Obuchi Cabinet, New "Guidelines" and Japan-China Relations-- JCP Chair Tetsuzo Fuwa Speaks at Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan

Tetsuzo Fuwa, Japanese Communist Party Presidium chair, spoke at a Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan luncheon on August 6, 1998. Following is a translation of his introductory remarks:

Thank you for the introduction. I am Tetsuzo Fuwa of the Japanese Communist Party. Thank you very much for inviting me to speak with you at this luncheon of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

I have been asked to speak on three themes: On the new cabinet; on the new "Guidelines" (for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation); and on the JCP's new relations with (the Communist Party of) China. Let me briefly speak about these questions.

New Cabinet of Prime Minister Obuchi

First, on the new cabinet established as a result of the recent (House of Councilors) election.

The election results showed the very profound and extensive judgment by the people on the present Liberal Democratic Party politics. In the proportional representation election, the LDP got 25% of the total votes. Following the election, the Obuchi Cabinet was established. It is first and foremost characteristic that this cabinet is completely indifferent to the election results as far as the way it was formed is concerned.

In electing its president, the LDP had no discussion to examine and reflect on the election results. Elected as LDP president was the foreign minister who served a cabinet in which the people showed no confidence. And the person picked as finance minister is one who failed as prime minister five years ago. Debate in the extraordinary Diet session will start tomorrow, but the government policy to be presented to the Diet is exactly the scenario which was criticized by the people in the election.

It is our belief that in light of the Constitution and parliamentary democracy a cabinet supported by only 25% of the people must not be allowed to continue with what was criticized by the people in the election.

While vote counting was going on at night on day of the election, I proposed a joint struggle by opposition parties to demand the dissolution of the Diet, and the first such step was taken in the Diet vote to nominate a prime minister. In the current Diet session we would like to strengthen joint struggle in that direction, get the Diet (House of Representatives) dissolved as early as possible for a general election, so that we can change the present situation in which the composition of the Diet, and the composition of politics is removed from the people's will.

The New "Guidelines"

The second issue is the "Guidelines (for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation)"

The "Guidelines" deal with matters relevant to Japan's military cooperation with the U.S. forces taking action abroad from Japan. In the present-day world, it is very abnormal that the centerpiece of Japan-U.S. relations is their bilateral cooperation in military action, rather than cooperation for peace. In order to better understand this abnormal situation, I would like to walk you through the history of the issue.

Examining the Guidelines question in the historical context of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty
The "Guidelines" are the materialization of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which was first concluded in 1951. The end of the U.S. occupation of Japan was replaced by the security treaty, which was a treaty to give the U.S. Forces full right to use our country as their military base. Then, in 1960 the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was revised, and this second security treaty is still in force. In this second treaty, a new clause on joint Japan-U.S. military operations was added to the existing one of allowing U.S. forces to use Japan as their military base.

But this clause was bound by the condition that it can be invoked only in the event of "an emergency involving Japan," which means "when Japan, or U.S. forces in Japan, are attacked." This clause was constantly used by the United States for demanding Japan's Self Defense Forces be reinforced. The United States has made suggestions regarding what equipment is necessary. And the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. Forces have repeatedly held joint exercises.

It should be noted that the assumption, "only when Japan has been attacked," which was used as the precondition for this clause, was never realistic even at that time. In the 1990s, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, this assumption that "Japan would be attacked" became completely meaningless. What should have happened next was a basic review aimed at shifting the course to one of reducing in both aspects: providing the U.S. forces with military bases and taking part in joint military operations with the U.S. forces.

The Japanese and the U.S. governments rather decided to reinforce this setup by taking a new course. This was the course to reorganize and strengthen the U.S. bases (in Japan) as stepping stones to Asia and the Pacific region, and to change the joint Japan-U.S. operational setup which was established on the assumption of "Japan's emergency" into a joint Japan-U.S. military operational setup serving U.S. military action abroad. This takes us to the current problem of the "Guidelines."

The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is a military alliance treaty, but different in character from military alliances in other regions, to the effect that common defense is barely conceived by the Japan-U.S. military alliance. Look at the U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa, the U.S. aircraft carrier task force based at Yokosuka and the U.S. Air Force at Misawa Base in Aomori. None of these U.S. forces deployed in Japan are assigned by the Pentagon to defend Japan. All of them are expeditionary forces assigned to take action in the vast areas of Asia, the Pacific and even beyond. As distinct from what happened during the Vietnam War, the chief aim of the "Guidelines" is to seek Japan's military cooperation, which was not the case at the time of the Vietnam War.

Three contradictory issues

We are opposed to what the "Guidelines" conceive, and this concept presents before Japan's politics contradictions which are so serious that even those people who do not agree with our position find it very difficult to resolve them.

First, according to the Guidelines, when U.S. forces take action from Japan, the Self-Defense Forces will automatically take part in various actions. Everything will proceed without Diet approval.

The existing law provides that Self-Defense Forces action needs to be approved by the Diet even when dealing with an attack on Japan. But the Guidelines will allow the SDF to take any action in cooperation in U.S. war without Diet approval. This means that Japan is going to be involved automatically in U.S. war mechanisms.

The second contradictory point concerns the Taiwan question. It is generally said that the area where the Guidelines are invoked is larger than what the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty defines as the "Far East." That the "Far East area" includes Taiwan and its vicinity was confirmed by the official view given by the government at the time the second (revised) Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was concluded. The Japanese government has continued with this view to date, and has adopted the view in its interpretation of the Guidelines. This means that naturally, the Japanese and U.S. governments consider Taiwan and its surrounding area will be covered by military action by Japan and the United States.

This position puts Japan into a very contradictory position in international politics. It is because Japan's government officially takes the "one China" policy which recognizes that Taiwan is part of China.

The United States has the "Taiwan Relations Act," a domestic law, to deal with this contradiction, but Japan does not have such a convenient law. The Japanese government is trying to surmount this contradiction by getting through quietly. This is something that cannot be accepted internationally.

In this regard, there is one thing that calls for attention. At the time when the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was revised in 1960 with the so-called "Far East clause" established, neither the United States nor Japan recognized the People's Republic of China; both countries regarded Taiwan's government as representing China.

Later, early in the 1970s, a major policy change took place in the United States and Japan in relation to China. Despite this change, Japan's government wants to take over from the 1960 interpretation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty which included the decision on intervening in the Taiwan affair. This I believe is exactly the origin of the mistake.

The third contradiction is that in forcing the Diet to approve of the Guidelines, the Japanese government is trying to impose its understanding that Japan's military cooperation (with the United States) is essentially different from a war act. But the more you study what is provided for in specific clauses, the more invalid the method of drawing a line between rear area support and war act becomes.

We will continue to point these contradictions out and advocate our strong opposition to the Guidelines and related-legislation as something that turns its back on peace in Asia and the rest of the world and on Japan's sovereignty.

Normalization of Relations and Summit Talks between JCP and CPC

My third topic is about the normalization of relations between the Japanese Communist Party and the Communist Party of China, and the summit talks we had recently with the CPC. The English translations of the JCP-CPC agreement on normalizing their bilateral relations and of the Five Principles for Japan-China relations, which I proposed at the summit talks, are available.

What was the historical question standing between the JCP and the CPC? It took us 32 years to normalize relations with the Communist Party of China, which was not without reason.

It was during the Mao Zedong era that our bilateral relations were broken off. It was like China's "Great Cultural Revolution" being brought into Japan; which constituted such flagrant interference in and attacks on the JCP that I call it a social and political war to overthrow the Japanese Communist Party. They defined the JCP as a common enemy of the Japanese and Chinese peoples. Even trading firms which wanted to do business with China had to accept this peculiar position.

The "Great Cultural Revolution" came to an end, and China entered the Deng Xiaoping era. During the Den Xiaoping era China was not ready to admit the mistake of this interference. The Chinese side proposed holding talks, which were held in 1985. In that meeting the Chinese side wanted to "let bygones be bygones."

But their interference (in the JCP) was very extensive and without precedent anywhere in the world. If they did not admit even the fact that there was (China's) interference (in the JCP), any agreement on re-establishing bilateral relations based on the principle of "non- interference in each other's internal affairs" would be an empty promise. We made this point to them, but the Chinese side was not forthcoming about admitting it.

Normalization of JCP-CPC relations and the CPC's attitude Following the establishment of a new leadership in China, in particular following the CPC Congress in September 1997, we saw a number of expressions of their new attitude towards us. We decided to respond to them positively, and the first bilateral discussion took place internally in January (in Tokyo), followed by another discussion in April (in Tokyo). This paved the way for an official bilateral meeting in June in Beijing, in which both sides agreed on normalizing relations between the two parties. The first of the two documents made available here is the English translation of the accord.

China's leadership and those who are in charge of international relations are made up of a completely new generation of people, who have little knowledge about the interference which took place in the past. In a sense this can serve as a good condition for their correcting past mistakes. But in another sense, it posed a problem; there was considerable difficulty in terms of reaching agreement on the way of understanding history.

But as a result of our bilateral discussions we held official talks in June, in which both sides reached complete agreement on the past interference. Then the Chinese side clearly admitted that what they did in the past was interference which must not happen in relations between the communist parties. Thus, the Chinese side "made a serious review and rectification," as the document says.

This is something that could not happen in the Mao Zedong era or even in the Deng Xiaoping era. But the present CPC leadership did it, which we appreciate. In addition, their way of announcing the agreement also showed their sincerity.

We also suffered from interference by the now defunct Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and over a long period of time we discussed with them a way for correcting it. But even when an agreement was reached, they were very unfair in implementing the agreement. In the agreement they certainly admitted their wrongdoing, but never wanted the agreement to be made known to the people of the Soviet Union. Instead, they printed it in the "Party Life" magazine which is read by small number of people.

In China, the JCP-CPC agreement was read in full at the top of the prime time 7:00 p.m. TV news. Renmin Ribao (The People's Daily, the CPC organ) and other newspapers,including those of the People's Liberation Army and the Federation of Trade Unions, and local newspapers such as Beijing Ribao (Beijing Daily), all carried the full text of the agreement.

The CPC explained to us that most of the people do not know what happened between the CPC and the JCP, and that they wanted to make it known to the people through this announcement.

The talks (in June) were confined to the discussion on normalizing bilateral relations, but through these talks we felt real sincerity and thought they can be counterparts with whom we can have intellectual and calm discussions.

We proposed 5 principles for stable development of Japan-China relations

That is the feeling we had as we visited Beijing for summit talks. Our bilateral contact and discussion was just beginning, but we discussed with the two main leaders, Jiang Zemin (CPC general secretary and PRC president) and Hu Jintao (member of Standing Committee of the CPC Political Bureau) for about 4 hours, and with dinners included we discussed with them for almost 7 hours.

In those talks we discussed a number of issues, but I would like to focus on three issues here.

First. We proposed Five Principles for achieving the stable development of relations between Japan and China, based on the 26-year history of Japan-China relations since their diplomatic relations were restored.

I think you already have a copy of the English translation of the proposal. The third, fourth and fifth items deal with peaceful coexistence, peaceful solution of problems, and cooperation for peace, which are commonplace, and the most important in Japan-China relations are the first two items: Japan's reflection on its war of aggression and the "one-China" policy.

In the past 26 years, Japan-China relations became unstable when the Japanese side deviated from either of these two principles.

Take the period after the start of the aggression in 1931 alone: Japan carried out its war of aggression for 15 years against China. This war of aggression was the biggest, and the longest, in the 20th century, and brought about enormous damage to the peoples of China and Japan. If Japan fails to make genuine reflection on the aggression, there cannot be friendship in the real sense of the word, not only with China but also with the other Asian countries.

As regards Taiwan, it should be noted that Japan took Taiwan from China in 1895; Japan imposed colonial rule over Taiwan for 50 years. Accepting the Potsdam Declaration, Japan returned Taiwan to China. This brief look at history makes it clear that Japan has an obligation to take the right position regarding "one China" and the Taiwan question.

Since our recent talks were not government-to-government talks, we did not intend to make an agreement. But I believe that in terms of recognition and evaluation, there was a basic agreement on what we put forward between them and us.

Tiananmen Incident and the question of the political system

Next, the Tiananmen Incident.

In the talks I explained our position to the Chinese side, that the use of military force against the peaceful movement could not be tolerated. And having said that this is the point which divides opinion between them and us, I brought up the following points as future matters:

A political system that deserves being called a system which has its roots in the people must be one that develops into a political system in which criticism of the system by speech will not be banned but be responded to by speech.

Russia in Lenin's era took various measures which curtailed human rights, but those were taken as transient measures which would be revoked in future. And this point is important for China's future development.

I made these points during my discussion with Hu Jintao, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Political Bureau. His reply was almost the same as what Jiang Zemin gave to U.S. President Clinton. I emphasized that this point is crucial in view of the future of China's political system. In saying this, I think, I put forward an angle for consideration of the matter.

On JCP-CPC relations I proposed starting from scratch The third point I raised was about relations between our two parties.

This is not just another normalization of relations after having been broken off for 32 years. In these talks I proposed our two parties start from scratch. Simply speaking: We have just got acquainted; we know of each other on paper, but do not know each other's substance; we need to study and know about the system; and we should study each other.

Our visit and talks were a kind of first such step, but were rudimentary. We would like to do an in-depth study of China's system, its contents and direction of development. For this I proposed to them that we will send a study delegation to China.

That's all for my introductory remarks. Thank you.

Question & Answer Session

Q: The JCP is the oldest of all the political parties in Japan. Yet it has been an outcast in the political world. Other political parties are not willing to have the JCP in any kind of coalition. Communist parties in other countries, even in some of the NATO countries, have shared power with other parties at the national level. What do you think is the reason for this? My second question is: You have normalized your relations with the Communist Party of China. What is the state of your relationship with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation?

Fuwa: On the first question. In the 1970s our joint struggle with other political parties was routine. But after we made big advances in the early 1970s, the LDP joined by other parties began anticommunist attacks. In 1980, the Socialist Party (present Social Democratic Party), which had been the main partner in our joint struggle, concluded an agreement with the Komei Party to exclude the JCP. In the well over 10 years since then, the exclusion of the JCP has been virtually a dominant rule in Diet activity.

This system largely collapsed after the JCP made a great advance in the 1996 general election. Since the beginning of the Diet session which started this January, I have proposed joint action between the opposition parties, and this has begun to bear fruit on some questions.

Cooperation between opposition parties including the JCP has been suspended for the last nearly 20 years. The logic of cooperation between political parties is that joint action should be carried out on the immediate agreed points in the interest of the people, leaving aside the future images and the ideals of the concerned parties. This is the reasonable way. I don't think that such a logic for joint action is fully established in the political world. I think it necessary to make intentional efforts to establish this.

On your second question about our relationship with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. We haven't had any relations with them. But on the results of the House of Councilors election, we received their message of congratulations. We sent them a thank-you letter. This is the present position of our relationship with them.

Q: I don't challenge your criticisms of the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, but doesn't it seem that at this time the Communist Party of China is anxious to use the JCP to mobilize support within Japan against the new Guidelines?

Fuwa: I'm not in a position to comment on the Chinese intention, for it is their problem. But to resolve the problem of severed ties over 32 years between the two parties has great historical significance for both parties, going further than just dealing with the immediate individual political problems. In other words, this would be resolved sooner or later whether the Guidelines issue came up in the context of Japan's national politics or in Japan-U.S. relations.

In the recent two-party talks, the Guidelines question was not the main subject. In our talks General Secretary Jiang Zemin declared, referring to the Japan-China relationship and the non-aligned movement, that their most urgent concern about the Japan-U.S. military alliance was that it should not cover Taiwan, which is Chinese territory.

When we proposed the five principles to govern the Japan-China relations, we had a wider perspective than just dealing with the immediate problem, the Guidelines.

Q: How do you respond to those critics who say that the JCP should be working now aggressively with other opposition parties in the Diet to create a coalition to dislocate the LDP, rather than going to Beijing (after the House of Councilors election) to deal with the Communist Party there?

Fuwa: We were in Beijing for just five days when the LDP presidential election took place. We had talks with other opposition parties before we went to Beijing and after we came back from there. Based on such efforts, cooperation among the Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the JCP in nominating the prime minister was achieved on the day the Diet session started. You should do two or more things at a time, otherwise you can't do any bigger job.

To be frank, in view of the present position of the opposition parties, we don't think a joint government of the opposition parties will be an immediate issue; the situation is not ripe yet. What we think important now is to cooperate for dissolution of the Diet. It is also important that the opposition parties which have such different policies sincerely seek, based on agreed points in the people's interest, tasks in each area on which they can cooperate; in other words, we have to accumulate joint actions on policies.

The accumulation of such efforts will pave the way by which to approach a full-fledged government of opposition parties after the general election.

Q: Are you satisfied with the position of the JCP being a perpetual opposition party? Or do you just see it having a role as an opposition party? What do you think of the JCP being in government?

Fuwa: In the JCP Congress in September last year, we decided to try to establish a democratic government in Japan in the early part of the 21st century. This is my first answer to your question.

Secondly, we don't just stay forever an opposition party until conditions ripen for the establishment of such a democratic government.

We are ready to join the government even in the intermediate period before such a situation ripens. This type of government can be found in what I have just said: We are calling for the dissolution of the Diet for a general election, and we can approach a coalition government of the opposition parties through the accumulation of joint actions on policies. In this regard, I want you to understand we aren't a party just satisfied with being an opposition party.

Q: The LDP lives above the clouds. They are dealing with various problems from there. If you leave LDP rule to continue, the unemployment rate will increase to the levels of Europe. Don't you think you have to form a coalition government by dealing with other opposition parties, without waiting for the next century?

Fuwa: Cooperation or joint action will not be realized just by our will. As regards the appointment of the prime minister, it was on the evening of July 12, the ballot counting day, that I said we were ready, based on discussion, to vote for Mr. Naoto Kan. But it was July 29 that the Democratic Party requested us to cooperate with them in voting. Then on July 30 there was a joint meeting among the Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the JCP.

For joint action between opposition parties to be successful, very complicated efforts are necessary for the concerned parties. While continuing such efforts, the JCP will stop LDP policies invented from "above the clouds," and will promote cooperation to get them to implement policies which accord with present-day economic necessities and people's needs.

What is lacking for the Japanese government in its economic policy and what is most necessary is to adopt a positive policy to drastically encourage people's spending, which has cooled down. A consumption tax rate cut is an important step in this direction. Only two parties, the JCP and the Liberal Party, have made consumption tax cuts a public promise. Also on this point, with fulfillment of this promise as a central issue, we are going to strengthen cooperation between opposition parties. (Newspaper Akahata, August 8, 1998) (end)


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