We Call For Establishing a “National Coalition Government to Repeal the War (Security) Legislation”
Chair, Executive Committee, Japanese Communist Party
Japanese Communist Party Chair Kazuo Shii issued the following statement on September 19. The statement was adopted by the party’s 4th Central Committee Plenum held on the same day.
The Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito Party, the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, forced through the passage of the war (security) bills in the Diet on September 19.
Filled with indignation, we vehemently lodge a protest to Abe’s LDP-Komeito government which railroaded the unconstitutional war bills through the Diet in defiance of the unprecedented scale of the public opposition movement as well as opposition by Japan’s general public with over 60% expressing opposition to having the bills enacted into law during this session of the Diet.
At the same time, we saw a new hope during the struggle. We witnessed the emergence and growth of a new type of popular movement—an unprecedented one in Japan’s post-war history—in which participants as citizens were well informed and were willing to stand up to the government and vocally oppose the war bills. Of special note is the prominent role played by younger generations in the public opposition movement. This is certainly a great hope for the nation’s future.
It is also highly significant, we believe, that in order to meet the public demand and support the citizens’ movement, opposition parties united in their struggle against the enactment of the bills.
This struggle is not something which ends with the forced passage of the bills by the governing coalition parties. This sort of high-handed behavior of the ruling parties will inevitably spark a further growth and development of the popular movement aspiring to peace and democracy.
We make the following proposals to people of Japan.
1) Let’s intensify the struggle to repeal the war (security) legislation and defeat the Abe government
Though the war (security) legislation was enacted forcibly by the majority governing coalition in the Diet, it is absolutely unacceptable for us to let the laws remain as they are.
First and foremost, the war laws are unconstitutional legislation and flagrantly violate the Constitution of Japan. Measures allowed by the laws—logistical activities in “combat zones”, security operations in areas where fighting is continuing, use of force to protect U.S. troops, and the exercise of the right to collective self-defense—trample on Article 9 of the Constitution and open the door to use of force by the Japan Self-Defense Forces abroad. We cannot afford to sit idle on these laws that risk the peace of Japan and lives of the people.
The war laws have come under fierce criticism from an exceptionally wide range of citizens including the overwhelming majority of constitutional scholars, former directors-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, and even a former chief justice of the Supreme Court. If this blatantly unconstitutional legislation is allowed to stand, it is constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law—the very foundations of our nation—that are put at grave risk of being fundamentally altered.
Prime Minister Abe repeatedly insisted that the passage of bills by the majority of the Diet is democracy in action. However, riding roughshod over public opinion—with over 60% opposing—, and imposing unconstitutional legislation by claiming that the LDP gained a mandate in the Diet with only 17% of popular support in the general elections last year, is tantamount to a dismantling of the principle of popular sovereignty—the basis of democracy on which the Constitution of Japan is grounded.
We call on you, the citizens of Japan, to begin a new struggle to repeal the unconstitutional war laws and restore constitutionalism and democracy to Japan. Let’s intensify the struggle to defeat the Abe government.
2) Let’s work together to form a national coalition government through cooperation among parties, organizations, and individuals sharing the goal to repeal the war laws
In order to repeal the unconstitutional war legislation, it is essential that political forces supportive of such a measure occupy the majority of seats both in the Lower and Upper Houses of the Diet and take legislative action. At the same time, withdrawal of the cabinet decision made on July 1, 2014 which allows the exercise of the right to collective self-defense is also needed. In order to ensure that these two tasks are accomplished, it is absolutely necessary to force Abe’s LDP-Komeito government out of power and form a new government mandated to fulfill those tasks.
We sincerely call for you to work together to establish a “National Coalition Government to Repeal the War (Security) Legislation” through an enhanced cooperation among all political parties, organizations, and individuals who share just one single goal: to repeal the war laws and restore constitutionalism. Under the banner of this goal, let’s force the Abe government into a corner and schedule the holding of general elections for seats in the Lower House as soon as possible.
This proposed coalition government will have the following missions; to withdraw the cabinet decision which allows the exercise of the right to collective self-defense; to repeal the war legislation; and to restore constitutionalism and democracy in Japan’s politics.
As this coalition government will be established with a single shared goal—to repeal the war legislation and restore constitutionalism—, its character will be provisional. With regard to a future course for Japan after achieving the abrogation of the war laws, we should hold general elections in the Lower House again in order to have the public choose which direction Japan should take.
There are policy differences among the opposition parties on national issues such as the stance on the Japan-U.S. security treaty. Even so, repealing the war laws and restoring constitutional order is the urgent and serious task at hand. We propose a broad unity among opposition parties based on the recognition of the urgency and seriousness of the mission incumbent upon us by putting temporarily on hold our policy differences. If a unity among the opposition camp for this urgent and serious mission is achieved, then we believe we can address other national issues by incorporating the principle of seeking common ground and consensus as well as the willingness to put aside differences.
The task required of this proposed coalition government will be a limited one. Nevertheless, if the first step for a new politics living up to the spirit of the Constitution of Japan is taken by such a new government, it will, without doubt, be a historic event and mark a new phase in Japan’s political development in which the general public will exercise their sovereign power by themselves to have their will prevail through the national politics.
3) Let’s work together to seek cooperation in national elections among opposition parties which agree to forming a “National Coalition Government to Repeal the War Legislation”
In order to ensure that political forces which seek to abrogate the war laws win the majority in both the Lower and Upper House elections in order to establish a coalition government, electoral cooperation among opposition parties is essential.
Basically, we have believed that in order to cooperate with other opposition parties in national elections, a policy agreement on key national issues as well as the willingness to cooperate would be required. At the same time, when a public demand was clear, we have addressed this matter with flexibility by setting aside some policy differences as seen in the Lower House electoral cooperation in the 1st to 4th district constituencies of Okinawa last year which was conducted under the banner of “opposing the construction of a new U.S. military base.”
The challenge we are facing now—to repeal the war laws and restore constitutionalism and democracy in Japan—is literally a challenge to meet public demand.
The Japanese Communist Party calls on all opposition parties which agree to meet the public demand and form a “National Coalition Government to Repeal the War Legislation” to engage in electoral cooperation in the next national elections. The JCP is determined to make sincere efforts to achieve this cooperation in order to reach this goal.
The historic upsurge of the popular movement opposing the war bills over the past months has demonstrated that the ideals embodied in the Constitution of Japan and the ideals of democracy have taken root and are growing to full expression among Japanese people. Let’s create a hopeful future of our nation by exercising our own sovereign power as the citizens of Japan.
Let’s work together to unite all political parties, organizations, and individuals by going beyond differences in thought, beliefs and political stances, force Abe’s LDP-Komeito government out of power, and shape a new direction in politics which lives up to the ideals of constitutionalism, democracy and pacifism.