy is facing growing contradictions.
Two conflicting international orders are clashing over what the world in the 21st century should be. One is an order of war and oppression which accords with U.S. policy of tyrannical domination; and the other an order of peace under the U.N. Charter. Humankind is faced with a choice between these two orders. Attempts to reverse history making progress in the 20th century towards illegalizing war will not succeed. We are determined to exert all our efforts to expand the international solidarity needed for building a peaceful international order.
1) In recent years, significant progress has been made internationally towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The United States and other nuclear weapons possessing countries in 1995 forcibly got the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) extended indefinitely. Contrary to what was intended, contradictions of this discriminatory NPT regime are sharpening because a handful of countries are allowed to have nuclear weapons while the overwhelming majority of the world's countries are not. The nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in 1998 exhibited the inability of the nuclear monopoly regime to either reasonably or morally prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and exposed the bankruptcy of the regime. Today, the world is faced with a choice between the continuation of the rule by the nuclear-weapons monopoly full of contradictory problems and the movement towards abolishing such weapons.
It was in these circumstances that the NPT Review Conference was held in May this year. Its final declaration contains "an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear weapons from their arsenals." This is a consensus of participating NPT member states that include the nuclear weapons possessing countries.
The point is that the conference reached a consensus by defeating the notion of an "ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons." The U.S. and other nuclear powers called for the elimination of nuclear weapons as an ultimate goal, which means postponing the elimination to an indefinite future. Non-aligned states as well as the New Agenda Coalition, a group of states working for nuclear weapons abolition, countered the argument for the "ultimate elimination" saying that a total ban on nuclear weapons is an obligation and a priority, not an ultimate goal. This criticism pointed to the core of the issue. Finally, the U.S., for fear that it might be isolated because of increasing international criticism, was obliged to agree with the removal of the term "ultimate."
The event illustrates that the abolition of nuclear weapons is an urgent task, which the Japanese anti-nuclear movement has consistently pursued, and has become a firmly established agenda in international opinion and the movements as well as in the international political arena. This is a historic achievement. The event also demonstrates that it is possible to pave the way for the abolition of nuclear weapons in the 21st century and increase diplomacy based on reason and strengthen popular movements.
2) Of course, the confrontation over the choice between the abolition of nuclear weapons and the continuation of nuclear weapons monopoly is yet to end. In order to make the document effective, nuclear disarmament measures stipulated in the document must be substantiated with a proposal for a specific time frame and concrete steps to be taken.
The U.S. remains in pursuit of keeping its absolute superiority of nuclear forces as well as maintaining its first-strike doctrine. It clings to the NMD (national missile defense) and TMD (theater missile defense) projects, which if implemented, would supposedly neutralize enemy missiles, thus reinforcing U.S. first-strike strategy. The United States has failed to ratify the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty) and continues the development and strengthening of its nuclear arsenal through repeated subcritical nuclear tests. Such outright defiance is a source of widespread anxieties throughout the world and is inviting criticism not only from global civil society but also from other nuclear weapons possessing countries and U.S. allies.
The Japanese governmentÅfs approach toward the question of nuclear weapons is extraordinary. The Japanese government has abstained from voting in the U.N. General Assembly on non-aligned countries' resolutions calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons within a limited time-frame. In the NPT Review Conference, the government sought support for "nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons under a common banner." It only replaced the term "ultimate" with "in the final stage" in the draft resolution it submitted to the 2000 U.N. General Assembly. How shameless it is for the only atom-bombed country's government to make such a proposal. This is another example of the LDP-led government's inability to find a way out of the deadlock to join the worldÅfs mainstream for nuclear disarmament.
It is increasingly important for national governments, local governments, NGOs, and peace movements to cooperate with each other to strengthen the movement from the grassroots level under the common goal of abolishing nuclear weapons with a view to making the 21st century nuclear-free. To this end, building on its half century history, the Japanese movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons is called on to increase its ranks in order to defeat the pro-nuclear policy of the Japanese government.
1) How should we identify and address the ongoing globalization of the economy? This is an issue of significant importance facing the world in the 21st century.
Under capitalism, internationalization of trade, investment, and marketing is a tendency inherent to this economic system.
The problem now is the kind of economic order that is proceeding under the name of "globalization" that gives utmost priority to unending profit-seeking by U.S. and other multinational corporations and international financial capital; it is through the imposition of deregulation and the market-solve-it-all kind of an economic order throughout the world. Consequently, globalized capitalism is suffering from growing contradiction within itself which could threaten its existence.
-- Widening gap between the rich and the poor: The widening gap between the rich and the poor has been confirmed by U.N. reports. In the 1999 Report on Human Development, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) pointed out that inequality of income and living standards in the world has grown to a grotesque figure; the income gap between the one-fifth of the people living in the most wealthy nations and the one fifth of those living in the poorest nations has increased from 30:1 in 1960 to 60:1 in 1990 and to 74:1 in 1997; the combined assets of the most affluent three individuals in the world are larger than the total GNP of all the 48 least developing nations involving 600,000,000 people; and there is a growing disparity of income even within the OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) since the 1980s.
-- Monopolization on international scale: International mergers and acquisitions are accelerating oligopolistic control. Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohamad Mahathir described it as follows: "What I see happening today as a result of globalization is an attempt to set up worldwide monopolies of certain businesses by a few giant corporations mainly from the West. In the future there will be at the most five banks, five automotive companies, five hypermarkets, five hotel chains, five restaurant chains and so on, all operating worldwide. All the small- and medium-sized companies in these fields and maybe others too will be absorbed by these Western-owned international giants."
-- Rampant financial speculations: In recent years, there have been external flows of speculative money into countries, which have led to devaluations of national currencies and destruction of local economies. Culprits of the Asian financial crisis from 1997 to 1999 were speculative business groups involved in hedge funds as well as international financial capital. While the total amount of the worldÅfs annual commodity exports is 5.3 trillion dollars, the amount of annual exchange transactions is 325 trillion dollars. An amount worth four days of exchange is equal to that of an annual commodity export. These figures show how financial and speculative business has grown to reach an extraordinary level.
2) Hitherto, the U.S. has used international institutions such as the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank, OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the WTO (World Trade Organization) as a tool to promote economic globalization to their own advantage. However, such practices are in sharper contradiction with national economies and peoples and are drawing criticism from around the world. This way of doing business is on the verge of failure.
Ever since its response to the Mexican economic crisis in 1982, the IMF has adopted the so-called structural adjustment policy. It has imposed austerity financial policies and deregulations on a nation at the cost of its peopleÅfs living standards in exchange for emergency financing, and deprive the nation of its economic sovereignty. The same line of policy was applied to the Russian and Asian economic crises. The IMF plan, however, dealt a big blow to its recipientsÅf economies and their people. It has proven to be a failure in many parts of the world. In South East Asia, Malaysia squarely rejected such a plan and succeeded in rebuilding its economy on its own. Before the fact, IMF officials have had to say that the Malaysian way had the plus side.
Contradictions surrounding the WTO are growing sharper. The WTO ministerial conference in November 1999 in Seattle was unable to reach agreement. The biggest cause of the failure was the outrageous U.S. attitude of insisting on giving top priority to the trade interests of U.S. multinational corporations in connection with agriculture and intellectual property rights, which clashed with not only the developing countries but other developed countries. An influential European newspaper which reported this outcome described it as a victory of the poor countries and the citizens movements. It is clear that U.S. economic hegemony is finding itself rejected throughout the world.
3) In the midst of the contradictions sharpening as a result of "globalization," there is a growing movement calling for the establishment of economic national sovereignty and a new international economic order based on the equality of all nations.
In April 2000, the Group of 77 (which comprises 133 developing countries) held its first summit meeting (South Summit). Its "South Summit Declaration" urged the international community to establish international economic relations based on equity and equality, and emphasized the need for a humane international order that would reverse the growing imbalance between the poor and the rich in each country and between nations. This is how the South Summit confirmed a broad measure of agreement in order to collectively deal with the globalization of the economy.
U.N. agencies are not only condemning the negative effects of globalization but stressing the need for international regulations of multinational corporations and international financial capital. These are recent new features. The 1999 report of the United Nations Development Program pointed out the need to join efforts to build a global social and economic framework for protecting the weak and regulate the strong. The 1999 report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) called on national governments to take steps to ensure that multinational corporations will not cause damage to the environment or exclude the country's businesses or endanger the possibilities of small domestic industries.
The U.N. Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) report entitled "Visible Hands: Taking Responsibility for Social Development" (June 2000) pointed out that "too great reliance on the 'invisible hand' of the market," based on the idea that deregulation is a panacea "is pushing the world toward unsustainable levels of inequality and deprivation." Emphasizing the need for stronger and effective control over multinational corporations, the report called for a consistent response from civic organizations.
The Group of Seven (G7) meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors have had to consider regulating speculative investment groups such as hedge funds. Even some IMF officials began to call for efforts to be made internationally to solve the problem of poverty. All this shows that even advocates of globalization are expressing their understanding that these contradictions arising from globalization and increasing unabated can threaten world capitalism itself and undermine its development.
This is why democratic regulations are called for on an international scale. In particular, it is urgently necessary to drive out speculative investors from international capital transactions and to set out for democratic reform of the IMF and WTO.
The JCP calls for common action and solidarity to fend off the outrage of U.S.-led globalization and defend the working people's rights, eliminate poverty and hunger, regulate financial speculations, and protect the global environment through the establishment of a new democratic international economic order.
The present-day world strongly calls for international solidarity and cooperation on questions which need urgent solutions, including the struggle for an international peace order based on the U.N. Charter, the struggle to pursue the immediate elimination of nuclear weapons, and the struggle for a new democratic international economic order.
The JCP will do its utmost to help develop broad international exchanges and diplomacy from a broad perspective for the cause of world peace and social progress.
In its contacts with foreign political parties, the JCP will develop exchanges and friendship with various parties of diverse political and theoretical spectrum and will cooperate on a broad basis with them wherever there are conditions for doing so. We will deal with any parties, conservative and progressive, or ruling parties or opposition parties, if we share an interest in beginning mutual exchanges. Basing ourselves on the three principles of sovereign independence, equal rights, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, we will exchange views and even make joint efforts wherever possible.
In its relations with foreign governments, the JCP will develop exchanges on issues of peace and social progress. Recently, the JCP has been involved in activities to let the people of the world know its views on the elimination of nuclear weapons, the airstrikes against Yugoslavia, and the Okinawa question. In the course of making these efforts, we have increased our contacts with foreign embassies in Tokyo. In particular it is important that we have established exchanges with all Asian embassies in Japan. Foreign embassies are organizations that represent their peoples. We will continue to develop dialogue and exchanges with them.
1) In achieving the goal of establishing a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century, it is very important for the JCP to have a larger representation in the parliament to have strong influence on national politics. The last JCP Congress set as the first-phase goal more than 100 seats in the House of Representatives and dozens in the House of Councilors as the way for the JCP to become a political force capable of proving itself to be a good match with the LDP in the Diet. We need to make continuous efforts to achieve that goal.
We will revise the policy of setting target numbers in elections from one of "seeking to achieve target numbers set as expressed in the percentage of the number of voters" to one of "deciding responsive target numbers after considering the characteristics of the election and the stage of development achieved so far."
The immediate central task is for the JCP to achieve its major advance in the next House of Representatives election and the 2001 House of Councilors election. The JCP will strive to carry through the following goals:
-- The JCP in each prefecture will determine vote-getting targets, the aggregate of which should be enough to exceed the 8.2 million votes, the highest ever level which we achieved in the 1998 election. We will carry out publicity and organization activities on a scale appropriate to the target.
-- In the House of Representatives general election, we will without fail defend the present number of JCP seats. We will seek to obtain a number of extra seats in the proportional representation segment and some in single-seat constituencies.
In the House of Councilors election, we must not fail to secure the present number of seats which are up for election (five proportional representation constituency seats and three prefectural constituency seats); we will also seek to break the record of eight proportional representation seats and seven prefectural constituency seats. In prefectural constituency elections, we must defend seats in Tokyo, Saitama, and Osaka, and even win some in other prefectures, particularly in Kanagawa, Aichi, Hyogo, and Kyoto in which JCP candidates were elected in the 1998 election.
For the 1998 House of Councilors election, we adopted a policy of drawing no distinction between must-win constituencies and the rest in order to make it a principle to contest a seat in every constituency. This policy helped the whole party exert extra efforts and work hard for a JCP advance; in some prefectures in which the JCP had been unsuccessful, we achieved a major JCP advance in both the proportional representation election and the local constituencies. The JCP will take and develop this policy in the next House of Councilors election which will be fought under new circumstances.
It is not very easy for us to turn the tide in favor of a new JCP advance getting back what we lost in the last House of Representatives election. But it is quite possible for the JCP to make headway in the elections if we make use of the present situation in which LDP politics is at an impasse and the JCP's concept of "Remaking of Japan" plays a pioneering role.
As for the goals and preparedness in the parliamentary election, it is important to unify the following two aspects: to set realizable goals and achieve them without fail and to be on the offensive in our campaign.
In light of the lessons we drew from the last general election campaign, it is particularly important to part with two forms of passivism: pessimism and optimism. These two kinds of passivism have the same root in terms of rejoicing and lamenting over the campaign situation without doing what should be done to secure a JCP victory. Under no circumstances can the JCP win a victory in the elections just by waiting for a favorable situation to come about. We must be aware that we can only achieve JCP advances when we do everything possible to secure victory by defeating any attacks from opponents.
2) The proportional representation segment of the House of Councilors election will be held using a new system of "non-binding party lists," which allows voters to choose either a political party or a candidate from political party proportional representation lists. This system is a product of the ruling parties' party politics. We must foil their aim and deal a heavy blow to them by achieving a major JCP advance in party politics.
In order to achieve a JCP advance in the parliamentary elections under the adversely revised system, we will fulfill the following tasks:
-- In both the adversely revised proportional representation constituency and the prefectural constituencies, our basic approach is one of asking voters to choose a party. This means that we will reach out to the electorate by talking about policy proposals, political line, and the history and ideas of the JCP, the aim being to make the JCP understood and supported by as many people as possible. This is the springboard for a major JCP advance and must be maintained as the essential basis for the JCP's election campaign.
-- The JCP has already announced its first proportional representation list made up of nine candidates. We divided the country into campaign regions to be distributed by the nine candidates, whose activities will contribute to the election of all the candidates. Although we will work for the publicity of individual JCP candidates, it is important to stick to the basic position of calling on voters to choose a party.
-- In the proportional representation election with "non-binding" political party lists, votes for both the Japanese Communist Party and its individual candidates are conducive to an increase in the number of JCP seats. At the same time, winners in the proportional representation election will be determined based on the numbers of votes for the JCP candidates on the list. We need to understand this system well.
While maintaining the policy of calling on voters to choose a political party, we will also attach importance to attracting voters' attention to the characters of our individual candidates. Candidates should talk about JCP policies freely in their own words. The JCP must grow into a party appreciated by voters as a principled "political party with a variety of personalities." This will help make the JCP more attractive and valuable.
3) The JCP's campaign is based on day-to-day activities to implement the "Four Basics." In this, the JCP branches as the main players will organize their activities to carry out their policies and plans on their own initiative. The "Four Basics" are as follows:
(i) In their day-to-day activities, the branches will take up people's pressing needs in order to defend their fundamental interests and increase the influence of the JCP among the people.
(ii) Through massive political publicity campaigns, dialogues, and efforts to increase popular support for the JCP, the branches will talk not only about party policies but also the whole image of the JCP, including its history and political line. They must not fail to repel any anticommunist attacks.
(iii) The branches will talk a lot about the role and usefulness of the JCP newspaper Akahata in order to increase the readership of Akahata and other JCP periodicals, strengthen ties with subscribers, and receive new party members from among JCP supporters.
(iv) The branches will increase their work with various mass movement organizations and groups so that the JCP can develop cooperation and common action with them. The branches will also strengthen the JCP supporters associations.
In political publicity campaigns and policy debates, we will tackle the following five tasks based on the lessons we learned from the last general election.
-- We will make clear what the burning issues are and state the JCP views on various questions. It is necessary to be responsive to matters of public interest and to the development of the situation, and explain plainly the points at issue and JCP policies on urgent questions.
-- We will make efforts to consistently update the JCP's "Remaking Japan" proposal in accordance with the development of the political situation and to make it a national consensus. This effort will be combined with immediate and urgent tasks.
-- We will make JCP history and its Program understood by the public. This involves constant efforts to have the Japanese people grasp the JCP image together with JCP history as well as the JCP view on future society set out by the JCP Program.
-- We will reply to all kinds of anticommunist slanders: The aim of our effort is to make the value of the JCP understood by voters. It is necessary to uncover the true forces which are making undercover attacks on the JCP until they feel compelled to stop such attacks.
-- We will criticize the ruling parties from the position of defending the interests of the people. We will not fail to criticize other opposition parties as our competitors. This is the way for the JCP to make its value known to the public.
Our dialogue in the effort to increase popular support for the JCP is an activity that can take place at every place where people meet. It is important to make conscious efforts to increase support to achieve victory in the elections. The development of this activity will be an indicator of the extent to which the JCP has talked to and established ties with the people.
We must really overcome the weakness of only starting dialogue for increasing support for the JCP when the election approaches and establish this activity as part of our daily work. This is essential for a JCP victory in the elections. In reviewing the last House of Representatives election, we concluded that one of the factors of our retreat was that the level of dialogue for getting support was not higher than in the previous House of Representatives election and was lower that in the last House of Councilors election. We will learn this lesson for a JCP advance as we prepare ourselves for a victory in future parliamentary elections.
The JCP has been consistent in participating in election campaigns, not only with party members but also with many JCP Supporters Association members and other JCP supporters. The JCP Supporters Association is the basic unit for the party's electoral activities to be carried out in cooperation with many JCP supporters. Every JCP branch, will set up, increase, and strengthen a JCP Supporters' Association, so that the branch, in firm unity with the supporters' association, can participate in election campaigns.
4) In the next House of Representatives general election, we will regain what we lost in the last election and make headway without fail. In parallel with the work for a JCP victory in the House of Councilors election, which is periodic, as our immediate major task, we will do whatever is necessary in preparation for a JCP advance in the next House of Representatives election.
In every one of the 11 House of Representatives proportional representation constituencies, we will put forward the people's demands and drastically strengthen our day-to-day activities aimed at establishing closer ties with residents. With parliament and local assembly members taking the lead, the JCP offices in charge of the proportional representation election blocs will aggressively cultivate new areas of work in cooperation with JCP Dietmember offices in prefectures, local assembly members, and various mass movements.
As we work to get closer to the establishment of a democratic government, it is essential for the JCP to be able to contest seats in single-seat constituencies. In single-seat constituencies, the JCP should select outstanding candidates and start energetic activities led by the candidates with spirit and adherence to pave the way for getting a seat.
The present conditions of Japanese society and LDP politics at an impasse strongly call for the JCP to achieve a new advance in the coming national elections. For the JCP to achieve advances is a responsibility to the people. Let us do our utmost to make advances in the House of Representatives election and the House of Councilors election, keeping in mind what the whole party has learned from the last general election.
1) Many local governments have abandoned their original role as the body serving the well-being of residents and turned into "developers" which mainly deal with large-scale public works projects. This has only helped worsen the local financial crises. To rectify their "upside-down politics" and transform them into local governments in which residents are the key players is vital to the future of the communities and to opening up the way from the grass roots to a democratic Japan in the 21st century.
In recent years, many municipalities have begun planning their mergers in the name of "decentralization." Some in the government and the ruling parties are calling for the current number of about 3,250 municipalities to be reduced to about 1,000. The aim is to establish a system to promote big development projects effectively and take advantage of the integration for further cutback of services to communities. The JCP opposes the imposition of municipal integration which aggravates the "upside-down politics" of local governments, and tackles the integration question based on the position that residents' wishes on it should be respected.
In a majority of local governments throughout the country, all parties (except the JCP) which are ruling parties are to blame for promoting "upside-down politics." What is needed for democratic reform of local governments is not only to defend and expand progressive and democratic municipal governments that are on the rise across the country; it is also necessary for the JCP local assembly member groups to strengthen their daily activities to link with residents at the grass roots, meet their demands, and expand the party's position.
The number of JCP local assembly members has increased to 4,455. However, it only represents 7.1% in the rate of seat occupation and 31.9% in the rate of possessing the right to initiate bills. And 29.4% of all local assemblies don't have any JCP assembly members. The JCP will make effort to increase its representation in local assemblies as planned systematically, with these three points as indices.
Preparations for the simultaneous local elections in 2003 should start early. Increases in obtained seats and votes in each off-year local election must be achieved, which is a crucial barometer for the JCP to evaluate political advances and setbacks of the whole party, to say nothing of local governments.
2) The 2001 Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election will be a political battle that has a vital bearing on the direction of national politics as well as Tokyo's politics in the 21st century. It is not easy to secure the 26 seats which the JCP attained in the previous election, but the JCP will make an all out effort to achieve that goal.
While promoting wasteful huge development projects, Governor Ishihara Shintaro and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government have carried out the worst ever cutbacks on social security that no other past metropolitan governments could do, and brought to the metropolitan government his abnormal and unconstitutional position.
Subsidizing long-term nursing homes for the elderly was halted on the grounds that the nursing insurance scheme was introduced. Free-bus and subway ticket system, welfare allowances and subsidies for medical fees for the elderly were also abolished. Thus senior citizens came to be charged more. The way former Governor Aoshima Yukio took was to cut social welfare services through imposing income limitations. The Ishihara administration has implemented the method of totally destroying welfare services at their bottom as seen in the complete abolition of free services. The LDP and the Komei Party, using their majority in the metropolitan assembly, have fully supported these attacks on welfare, and the Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party have taken the stand of supporting them basically. Only the JCP has resolutely opposed them and taken the firm position of defending the livelihood of the metropolitan people.
It is serious that Governor Ishihara's unconstitutional position was introduced in the metropolitan administration. He has been exposed to severe criticism raised in and out of Japan for his gaffe denying the Constitution and human rights. He made public his intention to conduct drills for maintenance of order and street fighting under the name of disaster prevention drills. Only the mass mobilization of the Self-Defense Forces stood out in the disaster prevention drills carried out this past September. There was an absence of cooperative actions among civil fire fighting units, local government authorities, residents' organizations, and other disaster prevention organizations. These acts based on his abnormal position were not included in his promise made in the metropolitan gubernatorial election. Nevertheless, as soon as he became governor, he introduced his abnormal anti-Constitution viewpoint into the metropolitan politics. This abuse of power is nothing but an act of appropriating the metropolitan government to himself.
The JCP is the only party that will defend the interests of the metropolitan people by confronting courageously the undemocratic politics of the Ishihara metropolitan government that have worsened their living conditions and denied the Constitution. The JCP is determined to let the metropolitan people realize its value and win the fierce election battle to gain advances.
"Why should we work on party building now?" Given the JCP's organizational strength lagging behind its increasing political influence, Part II made clear how urgent it is for us to overcome this gap. Further, we must fully understand how significant party building is in present Japanese society and in connection with the historic role the JCP should play.
As we are about to enter the 21st century, the LDP has reached a real impasse and crisis both in foreign and domestic policies, which can be best described as being in a no-way-out situation. Clearly, LDP policies contradict the trend moving toward peace and progress in Asia and the world. Japanese society needs a new politics. Objective conditions for the true democratization of Japan have matured.
However, we cannot say that the subjective conditions have also matured. Our "Remaking Japan" proposal for democratic change in Japan has been favorably accepted by many people, but these people are still a minority in Japan. How can we reach the majority in Japanese society? The key to accomplishing this goal is to build a stronger Japanese Community Party.
The proposed draft of the revised JCP Constitution defines the role of the JCP as follows: "The JCP is firmly committed to the view that 'the people are the key players,' a view it has held since its founding; it is aware at all times that its mission is to struggle to realize the keen demands of the people and help accelerate social progress, thus indomitably playing an advanced role in Japanese society." At what pace and on what scale will the party, which indomitably plays an advanced role to help accelerate social progress in Japan, be able to make progress in improving its strength? The success of our work for remaking Japan hinges on this question.
The JCP is still far behind levels required to become a party capable of taking part in a democratic government, a party that can rally a majority of the people round it. Building a stronger Japanese Communist Party is a task of national significance, and it is our great responsibility to the people of Japan. Let us bear this in mind and bring wisdom and strength of the whole party to achieve further advance in party building.
1) The memberships drive is the pillar of party building and of a stronger party. This means that party activities -- such as activities to respond to people's demands, political publicity campaigns, election campaigns, local assembly activities, and organ paper activities -- are being carried out by JCP members who have voluntarily joined the party.
The party once adopted a policy that "increase in JCP membership and increase in Akahata readership are the two pillars that make the JCP stronger," but this definition was not correct. Activities related to Akahata are being undertaken by party members who participate in the effort to increase the Akahata readership, provide daily delivery of Akahata, collect subscription, and be involved in other activities to strengthen JCP ties with subscribers. Without efforts to strengthen JCP membership, we will not be able to enhance the various activities related to Akahata.
The work to make this pillar of party building bigger and stronger requires long-term and ceaseless efforts. However, for about ten years since the mid-eighties, the conscious effort for increasing party membership declined in the party as a whole. Since the JCP 20th Congress in 1994, conscious efforts to increase party membership have been improved and a new progress has been made. Nevertheless, the progress has only begun. The slow progress has weakened the vitality of the party and has caused difficulties and obstacles in achieving advance in all party activities. It is particularly serious that the party lags behind in party building among youth and students. In the workplace, some JCP branches are struggling to survive because of the inability to attract successors. There are also many JCP branches which have difficulty in delivering Akahata and collecting subscriptions because many branch members are aging.
In the general election campaign, the whole party keenly felt this weakness. So receiving new JCP members is the whole party's "common desire." For the whole party to join together to solve this problem is an urgent task in JCP activities.
2) To this end, we have done our utmost to succeed in the "United Efforts to Strengthen the JCP Focused on Increasing Party Membership" which the 6th Central Committee Plenum proposed in preparation for the JCP 22nd Congress. At the same time, we must not reduce the "United Efforts" to a mere temporary effort, but carry it on continuously.
The 22nd Congress calls on the whole party to make a "five-year plan for the JCP membership drive" with the goal of building a party with a membership of 500,000, and to carry out systematic efforts based on the plan to achieve the goal.
All JCP prefectural and district committees and branches should work to achieve their own set goals of receiving new members as a percentage of the population in localities, workplaces, and schools, building on what they have achieved. A common lesson learned by the party organizations that have been successful in this effort is that they are aware of their political goals for changing workplaces, localities, and schools, through discussions of "what sort of party we need in order to be responsive to the needs of the community," or "what sort of branch we want to create in order to develop the movement in the workplaces." Based on these political goals, they consciously work with a realistic target and plan for recruiting new members.
In 10.8% of Japan's municipalities, the JCP does not have branches. No party organizations exist in a large number of workplaces and schools. To overcome such absence of a party organization is a major task the JCP is tackling in order to strengthen the movement from the grassroots level everywhere throughout the country in support of a democratic government. JCP bodies and branches should together set the goal and make plans for establishing JCP branches in all localities, and receive new members according to the plan. This is how we are trying to expand the JCP network at the grassroots level in all localities, workplaces, and schools.
Article 8 of the draft of the revised JCP Constitution states: "A party organization, hoping for new members' progress, shall give priority to providing them with the education to help them acquire the basic knowledge necessary for participating in activities as JCP members, which includes the JCP Program and Constitution." This is the spirit in which the party should kindly give new members assistance.
3) What should we do in order to promote this task? It is important to call on the broadest possible range of the people to join the JCP. It is also important for all JCP branches and their members to take part in this particular effort.
The "broadest possible range of people" includes all Akahata readers and supporters. We should call on them in earnest to become JCP members. The JCP doors are open to everyone who lives an honest life and is willing to dedicate their life to social progress in their own way. We have many experiences all over the country that show how the party's sincere call was accepted unexpectedly when the party did not place barriers on its part. Even if a person may not want to become a JCP member now, the sincere call from the party will help strengthen their trust in the party. It is also important to systematically work with people to strengthen mutual respect and trust, and persevere in this effort.
To have "all party branches and members take part in this effort" means that this task must not be considered a difficult one in which only party bodies, assembly members, and some other party members can tackle. All branches should start working to receive new members, and make it a daily activity to bring fresh air and vitality into the party. Any party member can speak of their initial motivation of becoming a JCP member or of his/her pride in party activities to friends and those who have ties. In a united effort with branch members, let us all talk about the JCP, about how we live our lives, and tackle this task together.
1) To mobilize a national majority in support of a democratic change in Japan, it is of decisive significance to expand the network of Akahata readers in all corners of the country. For this, an important task the party must tackle with renewed determination is to turn the backward tide of organ paper activity and put it on the track of stable advance.
In making progress in this activity, it is necessary to remember the starting point: our "party activities are centered on Akahata." The practical application of this point is important at this particular stage of the political situation and of JCP development.
Our organ paper activity should not be reduced to just one of the many tasks for party building. The organ paper is the link between the JCP Central Committee and the party, and the best medium that expands the ties between the JCP and the people. It is the central activity that promotes, unites, and develops diverse party activities, including the movement based on people's demands, the struggle in the Diet and local assemblies, election campaigns, party building, and financial activities.
The urgent need now is to reaffirm this position and broaden our perspective in this area of JCP work.
2) First, party members, branches, and bodies must read Akahata, discuss it, and make the most of it in their activities. This is a major premise for "party activities centered on Akahata."
Reading of Akahata is a source of inspiration and vision that each party member should get in their life and activities. In present-day Japan, a country where commercial journalism has developed on an extraordinary scale, it is extremely difficult for party members to deepen their conviction without reading Akahata.
We must work to create an "atmosphere" in which all party members subscribe to and read daily Akahata. We must increase assistance to members who do not read daily Akahata, and redouble our efforts to ensure that there are no members who do not subscribe to Akahata.
We encourage members to participate in correspondent's activities in order to make Akahata more attractive and to produce Akahata by all party members.
3) Second, Akahata should be used as the main link between the JCP and the people. For this, we will make constant efforts for increasing Akahata subscribers and strengthening the systems of Akahata delivery and the collection of subscriptions, to build up deep, unbreakable ties between the JCP and the people.
As part of this effort, all JCP branches, as well as district and prefectural committees must work to increase Akahata readership, in order to achieve a steady advance every month. The branches that have continuously increased readers without fail are conscious of their political goals of how they want to change localities and workplaces. And based on these political goals, they set a target for increasing Akahata subscribers as a percentage of the electorate in localities or workers in workplace. Linking this target with positive efforts in activities to realize the demands of residents and in publicity campaigns, they make a reasonable monthly plan for increasing subscription to Akahata, and continue making tenacious efforts to voluntarily pursue getting new subscribers. All party bodies must do their utmost to provide due guidance and assistance for making the efforts of those successful branches a general trend in the whole party.
We must put all our energy into establishing the work for Akahata delivery and the collection of subscriptions in accordance with the principle that the "branches are the key players" in JCP activities. The JCP branches in residential areas should establish a system of delivery and collection of subscription for all subscribers in the area of which they are in charge. For branches in workplaces, it is desirable that they pursue the possibility of setting up a system of their own to deliver Akahata and collect subscription of Akahata readers at the workplace. Even when a JCP branch in the workplace asks JCP branches in residential areas for the delivery and collection of subscriptions for subscribers who have direct contact with the JCP in their workplaces, that branch must keep a list of all those subscribers and take every opportunity to strengthen lively, humane ties in daily life. Only through these tenacious efforts, will branches achieve the task of increasing Akahata readership every month. The delivery and collection of subscriptions requires perseverance, durability, and fortitude. It is a simple but important task. The JCP treasures this area of work which no other party has. Strenuous efforts by the members engaged in this work are laying the groundwork for social change. We want to express deep respect for their everyday labor. It should be noted that since the latter half of last year, efforts to strengthen the activity of delivery and subscription collection based on the principle of the "branches are the key players" have encouraged more members to take part in Akahata delivery and the collection of subscriptions. Let's have this work carried out not by only a limited number of members but by all JCP members.
4) Third, we will develop close cooperation with Akahata subscribers in all party activities, including activities for the realization of people's demands, election campaigns and party building.
Above all, we must treasure Akahata readers as JCP friends who understand the party more than anyone else; we must listen to them and carry out activities to meet their demands. We should also frankly ask for their cooperation in various JCP branch activities, so that they can work with us. By developing such two-way cooperation, let us establish humane and heart-to-heart relations with Akahata readers.
Many branches that have made constant progress in increasing Akahata readership are carrying out such activities voluntarily, publishing newsletters for Akahata subscribers, local community bulletins, and workplace bulletins, which are instrumental to the strengthening of humane exchange and cooperation with readers. The JCP must develop into a party that can attract Akahata readers not only by the substance of pages of Akahata but also by human relations between the JCP and the people.
5) Fourth, our steady efforts to increase Akahata readership and secure delivery and subscription collections will have a direct bearing on the financial conditions of the JCP in the Central Committee and party bodies as well as JCP branches all over the country. In this respect, too, we attach importance to "party activities centered on Akahata," thus achieving great success in supporting the party finances.
6) Recognizing the distinctive roles of the Daily Akahata and the Sunday Akahata, we will work to improve their content.
The Daily Akahata is the mainstay of Akahata's advancement. Our efforts to increase the number of Akahata subscribers, along with the number of JCP members must be stressed and considered as an activity to reinforce a key part of party strength. With color pages, Akahata will be more attractive as a newspaper "easy to reach and easy to read." Improving Akahata is necessary for making it a major national newspaper.
The Sunday Akahata, a popular weekly paper, needs to be even more attractive through drastic innovation that will provide original, in-depth information on political and social affairs. The Sunday Akahata can only develop further by evolving from a mere "weekly edition of Daily Akahata" into an original newspaper with distinct value and attractiveness. To this end, we will carry out major innovations of the contents of the Sunday Akahata.
The JCP 21st Congress decision put forward six important tasks for enhancing the quality of party building activities as well as strengthening the JCP numerically. These are long-term tasks necessary for establishing a democratic government in the early part of the 21st century.
1) We place emphasis on political activities and grassroots activities representing the JCP in every region and locality.
Since the last JCP Congress, new efforts that will bring a breakthrough in our activity have started in party branches and bodies throughout the country.
Efforts in the "survey of activities in support of people's demands" proposed by the Central Committee 3rd Plenum and the "United Efforts for a Major JCP Advance in the General Election" campaign adopted by the Central Committee 4th Plenum have created an atmosphere which encourages JCP branches and bodies to carry out daily activities in response to the people's demands. They are developing various kinds of activities, such as the sending out of questionnaires, collecting signatures, calling for cooperation, and symposiums. To work to achieve people's demands and solve their difficulties is exactly in accord with the JCP's founding spirit and is a source of dynamism for all JCP activities. Let us work harder to step up such efforts.
In our work on local politics, it is important that there are JCP branches which strengthen their activities in municipalities and increase JCP seats in local assemblies as part of efforts to realize residents' demands. It is necessary for the JCP bodies and branches to attach importance to party work in local politics and undertake this kind of activity everywhere.
2) We will adhere to the principle of "party branches as the key players."
Through various party activities, including the "United Efforts for a Major JCP Advance" which started last year, we have begun implementing the principle that the "JCP branches are the key players." In the last general election campaign, nearly 50% of all JCP branches as well as the majority of branches in residential areas organized speech assemblies.
To make this activity firmly established throughout the JCP, party body leadership vis-a-vis the branches needs to be improved by learning the lessons we have had so far. The main points are as follows:
-- We give political and theoretical leadership to help party branches and members fully understand the political situation and JCP policies and carry out activities with confidence. To do this, it is necessary for all party bodies to fully discuss and digest JCP policies.
-- Relationship between party bodies and branches must outgrow to become humane, and two-way or circular relationship instead of one-way relationship. This will help bring together the wisdom of branches working at the grassroots level in each locality and the wisdom of party bodies which are in charge of larger local communities, as a way for substantial development of party activity.
-- Party bodies must know firsthand how hard it is for branches to deal with their problems. They should help branch members solve their problems together. It is particularly important that JCP bodies continue to take care of branches which are unable to make progress or get out of backward positions until they are back on track based on the principle that "party branches are the key players."
-- Party members should be encouraged to participate in party activities using their strong points as the way for them to make progress. Generally, they have a wide variety of ties with people in different fields, which are a valuable "treasure" for the party. If the party can help members develop possibilities of progress and make use of their ties with people, a way will be opened to achieve a major development of the whole party activity.
-- Party bodies must pay special attention to weekly branch meetings. Only 20% of the JCP branches are holding their weekly branch meeting. To overcome this situation, party bodies should assist branches by grasping the concrete conditions and problems of each branch.
JCP branches in the workplace needs to be strengthened. Workers are in the majority class in Japan. It is therefore essential for the JCP to seek to win a majority of workers over to our cause, and it is an activity that has considerable bearing on society as we work toward establishing a democratic government. JCP branches in the workplace have maintained and even developed their organizations in defiance of harsh repression as part of the reactionary offensive.
A sea change is taking place in the conditions of workplaces due to the rapid "technological renovation" and large scale restructuring sweeping the workplaces. This change is contributing to undermining from within the rule of the traditional ideologies that place greatest importance on large corporations and anticommunism. This new situation calls for JCP workplace branches to organize activities in response to the workers demands and to play a pioneering role in party building efforts.
The important task is for JCP workplace branches to increase their initiatives in response to the demands of workers in various sectors. In developing such initiatives, it is necessary to keep in mind the following three points of view: The need to let people know how progressive change in national politics can help defend workers' jobs and rights; actually organize a struggle for jobs; and keep eyes on the issues in the context of national politics.
We will attach importance to the struggle against various ideological manipulations that try to justify restructuring. As part of this effort, the publication of JCP workplace bulletins will have great significance, along with a larger readership of Akahata.
Keeping in mind the need to strengthen JCP branches in workplaces, we will renew our determination to build a large and strong JCP. In the coming House of Councilors election, and also in our view of a democratic government to be established in the 21st century, JCP workplace branches are asked to play the role of engine that makes a JCP advance possible.
3) The need is to develop election campaign skills
In this regard, it is most important to learn fully from the lessons of the last general election campaign. As the decisions of the 6th and 7th Central Committee Plenums made clear, we learned many things such as the need to hold fast to the party decisions and put them into practice correctly; the need to take the offensive against anticommunist attacks; the importance of regular activities to talk about the JCP; and the need for political leadership to overcome various forms of passivism and to draw out all the strength of the party.
One of the most important tasks now is for us to be responsive to the people's concerns and the evolving political situation, and to acquire the capacity to take the lead in political debates. All party bodies including the central bodies and departments should make every effort to develop the skills for conducting and leading election campaigns based on lessons from the general election campaign.
4) Party finances to support party activities according to plans
The JCP 21st Congress decided that we should not regard financial activity as "something backroom professionals are concerned with," and that the "whole party must concern itself with this activity." Efforts in this direction have been made.
In this field, the party has worked based on the "three principle of party finance": collecting party dues; income from organ paper subscriptions and other JCP publications and other businesses; and donations from individuals. To these three principles, we now add "efforts to improve the expenditure, making a total set of "four principles." A common feature of those party bodies which have achieved sound financial position is that the party body leaders took the lead in promoting efforts by the whole party based on those principles. Let us continue such efforts with tenacity. Many people inside and outside of the party have responded to the call for donations for the construction of a new building of JCP headquarters planned to be completed in 2004. We would like to express our gratitude to those who gave donations to the party, and at the same time we call on the whole party to strengthen their efforts in the financial activities
The JCP refuses to receive donations from companies and organizations as well as state subsidies so as to carry out clean financial activities based on close links with the people at the grassroots level. This is an important source of the people's trust in the party, while serious cases of bribery and corruption concerning "politics and money" take place one after another among the other political parties.
5) We will tackle the question of systematically developing party leaders and activists
In order for party bodies and branches to carry out their activities in all fields with a long-term vision, we must make continuous efforts to train successors and help them develop as leaders at various levels.
In view of the JCP's long-term mission in the 21st century, it is of great significance for the party to receive and train young full-time JCP workers of outstanding talent and character.
To this end, we will put emphasis on an appropriate combination of different generations that can vitalize the party bodies. In expenditures, we will give salaries for full-time activists our priority so as to defend the sound living conditions and health of full-time activists and their family members.
There have been cases that young activists are receiving medical treatment due to distress from overwork. It is extremely important for the whole party to make efforts to ensure that full-time workers can maintain their good health, including through guaranteeing one-day off a week. Let us drastically improve our style of work, to stir enthusiasm and give motivation among many young party members to become full-time activists.
6) Question of the quality of the party
For the JCP to develop as a party fully capable of taking part in political power early in the 21st century, all its members must, above all, become able to actively talk about the JCP Program, history, and policies in their own words, in concert with the interests of each person.
It is essential for us to develop the JCP into a party in which literally every member learns Congress and Central Committee decisions elaborated by the collective wisdom based on the implementation of party policies by the whole party.
The percentage of the members who have completed reading the 21st Congress documents is 55%, and for the documents from the Central Committee Plenums, the number remain around 30%. We must drastically increase this present level of reading. In this regard. the Central Committee's section in charge of this matter had inertia in its efforts. The party center will accelerate its efforts to overcome the inertia and in considering the reading by members as a first priority task.
The study by members should be strengthened in three areas: i) complete digestion of the course and history of the party; ii) study of immediate party policy and lines; iii) study of the theory of scientific socialism. All party members should continue their efforts to fully understand the contents of the JCP 22nd Congress decision, the report on amendments to the JCP Program in the JCP 20th Congress, and the speech by JCP Chair Fuwa in commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the founding of the JCP titled "Japanese Communist Party History and Program."
To study is to understand, and naturally one can find great joy and inspiration in it. Let us not limit the task of study to a mere "practical obligation," but promote it as a campaign for the joy and inspiration from learning shared by the whole party.
1) The situation surrounding young people has worsened throughout the 1990s.
Difficulties in finding jobs and job insecurity among young people have become a serious social problem that has not been seen since the end of World War II. The unemployment rate among 15- to 24-year-olds is 9% and only 56% of college graduates are fortunate to find jobs. Over 1.5 million people are on non-regular jobs, including part-timers. Insecure employment is thus widespread. It is true that there is a tendency among young people for seeking jobs which they are suited for, but the major corporations' restructuring policy is to blame for the worsening employment situation in relation to young people.
The major problem for the young people is that many of them are left without jobs when they finish schools and start out in life; even those who fortunately find jobs are facing many difficulties arising from low wages and harsh working conditions and are unable to envisage any hopeful future. What's more, the adverse revision of the pension systems will reduce by 12 million yen benefits for a couple who are currently in their 20s, which only helps increase their anxieties about their future.
Conditions that have helped the growth and development of young people are fading away. Competition-driven education has brought about various contradictions. School refusals and recluses are increasing. All these problems make the demands and troubles of young people increasingly serious in relation to their growth and human relations.
2) Young people in these circumstances are earnestly thinking about job and a way of life, searching the way to make much of themselves and to contribute to the society. Increasingly interested in environment, peace, welfare, politics, and other social concerns, they are forming a new current beginning to consider the present social irrationality as their own problem and are acting to solve the problems.
Their active involvement in volunteer activities as witnessed in the wake of the Great Hanshin Earthquake (January 1995) and the lawsuit over HIV-contaminated blood products is noteworthy. In the 2000 World Conference against A and H Bombs (Aug 2000), 37% of participants were young people in their teens and twenties. Environmentalist groups created by young people's grassroots movements have expanded their networks throughout Japan during the last few years via the Internet. A group of young people has developed a movement demanding the suffrage for every citizen 18 or over.
It is also important to note that young people have greater interest in and expectations of the JCP, breaking down the wall of prejudices against the JCP. In the recent House of Representatives general election the "Youth Network for Changing Japan together with the JCP," which was started by young people for themselves, exerted youthful energy for the party.
All this shows that conditions do exist for us to organize young people if only the JCP acts to encourage them.
1) Young people are the rising generation of the 21st century. The major task now is for Japanese civil society to prevent their work, education, and living standards from worsening.
The Japanese Communist Party will boldly promote and enhance its policies.
The problem of job-opportunity is crucial. In Europe, governments are serious about solving the problem of employment of youth; they are trying to help create jobs through shortening the workweek and subsidizing young people with job training and living costs. In Japan, the JCP will demand that the government be responsive to the question of employment for young people.
It is also important to encourage young people to take an active part in all fields that young people are interested in, including culture and sports.
2) As we develop the movement to meet young people's demands, we will also seek to build a larger JCP among them. Without an advance in this effort, we cannot envisage a Democratic Coalition Government in the early part of the 21st century. The future of the JCP and the cause of democratic change in Japan hinges on this task.
In the effort to strengthen the JCP by focusing on a major membership drive, some prefectural and district organizations of the JCP are beginning to exert real efforts to fulfill the task related to young people. In those organizations, greater changes than expected have been made.
Since the Central Committee 4th Plenum in June 1999, the JCP has organized youth branches throughout the country. The JCP has established 292 youth branches throughout the country, and they have started their activities. The common thread that runs through these successful branches is that the JCP bodies are extending careful assistance in bringing up leaders who will take a lead in organizing young people and putting emphasis on members' studies. We will continue to work to establish more youth branches and increase the membership among young people.
We must pay attention to the task of increasing and strengthening JCP student branches, which is essential for the training of future workers who will shoulder a new Japan in various fields. The number of student JCP members has gradually risen since 1997, but many universities are still left without JCP branches. JCP organizations need to devote their energy to establishing party branches in universities which have national influence on students. It is essential to carry out activities to meet students' intellectual and academic interests as well as to develop student unions and extracurricular activities.
The Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ) acts to meet the various demands of young people and studies the prospects for social development with the JCP as the guide. The DYLJ has improved its organizational strength little by little since 1998, getting out of the decline. This is a new change. The JCP must make further progress among the younger generation. It must broaden and encourage the DYLJ's further development. The JCP will not only respect the DYLJ's independence but also understand its conditions and activities. The JCP will give the DYLJ wholehearted support, offering ideological and policy study as needed.
We must not regard the task of receiving young people into the JCP as a task to be undertaken by JCP youth/student branches alone. This task should be shouldered by the entire JCP organization.
Young people are the rising generation of the future. The JCP is the only party capable of envisaging a future in a responsible manner. It is possible for the JCP to achieve its new advance among youth, with further efforts.
1) In proposing the immediate plans for "Remaking Japan," the JCP places emphasis on making efforts to build a new Japan in which participatory democracy prevails and the people are the key players in every field within the framework of capitalism.
The JCP at the same time challenges the notion that capitalism is permanent. While doing its utmost to achieve the necessary changes, we have a grand future image of the world and Japan without being confined to the framework of capitalism. We will strive towards realizing a new society which will break down the capitalist framework, a socialist society which is our ideal.
2) The 21st century which we are about to enter will be a century in which a major question will be whether capitalism is proper or not.
The events of the 20th century as a whole are significant as preparation for a new system to be established in the 21st century. The advancement of true democracy, national independence, and world peace order will serve as a powerful springboard for humanity to move towards a new social system. The various forms of regulations of and interventions in the economy, which have been nurtured in the course of capitalist development, will serve as important element which a new society can utilize along with the colossal forces of production.
Today's world capitalism also reveals the system's contradictions and limitations. The unprecedentedly high unemployment rate, the ever widening income gap, hunger and poverty, the North-South problem, environmental destruction, and financial speculations are the present-day world's contradictions caused by the profit-first system. The argument in praise of a victorious capitalism swept the world at the time when the Soviet Union and Eastern European regimes were crumbling. This argument is no more. Analysts of various positions now raise such fundamental questions as "Is capitalism compatible with democracy?" and "Can life coexist with capitalism peacefully?Åh
Take a brief look at the possibilities for social betterment in the 21st century and you will be convinced that the new century will see conditions mature in preparation for the transition to a new socioeconomic system which will overcome capitalism on a global scale.
3) Asia is becoming an important source of new currents of peace and social progress. At the same time it is characterized as a major victim of the profit-first principle. Asia's population accounts for 55% of the world's population and the percentage is increasing. Given all these facts, Asia will become a region very important for the cause of social progress in the 21st century and for advances towards socialism.
Japan is one of the G7 developed capitalist countries, but it is also subordinate to the United States and is serving the best interests of its major corporations, causing anomalies and distortions within society. If Japan begins to correct such anomalies through democratic changes for social progress, it will have great bearing on Asia's as well as the world's affairs.
The JCP Program is not meant to give a detailed blueprint of a future Japan under socialism because accomplishing immediate tasks for democratic change within the framework of capitalism is the only path in which a concrete picture of a new stage of Japan's social development will be shaped based on the Japanese people's experiences. What it provides is a general plan for socialism which we aim to achieve, based on international lessons and JCP struggles.
1) We do not tolerate any suppression of human beings by a Soviet-style political, economic and social system using the name of "socialism" as a cover. The JCP Program states as follows:
"The collapse of the regime in the Soviet Union and its followers in the Eastern European countries does not mean that scientific socialism has failed, but means the bankruptcy of hegemonism, bureaucratism and despotism which deviated from scientific socialism. At the outset of the revolution these countries had socialism as their goal, but resulting from the leadership's wrong course, they collapsed before reaching a substantive socialist society. Taking a broad view, the demise of the colossal historic evil of Soviet hegemonism has opened up new possibilities for a sound development of the world revolutionary movement."
The JCP reached this conclusion as a result of its firm position of sovereign independence and its 30-year struggle against Soviet hegemony. The JCP position of not tolerating the tyranny of Soviet-type society against human beings is based on what history has confirmed.
2) The true socialism we are aiming for is one that will embrace and further develop all valuable achievement of the capitalist age in all fields; political, economic, cultural and social.
In particular, we will seek to fully develop freedoms and democracy in all fields as we expounded in the "Manifesto on Freedom and Democracy" adopted by the JCP 13th Extraordinary Congress in 1976.
The JCP Program states: "The gains on freedom and democracy won by the Japanese people will be carried forward historically, enriched and developed in three aspects: Civil-political freedom, freedom of existence, and freedom of the nation."
Even if society has developed its economy and productive power producing greater material wealth, social progress will not be secured if freedoms for human beings is not attained. Social progress in history should be measured by freedom and democracy either making advances or suffering setbacks. The JCP firmly stands for the position of seeking to achieve advances in freedom and democracy, and not allowing retreats from what has been gained in this realm in the future. This is part of what we envisage as social development in the 21st century.
3) For a new society to be created after overcoming capitalism, we envisage a society in which "exploitation of human beings by human beings will be abolished" (JCP Program).
In the effort to achieve economic change, we are seeking economic democracy to be established in order to protect the people's interests from the tyranny of large corporations pursuing larger profits above everything else. If the economic change we are seeking succeeds in having large corporations fulfill their social responsibility appropriate to their social roles, it will contribute to major improvements in the people's living standards.
But such economic change will not be enough to eliminate contradictions arising from the profit-first principle inherent to capitalism, such as exploitation, unemployment, the gap between the poor and the rich, depression, wasteful use of resources, and environmental disruptions. In order to solve these contradictions, it will be necessary to overcome the profit-first principle and move into a socialist society, a social system in which the immediate objective of the society's economic activity would be to improve the people's benefits. This is an objective demand of history.
The JCP Program also expresses the conviction that "a society of truly equal and free relations between people" will be built as a vision of the future in which the profits-first principle will have been surmounted.
The name "Japanese Communist Party" (Nihon Kyosanto) embodies the indomitable struggle our predecessors waged in prewar days against the war of aggression and for the establishment of the principle that sovereign power resides with the people, a principle which was established in the Constitution. It also expresses the JCP's position of working to create a future society in stages without resigning ourselves to remaining in the stage of capitalism. The name of the Japanese Communist Party represents the JCP's position which bears responsibility to the past, present, and future.
No advanced capitalist country has ever embarked on the path of transforming society into socialism; it is an area of new exploration and efforts which have never been tackled by human beings. We will enter the 21st century by holding high the banner of the Japanese Communist Party to do our utmost to fulfill our immediate task of achieving democratic change within the framework of capitalism while envisaging the building of an ideal society in which human beings are the main players of society.
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The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party