The Resolution of the Japanese Communist Party 27th Congress
Adopted on January 18, 2017
I. Setup of New Political Confrontation and our Efforts to Form a Government of Opposition Alliance
1) Setup of New Political Confrontation – “LDP, Komei and Small Supporting Parties” vs. “Joint Struggles of Opposition Parties and Concerned Citizens”
Japanese politics has just entered a new era in which the united struggle of opposition parties and concerned citizens confronts the government of the Liberal Democratic/Komei Parties with Shinzo Abe as Prime Minister backed by some smaller supporting parties.
In the House of Councilors election in July 2016, agreeing upon the abolition of the national security legislation, or the so-called war laws, and the restoration of constitutionalism, a united front consisting of concerned citizens and opposition parties was formed, sought to overturn the Abe regime, successfully fielded a united opposition candidate in each of all 32 single-seat constituencies, and won close races in 11 of them. In the Niigata gubernatorial race the following October, under the banner of “No to the restart of nuclear power plants”, a candidate supported by the opposition parties and concerned citizens united achieved an overwhelming victory. Thus, it is now clear if the opposition parties and concerned citizens work hard on “serious cooperation” with the “cause flag” flying high in response to public demands, such an effort can bring about victory despite fierce attacks by the government and the ruling parties. This united opposition holds hopeful significance for the future course of Japan.
In addition, the political “wall” which excluded the JCP from the mainstream political arena has collapsed. Triggered by the 1980 “Socialist/Komei Party agreement,” this “wall” was built and remained as the main obstacle for opposition parties to unite against the LDP-led political regime while it changed its form into the “LDP or non-LDP (except JCP)” campaign in the early 1990s and the “government choice between two major parties” campaign in the 2000s. Now this “wall” has become a thing of the past, and the JCP has been playing an important role by occupying one pole of the new axis of political confrontation.
Japanese politics has entered a new era of significant change in Japan’s post-war history in which the progressive wave and the reactionary wave of history head-on collide with each other.
2) Where Does the Power Which Opened This Era Come From?
Where did the power which opened this new era come from?
First, it came from the emergence of a new type of public movement opposing Abe’s out-of-control policies. Over the past few years, a joint effort to make common demands by means of “single-issue collaboration” has spread nationwide addressing various issues. In particular, through a struggle opposing the national security legislation, many individuals began standing up on their own initiative to raise their voices in opposition, contributing to creating a new style of a nation-wide citizens’ movement which has evolved and grown in a way never seen since the end of World War II. From these new social movements, the citizens’ demand for “opposition parties to unite” spread, and pressed by this call, a joint effort among the opposition parties increased both inside and outside the Diet, which later developed into the initiation of opposition parties’ electoral cooperation in the House of Councilors election.
Secondly, the JCP’s political progress has also given momentum. Following its advancement in the Upper House election in July 2013, the JCP in the general election in December 2014 increased its seats from eight to 21. In the nationwide local elections in April 2015 as well, the party for the first time in its history secured at least one seat in all the prefectural assemblies in Japan. The JCP as a whole has been experiencing an upward trend. This progress helped overcome the longstanding “Exclude-the-JCP” political framework which continued for more than 30 years following the 1980 “Socialist/Komei Agreement” and also provided the leverage needed to help promote close cooperation between the opposition parties and concerned citizens at both the local and national levels in order to oppose the Abe government’s runaway form of politics.
Immediately after the national security legislation was steamrollered through the Diet on September 19, 2015, the JCP proposed to launch efforts to form a “national coalition government to repeal the national security legislation,” which marked a new phase in our endeavor to actually build electoral cooperation with other opposition parties on a nationwide scale. This proposal met the demand of many concerned citizens calling for “opposition parties to unite”. The party made this decision because we thought “we ourselves as well have to change.” Our proposal contributed to enhancing collaboration between the opposition parties and concerned citizens. The reason the party was able to make such a bold decision is because of our Party Program which states that in every stage of social development, we shall proceed with social change by forming a united front, setting aside differences in political affiliation or ideology, working together on common issues that meet the pressing demands of the general public.
3) Deadlocked “Two Aberrant Policies” and Despotic Politics
What underlies the newly emerged setup of the Japanese political battleground— the “LDP, Komei plus their supporting forces” versus the “coalition of the opposition parties and concerned citizens”—is the turbulence at the very basis of society in which the LDP’s fundamental policy characterized by the “two aberrations”—“subservience to the U.S.” and “big-business-first policy”—has been faced with a serious impasse and is increasingly marginalizing a wider range of people including conservatives.
The policy of “subservience to the U.S.” can no longer be compatible with the Japanese Constitution. The forcible enactment of the national security legislation overturned the accepted interpretation of the Constitution maintained by successive governments for more than 60 years – “The use of the right to collective self-defense is forbidden under Article 9 of the Constitution”-- and completely destroyed the very principle of constitutionalism and democracy. In this connection, the severity of the U.S. military base problem in Okinawa has already gone far beyond its limit by the additional imposition of a new, huge U.S. base on Okinawans, which is presently under construction in Henoko, in complete defiance of the overwhelming opposition to the base by Okinawans.
The “big-business-first” policy is destroying the basis for creating and maintaining a decent work environment. Heavier tax burdens imposed on the general public and cuts in social welfare programs have undermined the nation’s income redistribution system so it no longer functions properly. Economic disparities and poverty are expanding and even the middle-class is so battered that Japanese society and its economy cannot develop sustainably. The reckless policy to resume the operations of offline nuclear reactors by prioritizing the pursuit of profits over people’s safety for the sake of the powerful “nuclear energy interest group” is bringing about various contradictions.
On top of that, the LDP retrogressive stance to justify and glorify Japan’s past war of aggression and its colonial rule causes an extremely contentious issue both at home and abroad. The “LDP Draft Constitution” [which was prepared to replace the nation’s long-held pacifist constitution] is full of contradictions, goes against actual history, pursues the creation of a war-capable nation, and denies constitutionalism.
The LDP fundamental position characterized by these two aberrations has ignored and defied the will of the majority of the public.
Thus, the Abe regime has no other option but to implement a despotic approach to govern this country in defiance of the will of the general public. The hardline politics, or so-called runaway politics of the Abe regime, does not give “strength” to this government. It simply underlines the fact that the outdated LDP approach to politics is reaching an unsurpassable deadlock and is increasingly in contradiction with the demands and interests of the general public.
4) Overturn Abe Regime and Form Coalition Government of Opposition Parties
The “runaway politics” of the Abe government is a phenomenon arising from the delegitimation of the outdated LDP approach to politics. Bringing down this regime, therefore, means not only putting a stop to the runaway politics, but also bringing an end to the LDP regime itself, which will certainly mark a major step forward in embarking on the creation of a new Japan.
To this end, the four opposition parties have already agreed on conducting as much cooperation as possible in national elections to drive the present ruling parties and their supporting forces into a minority in the Diet. Also, in the efforts to confront the Abe government, the four opposition parties have set four major targets: 1) repeal the national security legislation and restore constitutionalism; 2) redress worsening people’s livelihoods as well as the widening gaps and poverty caused by so-called “Abenomics”; 3) rebuff the tyrannical form of politics which never listens to public concerns, for example, over Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Okinawa base issue; and 4) resist constitutional revision as sought by the Abe regime. The JCP, based on these agreed points, will do its utmost to make the political alignment of opposition parties more effective and policy proposals in line with the interests of the general public. We will also seek to promote electoral cooperation in national elections, including the upcoming general election, so that we can break the current political map in which the two-thirds of Diet seats are occupied by constitutional revisionists, and make every possible effort to turn the present ruling parties and their complementary partners into Diet minorities.
Then, the inevitable question is, what comes next? Right now, no agreement exists on this point among the four opposition parties. However, if the opposition camp earnestly aspires to implement our four political targets agreed upon to defeat the Abe regime, it will surely be necessary to form a government to achieve them. If all the four opposition parties seriously seek to overthrow the Abe government, then we should hold ourselves responsible for presenting the general public with what kind of government we have in mind. Some insist, “You cannot share a government with other parties whose platforms, ideologies, and policies are different than yours.” But, even though each party has a different program and a different future vision, it will be a prerequisite for the political parties to work together on immediate pressing issues in order to meet people’s ardent demands. Meeting the people’s demands should be the basis not only for pursuing electoral cooperation but also for cooperating in building a new government. From this standpoint, the JCP has been proposing to take the initiative to set up a provisional coalition government consisting of the currently-opposition parties, namely a “national coalition government.” Regarding the establishment of a provisional government, the JCP will also seek to reach an agreement with other opposition parties through sincere consultations.
In the name of the 27th JCP Congress, we call on you to further increase the cooperation between the opposition parties and concerned citizens, overturn the Abe government, put an end to the LDP form of politics, and establish a coalition government of the opposition parties. Let us open the path toward creating a new Japan where the principles of constitutionalism, democracy, and pacifism will be honored, and where the individual dignity of all the people will be respected.
II. New Trends in World Affairs and the JCP Stance
5) The Transformation of the World Structure and the Epoch-Making Move toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
The previous JCP Congress Resolution points out, “The most important changes in the 20th century were the complete collapse of the colonial system, the worldwide acceptance of the right of national self-determination, and more than 100 nations gaining political independence as sovereign states.” It emphasizes, “These changes were what should be termed as a sea change in the world structure.” And it also states, “An outstanding feature of current world affairs is that this shift is now showing great potential as a driving force to foster world peace and social progress.”
i) The Looming Probability of a Nuclear Weapons Convention Negotiation to Commence to Open the Door to the Banning of Nuclear Weapons
Such great potential has been activated in a landmark development which is taking place in the world-wide effort to seek “a world without nuclear weapons,” the critical and urgent challenge for humanity to tackle.
On December 23, 2016, the U.N. General Assembly adopted, with the overwhelming support of 113 nations, a resolution which resolves to start negotiations in 2017 for creating a convention to prohibit nuclear weapons. It is very likely that the negotiations among U.N. member states, encouraged by the active involvement of civil society organizations (i.e. anti-nuclear-weapon and peace-seeking movement groups), will begin at the U.N. in the March and June-July sessions in 2017 to work to craft “a legally binding instrument [a convention] to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.”
A conclusion of a prohibition convention with participation of a majority of U.N. member states will mean the first-ever illegalization of nuclear weapons, even if the nuclear-weapon states refuse to join it to begin with. Such a convention will at last deem with authority that nuclear weapons are inhumane and must be abolished. As the result, the nuclear-weapon states will have to be bound politically and morally, if not legally, by such a convention, and the world will enter a new phase towards achieving the goal of the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The JCP heartily welcomes this epoch-making development which could open the door to “a world without nuclear weapons.”
ii) Efforts by Governments and Civil Society Groups Converging toward “a World without Nuclear Weapons”
This positive dynamic development has been driven by two streams of force converging.
One force is the collaborative efforts made by the governments of the vast majority of developing as well as some of advanced nations to achieve this. In each of the last 20 years, the U.N. General Assembly adopted, with the overwhelming support, resolutions which call for concluding a nuclear weapons convention, and the Non-Aligned-Movement states played a leading role in this. Furthermore, with representatives of various governments at international conferences talked about the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons, the U.N. General Assembly adopted its first-ever resolution concerning “the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons” with the support of nearly 75% of all U.N. member states in 2015.
The other stream is the growth of movements in civil society, or worldwide anti-nuclear-weapon and peace-seeking movements which aspire to realize a nuclear-weapons-free world. In Japan, the anti-nuclear-weapon movement led by the Hibakusha (the atomic bombs survivors) has continuously testified about the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons, and has raised public awareness of what the atomic-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki revealed. Globally, during the past 10 years, more than 50 million signatures of support were collected for the international campaign calling for the total ban and abolition of nuclear weapons. It is these grass-roots efforts that actually forced the international political arena to take steps to make progress. The U.N. draft resolution mentioned above welcomes the participation and contribution of civil society groups at a U.N. conference to be convened in 2017. All this reveals that the fundamental force that created the positive dynamic move we see today is the social movements and world public opinion.
iii) Nuclear-Weapon States and Allies on Defensive: Let’s Get Hundreds of Millions of Signatures for Hibakusha-led Worldwide Campaign
As the possibility to actually ban nuclear weapons is looming in the international political landscape, the nuclear-weapon states are becoming alarmed and revealing their true colors as obstructionists. The Permanent Five Members of the UN Security Council which are allowed to possess nuclear weapons by the NPT, namely, Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S., issued a joint statement in advance of the U.N. General Assembly session in September 2016 and reiterated their stance against concluding a nuclear weapon ban treaty, arguing that their “progressive step-by-step approach” is “the only practical way to make progress toward nuclear disarmament.” Yet, what the seven-decade history of the diplomacy over nuclear weapons has proved to be true is that just accumulating partial disarmament measures cannot get us to actually reaching a world without nuclear weapons. In this regard, the so-called “step-by-step approach” is the worst kind of pro-nuclear-weapon tactic which attempts to legitimate the continued maintenance of nuclear weapons and postpone the total abolition of nuclear weapons into the indefinite future.
Although the Japanese government had abstained from voting on the previous U.N. General Assembly resolutions which called for starting negotiations on a convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, it then turned to vote against this historic resolution adopted at the General Assembly, bowing to pressure from the U.S. government. This act has to be severely condemned as a betrayal of what the Japanese people expect its government to do as a government representing the only nation that is a wartime victim of atomic bombings.
A crucial factor in determining the future outcome of this issue is the strength of global popular movements and world public opinion. The “International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” has been already launched with the goal of collecting hundreds of millions of signatures of support from across the globe. The JCP expresses solidarity with this international campaign, and is making every effort to help achieve its goal.
6) Regional Peace Communities of Nations Make Considerable Progress in spite of Difficulties
The previous JCP Congress Resolution paid special attention to regional peace communities of nations that have evolved as enablers for an international peace order based on the U.N Charter, namely, the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC).
What is common in these two regional communities is: making tenacious efforts to resolve any conflict peacefully: preserving regional independence by renouncing interventionism of outside major powers: being a promoter for the global abolition of nuclear weapons by concluding a nuclear-weapon-free zone agreement.
i) ASEAN, Demonstrating Great Patience and Resilience to Preserve its Solidarity and Becoming a Source of International Peace
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), marking the 50th founding anniversary in 2017, has dramatically transformed the region once torn by “division and hostility” into a region characterized by “peace and cooperation.”
The ASEAN has built a multi-layered architecture for peace and security in and beyond the region, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) based on the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) which enshrines renouncing the use of force and settling disputes peacefully in accordance with the principles embodied in the U.N. Charter. Remarkably, ASEAN endeavors have now come to fruition with the establishment of the ASEAN Community in December 2015.
On the other hand, the region has been faced with severe challenges such as the South China Sea issue while also seeing a possible split among its 10 member states as the major powers have enhanced their involvement in the region. Addressing those challenges, the ASEAN has preserved its solidarity and held firm its autonomy by demonstrating its great patience and resilience, and is now opening up a new perspective for peace and stability.
In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued its award over the case involving the South China Sea dispute in which the Tribunal concluded that China’s claim to the South China Sea waters has “no legal basis” in international law and encouraged a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Importantly, in light of the award, the ASEAN Summit held in September 2016 reaffirmed in its chairman’s statement the importance of achieving a peaceful settlement of the South China Sea issue through “full respect for legal and diplomatic process” based on the “universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.” We express our strong support to this ASEAN statement and hope a positive improvement of the situation will emerge.
The regional community for peace which ASEAN has built up, now contributes to peace and stability not only regionally in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region but also even globally. This is a strong source for spreading peace that will lead toward establishing a peaceful world order.
ii) CELAC, the Growing Trend for Independence from U.S. and Peaceful Resolution of Conflict
We also see a regional peace community making considerable progress in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although this region has been undergoing setbacks and difficulties affecting some leftist or progressive governments, the introduction of a regional peace community into this area clearly has historic significance which does not depend on the rise and fall of specific governments.
The CELAC, whose establishment was declared in 2010 with the participation of all of the 33 nations in the region, has its great importance in, first of all, its changing the region once called “the backyard of the U.S.” into an area maintaining, as a region, its independence from the U.S.
The region already set up a nuclear-weapon-free zone covering its area in 1968 by concluding the Tlatelolco Treaty. Building on that, the 2011 Special Communiqué on the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was reaffirmed at the first CELAC summit held in 2013. Furthermore, the second CELAC summit held in 2014 adopted the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, declaring its commitment to resolve any conflict through peaceful means with the aim of uprooting forever the threat or use of force in the region.
Based on the Proclamation, the CELAC has introduced initiatives for peace including backing negotiations for ending the civil war in Colombia through the peace process. Regarding the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. in July 2015 after 54 years of hostility, all nations in Latin America and the Caribbean condemned the U.S. policy of imposing an embargo against Cuba while supporting efforts to restore Cuba-U.S. relations.
This regional trend of seeking peace and preserving independence from U.S. influence is growing promising and irreversible.
The JCP proposal for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia made at the previous JCP Congress was in part the result of our close study of the efforts made by the ASEAN and the CELAC. The endeavors undertaken by these two regional communities for peace provide valuable lessons to achieve our aspiration to promote peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
7) The U.S.: Facing Total Failure in its Militaristic Hegemonism and Facing Serious Contradictions in Global Capitalism
i) 15 Years since the Launch of Retaliatory War against Afghanistan
In 2001, the Bush administration launched a war against Afghanistan as a retaliatory response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and then moved on to invade Iraq in 2003. These military interventions claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian lives, begot a quagmire of civil wars, spread terrorism around the world, and became the major cause of the rise of the extremist armed group ISIL. The reality of the past 15 years of world affairs clearly shows that U.S. militaristic hegemonism has resulted in total failure.
The Obama administration, which took office in 2009 giving itself a mandate to change Bush policies, sought various diplomatic efforts by engaging with international or regional institutions while avoiding an additional large-scale military intervention. These efforts resulted in the agreement on the nuclear program of Iran, the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and the new global agreement to tackle climate change.
Nevertheless, Afghanistan and Iraq are still embroiled in the turmoil of civil war. Though the number of U.S. troops stationed there is down from its peak, nearly 10,000 U.S. soldiers are still deployed in Afghanistan. Airstrikes, unmanned aerial vehicle attacks, and military campaigns conducted by U.S. special operations forces are also occurring in Iraq. Syria is experiencing the quagmire of civil war compounded by the military intervention of U.S. and NATO forces as well as Russian, causing numerous civilian casualties and the emergence of more than 10 million refugees and internally displaced persons. On top of that, the U.S. has been expanding its military foothold in Africa and other areas around the world.
The 2015 U.S. National Security Strategy issued by the Obama administration still declared its readiness to carry out a preemptive attack, stating, “The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary,” and its posture to act in disregard of the U.N., stating, “[The U.S.] will act alone, if necessary.” The U.S. strategy of maintaining military dominance, ever ready to resort to a preemptive strike in defiance of the U.N. and its Charter, has not changed.
President Obama said, “In Iraq, the United States learned the hard lesson that even hundreds of thousands of brave, effective troops, trillions of dollars from our Treasury, cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land.” He also acknowledged, “[T]he emergence of al Qaeda in Iraq has now evolved into ISIL.”
However, nothing has been done to fundamentally review the U.S. military-centered hegemon-seeking strategy which brought about what we are now facing.
U.S. militaristic hegemonism is reaching a dead end with no chance to escape and is doomed to total failure. And, aligned on this failed path, Abe government’s national security legislation does not have a bright future.
ii) Growing Inequality and Poverty, Declining Middle Class, and Victory of Donald Trump
U.S. society has experienced the growth of inequality and poverty, and faced the deadlock and contradictions resulting from the decades-long neo-liberal economic policy tied to global capitalism which relentlessly rewards multinational large corporations. Though the Obama administration attempted to partially arrest the trend by taking some measures such as the introduction of a new health care insurance system, inequality and poverty has increased to the degree that the wealthiest 1% of the total population obtains 22% of the total national income, and the hallowing-out of domestic industries and the serious decline of the middle class has progressed unabated.
The result of the U.S. presidential election in November 2016 in which Donald Trump (Republican) won was a reflection of the serious deadlock and contradictions U.S. society has been bogged down in. Mr. Trump criticized the “vested interests,” but fell short of presenting an alternative policy to break the deadlock. He also made a series of worrisome remarks on, among other things, the expansion of nuclear capabilities and immigration system reform. We will pay close and critical attention to what he is going to propose to do during his presidency.
8) China: Emergence of New Type of Great-Power Chauvinism and Hegemonism
Recently, several questions which are too serious to ignore have arisen about China’s conduct in the international political arena. We have to raise at least four points of contention.
i) An Alarming Shift in China’s Stance on Nuclear-Weapon Issues
The first point is the alarming shift taking place in China’s stance on nuclear-weapon issues.
Until the recent past, China had called for a nuclear weapons convention. However, Beijing’s attitude has changed in the last several years. In a speech made by then-President Hu Jintao at the U.N. Security Council in 2009, complete and thorough nuclear disarmament was regarded as “the ultimate goal,” and concluding “a convention on the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons” was considered a task to tackle in the remote future as part of “a viable long-term plan composed of phased actions.”
A remarkable shift in China’s stance was seen at the U.N. General Assembly sessions in 2015-2016 when China, as part of the P-5 nuclear-weapon states, turned its back on the move for the time-framed approach to an actual start of negotiations for creating a prohibition convention. Beijing now openly takes the position of holding on to nuclear weapons by favoring a “step-by-step” approach. At least, with regard to the matter of nuclear weapons, we can no longer say that China is on the side of advocates of peace and progress. Instead, it has revealed itself as an obstructionist who opposes the on-going efforts towards creating “a world without nuclear weapons.” The issue of nuclear weapons is not just one pressing issue among other issues but is the vital and central challenge that needs to be addressed most urgently for the sake of the very survival of humanity. We have to point out that China’s shift on this issue is very grave.
ii) Attempts to Change the Status Quo through Coercion in the East and South China Seas
The second point is China’s attempt to coercively change the status quo in the East and South China Seas.
In December 2008, Chinese government vessels made a first-ever intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. After the Japanese government purchased the ownership of some of the islands from private citizens in September 2012 (with the “nationalization of the Senkakus”), the incident of the intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters by Chinese government vessels has regularly occurred and increased sharply in number, resulting in the deteriorating and tension-riddled relation between Japan and China. No matter what the Chinese government argues, any attempt to force to change the status quo in an area under the effective control of a foreign government is never allowed in the international community, and is a violation of the principle to work for peaceful resolutions of conflicts which nations are obliged to embrace if they are signatories to the U.N. Charter, the U.N. Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States.
The Chinese government has officially claimed sovereign rights over almost all of the South China Sea since it made its case in a document submitted to the U.N. in 2009, and it continues to challenge the status quo through force or coercion by, for example, building artificial islands and constructing 3,000-meter-long runways as well as radar facilities in the Spratly Islands. These acts flagrantly contravene the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) singed by ASEAN states and China. The award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration dismissed China’s claim over the South China Sea as having “no legal basis,” and concluded that China’s act of changing the status quo was in violation of international law, though Beijing condemned the ruling as being “null and void” and having “no binding force.” It is not acceptable for a nation to behave in a way to put its own interests above anything and going so far as to violate the U.N. Charter and the universally recognized principles of international law.
iii) High-handed Behavior to Tramp upon the Democratic Steering of International Conferences
The third is China’s high-handed behavior to tramp upon the democratic steering of international conferences.
In the process of adopting The Kuala Lumpur Declaration issued by the General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) held in Malaysia in September 2016, the JCP delegation proposed an amendment to the draft declaration with the aim of inserting the demand for “a prompt start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.” The Draft Committee approved our proposal unanimously, including the consent by the delegation of the Communist Party of China, and copies of the draft declaration distributed to the participants for adoption incorporated the phrase we proposed. However, just before the final adoption, the CPC delegation suddenly demanded, behind the scenes, the deletion of the phrase we proposed for inclusion, and as a result, the phrase was omitted from the final text of the declaration. Unilaterally overturning what the Draft Committee had unanimously approved at the final moment of the assembly proceedings has to be considered to be hegemonistic behavior.
A rare controversy arose at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Venezuela in September 2016. Disputing over the draft wording on the South China Sea issue to be included in the Final Outcome Document, the ASEAN nations called for an amendment that would update the description of the situation and emphasize the importance of “non-militarisaion and self-restraint,” but the amendment was rejected, and the ASEAN nations had to express its partial reservation in the Final Outcome Document. Later, referring to the incident, a Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson unilaterally asserted that the “NAM is not a proper place to discuss the South China Sea issue,” and blamed a small number of countries for “insisting on highlighting the South China Sea-related contents in the outcome document.” The Singapore government, holding the position of Coordinator for the ASEAN-China Dialogue, sharply countered, stating, “[T]he NAM Chair refused ASEAN’s request to abide by the established practice in NAM for regional groupings to update the paragraphs of their respective regions in the NAM Final Document, without interference from non-regional NAM countries or external parties. If this important principle is not respected, any non-regional NAM member or external element could in future impose their views on any regional issue. This is not in the interests of the NAM and its members.”
iv) Behavior in Contradiction to the Confirmed Principle of JCP-CPC Relationship
Fourth, the CPC delegation’s behavior in the ICAPP General Assembly session poses a serious question regarding the relationship between the CPC and the JCP. The JCP delegation sincerely asked the CPC delegation for its cooperation to have our proposal of amendment reflected in the final text of the declaration. However, the CPC delegation rejected our proposal without giving any convincing reason for doing so and even called us “hegemonist” in the end. Such a rude attitude is in contradiction to the principle of our relationship which the two parties confirmed in June 1998 in the agreement on the normalization of the JCP-CPC relations reached after the CPC expressed their serious regret over its wrongful interference against the JCP which had caused the 32 years of severance of relations of the two parties.
v) Call for Serious Correction and Trust Building
Judging from the examples stated above, we have to point out that a new form of great-power chauvinism and hegemonism is emerging in China.
Referring to countries “beginning on a new quest for socialism,” the previous JCP Congress Resolution states, “There can possibly be a recurrence of past hegemonistic or great-power chauvinistic behaviors. If they commit such a grave mistake, it might be possible that they would be in danger of decisively straying from the path toward socialism.” We have to strongly warn that if the emerging new great-power chauvinism and hegemonism continues and expands in China, “decisively straying from the path toward socialism” would be the likely outcome.
China is one of the countries that was actively involved in creating the important, democratic principles in the post-WWII international political arena, including its role in the promulgation of the 1954 Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the 1955 Ten Principles of Bandung. For that reason, we sincerely call on China to take a course to foster the trust of the international community by abandoning its quest for great-power chauvinism and hegemonism which will negate those important principles.
9) Russia: Re-emergence of Stalin-era Hegemonism
Also grave is the turn toward great-power chauvinism and hegemonism seen in the Putin administration of Russia.
In March 2014, Russia annexed the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Special Status of Sevastopol, both belonging to Ukraine. These annexations are clearly acts of aggression which violate the principle of respecting the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of other states which the U.N. Charter and international law oblige nations to embrace. President Putin emphasized the historical ties between Crimea and Russia, and described the act as “the aspiration of the Russians, of historical Russia, to restore unity.” However, this is a lawless act which puts one’s attempt of expanding its own territory ahead of international law. President Putin also appalled the world by revealing his intent to prepare for the use of nuclear weapons in case of a possible conflict with the West following the annexation of Crimea.
In addition, Russia has supported the armed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and continued its blatant intervention against the internal affairs of the foreign state.
These flagrant acts denote the re-emergence of Soviet hegemonism once seen rampant during the Stalin era. The JCP strongly opposes the great-power chauvinism and hegemonism which totally undermines the world peace order based on the U.N. Charter.
Japan has to negotiate with Russia to resolve the Japan-Russia territorial dispute, and the Japanese government needs to confront and clearly address the hegemonistic territorial expansion committed by Stalin which violated the principle of “territorial non-expansion” in the post-WWII disposition. The JCP elaborated its position on this point in our proposal titled, “How we can break the stalemate in the Japan-Russia territorial negotiations: On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration,” issued in October 2016.
10) Great-Power Chauvinism/Hegemonism Doomed to Failure
While describing how the great-power chauvinism and hegemonism is playing out in the current international politics above, the future of that path is inevitably doomed to failure.
Firstly, this path has already experienced the verdict of failure delivered by history. The militaristic hegemon-seeking attempts provoked by the U.S., including its wars against Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq all ended in utter failure. The former Soviet Union collapsed while never rectifying the hegemonistic errors committed and continued since the Stalin era. Also ended in abject failure was the hegemonism and interventionism conducted by the Maoists faction in China attempting to control other communist parties and foreign popular movements by creating Maoist factions inside communist parties in other countries.
Secondly, the world of the 21st century is breaking away from the major-power-led world in which a small number of major powers dictate the course of world affairs. The world is now entering a new era in which each nation plays a role in world affairs on an equal footing with each other. This move is seen underpinning the epoch-making political development working toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons. No matter how massive in its military or economic power, any nation acting without the virtue of reason is doomed to isolation and demise.
The JCP is determined to make every effort to help eliminate great-power chauvinism and hegemonism from international politics in accordance with our independent, anti-interventionist spirit which the party has forged and held firmly.
11) Notable New Trends for Social Transformation in Europe and North America
In Europe and North America, a wide range of citizens’ movements against growing inequality and poverty has been developing in protest against the recklessness of global capitalism and the tyranny of multi-national and trans-national corporations and international financial capital which relentlessly prowl around the world searching for maximum profits. These popular movements have been joined by various kinds of campaigns such as the anti-Iraq-war struggle, and resulted in creating notable new paths seeking the eradication of inequality/poverty and the establishment of true peace in the pursuit of social transformation through elections.
The European Union (EU), in its early days following its foundation in 1993, played a positive role in building an economically sound society governed by rules by establishing directives and regulations demanding better work conditions, social security, and public services, by listening to the demands of workers, based on its integrating principle of a market economy tied to socioeconomic regulations instead of unrestricted market fundamentalism. However, especially after the international economic crisis in 2008, the EU led the implementation of extreme austerity measures including privatization, reduction of public employees, cutbacks in healthcare and education budgets, and adverse pension reforms etc., and increased inequality, poverty, recession, and unemployment have been the result.
Under those circumstances, political parties cooperating with popular movements opposing austerity policies won and advanced one after another in a series of elections in 2015, in Greece in January and September, Portugal in October, and Spain in December, resulting in the establishment of new governments in Greece and Portugal. In the UK, Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, the former chair of the “Stop the War Coalition” which played a leading role in the anti-Iraq-war movement, was elected as head of the Labor Party in September 2015. Younger generations protesting against austerity measures, growing unemployment, and increasing inequality and poverty, greatly contributed to achieving his victory.
As Europe has been experiencing the rise of right-wing anti-immigrant political trends with the onset of serious economic crises and the reckless nature of the globalization of capitalism, we need to pay close attention to the fact that the European region is at a crossroads facing a choice of social progress or reactionary retrogress.
In the U.S., Senator Bernie Sanders, who describes his own political position as a “democratic socialist” and who opposed the war against Iraq from the onset, put up a very good fight in the presidential primary election in the Democratic Party with his great appeal to younger generations. He called for “politics not for the 1% but for the 99%.” What was clearly revealed was the anger and frustration directed against the current status of U.S. politics and its enablers in the political establishment, and the desire for a fundamental change in politics.
The burning “Sanders fever” has its roots in the popular movements that have emerged historically in the U.S. One of those movements underlying the Sanders phenomenon is the 2011 “Occupy Wall Street” movement in which citizens called for the elimination of the greed and corruption of the top 1% of the wealthiest by appealing people to “occupy” Wall Street in New York City, the center of the U.S. financial industry. Though the movement apparently lasted only a few months, it has resurfaced in a different form and one manifestation was the widespread grass-roots support for the senator.
The other important underlying movement is the U.S. movement demanding the raise of the minimum wage to $15 per hour, started in the fall of 2012 with strikes demanding a minimum of $15 an hour wage conducted by workers at Walmart, an American multinational retail corporation, and fast food workers in New York City. The movement to fight for $15 not only has succeeded in obtaining wage increases at Walmart and other various workplaces but also has helped raise the minimum wage at the state level in New York and California, both mandating the minimum “$15 an hour wage.”
These new waves sweeping through the West has resonated with our growing cooperation among opposition parties and citizens’ movements in Japan as common aspirations to achieve social change by expanding solidarity with various new popular movements which seek to overcome poverty and inequality as well as to promote peace.
12) JCP’s Opposition-Party Diplomacy: Achievements and Challenges
It has been 18 years since the JCP embarked on its new opposition-party diplomacy in 1999 in which the JCP has endeavored to broaden its field of cooperation to include not only other communist parties abroad but also other foreign governments as well as non-communist political parties.
Our new diplomatic approach began in Asia. Though we had very limited relations with foreign governments and non-communist political parties in Asia 18 years ago, now we have significantly expanded our reach of interaction in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. In particular, the JCP recognizes the significance of the ICAPP, and has sent its delegation to all ICAPP General Assembly sessions since the 2nd GA meeting held in 2002, contributing to the development of this conference framework while expanding our interaction with various political parties. These activities have enriched and deepened our insights, resulting in new policy proposals such as “the Initiative for Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia.” Also remarkably, we have expanded our relations with the Muslim world based on our party principle of establishing dialogue and relations of coexistence with any nation or grouping of people willing to work together for common challenges. We will continue to expand our diplomatic activities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Through our diplomatic activities, the JCP, as a political party of the only nation which suffered atomic bombings, has continued to seek to realize “a world without nuclear weapons.” Collaborating with peace movements in Japan, the JCP made efforts to help move forward the international political agenda to achieve this goal on various occasions including the NPT Review Conference at the U.N. At the ICAPP meetings, our party constantly called for support for “a prompt start of negotiations to create a convention to prohibit nuclear weapons.” In addition, through our dialogue with other foreign government and political party officials as well as foreign diplomats assigned to Tokyo, we have put a high priority on the nuclear weapons issue and continued to exchange views with various foreign officials. We will continue with these activities in the face of the historic development in the international political arena moving toward “a world without nuclear weapons.”
Since the previous JCP Congress, the JCP has worked to expand our relations with political parties in Europe. While continuing to maintain our friendship with European communist/left parties including French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, and Czech, we have started communicating with progressive parties in Greece and Spain. We will drastically enhance our relations and solidarity with European and U.S. progressives as we are seeing a remarkable trend of people aspiring to implement progressive social change growing. It is of considerable importance for us to learn from each other and exchange our experience with each other in order to evaluate what works best in specific circumstances in advanced capitalist nations in promoting progressive movements.
III Defeat Abe’s LDP Government and Create a New Japan
13) Abe Government and Possibility to Defeat it
i) Destruction of Constitutionalism – State Authority Ignores the Constitution and Starts Running out of Control
The Abe government is revealing a remarkably dangerous nature which successive LDP governments did not have. It made a Cabinet decision to allow the SDF to exercise the right to collective self-defense in July 2014 and railroaded through the national security legislation in September 2015. These acts trampled on the principles of postwar constitutionalism which limits the use of authority, by either the government or the governing parties, based on the Constitution. Politics with no regard to constitutionalism becomes free from abiding by restrictions placed on the use of power and often leads to a hardline dictatorial rule. Therefore, it is an extremely serious state of affairs we are facing as the government under the Abe regime has begun running out of control and operating with complete disregard of the Constitution.
- - The Minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications once stated that she may order broadcasters to stop airing programs if the government judges them to be “against political neutrality.” The Cabinet defended her statement and openly started intimidating, intervening, and interfering with the press, which even successive LDP governments restrained themselves from attempting.
- - With the forcible enactment of the state secrecy law, expansion of items applied by the wiretapping law, the plan to introduce a conspiracy law, and other reactionary moves, the government is increasingly accelerating its move to keep people silent, infringe upon their right to freedom, and create a surveillance society in which people are deprived of their right to free expression.
- - A series of interventions into the content and autonomy of education by the authority have been made including intervention into civic and history education, imposing “moral” education on children, and manipulating the textbook screening system. The strengthening of the national achievement test regime, stricter control of teachers through teacher rating systems, and undemocratic reforms imposed on the education board system are also very serious issues that have emerged.
- - Forced construction of Osprey helipads in Takae in Okinawa’s Higashi Village, unilateral lawsuit against Okinawa while rejecting to have talks with the local government, and the unlawful resumption of the U.S. base construction in Henoko are just a few examples that Abe’s extraordinary hardline regime has been imposing on Okinawa. The present government is thoroughly trampling on local autonomy, democracy, and the dignity of Okinawans.
- - In elections, the ruling parties attempted to divert voters’ attention from many important issues. Only after the elections were over did they start revealing their true aim to “make a surprise attack” on the general public. During the second Abe government, three national elections took place. In each election, the government and the ruling parties touted the campaign as an “Abenomics election” in order to hide the real issues at stake from the general public. They repeated the same method of denying democracy and going ahead with unconstitutional policies after each election.
- - In the Extraordinary Diet session in 2016, the LDP, with the support of Komeito and Ishin no Kai, railroaded the three major bills through in defiance of the opposition of the general public, namely, the TPP ratification bill, the pension cut bill, and the Casino legalization bill. What became clear is the “moral hazard” of the Abe government which rampantly undermines constitutionalism and the principle of checks and balances of power.
- - The Abe-led LDP is no longer what the LDP used to be. As a major conservative party, it has lost any sense of generosity or self-control, and its ability to listen to and respond to any criticism from within or outside the party. It has turned into a grayish monochrome party disdaining diversity.
- - The true purpose of Abe’s disastrous government is generating a “breakaway from the postwar regime” which means to fundamentally remake the postwar Japan based on the pacifist Constitution. The “blueprint” of this move is the “LDP draft constitution.”
ii) Hoisting the Flag to Meet People’s Demands, Solidarity Can Win Battle
At the same time, through the four years of Abe’s runaway politics, it is also revealed the possibility that we can beat it if opposition parties and concerned citizens put up a common front to meet public demands and work together.
In 2014 in Okinawa, conservatives and progressives disregarding political boundaries created an “All Okinawa” framework in order to resist the construction of a new U.S. base. The Nago mayoral election (January), the Okinawa gubernatorial election (November), and the general election (December) all ended up in a victory of the All Okinawa. In the House of Councilors election in July 2016, the regions of Tohoku, Fukushima, and Okinawa where the contradictions of Abe’s runaway politics were intensively increasing, united opposition candidates achieved victories. In the Niigata gubernatorial election in October, whether to resume operations at the local nuclear power plant was a major issue, and the candidate supported by the opposition parties and concerned citizens won in a landslide victory. In these elections, the Abe government tactic of “avoidance of electoral issues” did not work, contradictions obvious to the general public became the points at issue, and a joint opposition-parities/citizens challenge brought about the victories.
Bounded by its tactic of “avoidance of issues,” the Abe government cannot be candid regarding what kind of political vision it has in mind. They have nothing that they willingly want to explain to the public. It does not even have any intent to explain to its supporters what it has in mind to accomplish. Such a government cannot build a nation-wide political foundation. Once collisions with the general public came out and its tactic of “hiding the real issues” from the public no longer worked, the government started to crumble. This points to the fragility of the present government.
The Abe government is the most reactionary regime among all the past LDP administrations after the war. If such a Cabinet exists even one more day, it will bring another day of harm to Japan. The JCP together with other opposition parties and concerned citizens will work to replace the Abe government and LDP rule with the creation of a new Japan.
14) “War-waging Nation Building” should not be Allowed - - JCP Proposal for Peace
i) Danger of National Security Legislation (aka War Laws): Cabinet Decision should be Withdrawn and War Laws should be Repealed
Under the new Japan-U.S. defense guidelines and the national security legislation which have fundamentally changed the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty into a global-scale military alliance, the attempt to resurrect a “war-waging nation” has been underway.
The national security legislation expands the SDF’s logistics support to U.S. troops in “combat areas”; enables the SDF to engage in security activities in regions where wars are ongoing; allows the SDF to use weapons to protect the U.S. military anywhere on the earth; and permits the SDF to exercise the collective self-defense right anywhere in the world. Therefore, these laws open the way for Japan to take part in wars waged by the U.S. anywhere in the world. This will completely change Japan’s postwar principle “not to kill anyone and for no one to be killed” which Japan as a pacifist nation has kept since the end of WWII. The Abe government has begun embarking on the full-fledge implementation of this security legislation. As some of the real risks, we emphasize the following points:
- - The government made a Cabinet decision to give new duties, including the issuance of weapons, to SDF personnel assigned to PKOs in South Sudan, associated with so-called “kaketsuke keigo” (missions to attempt a rescue of U.N or NGO personnel under attack) and the “joint protection of camps.” In South Sudan, since December 2013, the pro-president and the pro-vice president factions started a civil war. In July 2016, in the capital of Juba, a large scale armed conflict occurred. Despite this fact, the government used sophistry like, “A collision is occurring but it’s not a battle.” The government keeps refusing to admit to the serious situation there. With the new duties, the SDF in South Sudan may become the first Japanese soldiers in the post-WWII era “to kill or be killed.” In South Sudan, it is obvious that the “five principles to allow Japan’s participation in PKOs,” including a ceasefire agreement, which are supposed to be a precondition for a dispatch of the SDF, are not being met. The government should pull the SDF out of South Sudan and should shift its so-called international contribution to the enhancing of nonmilitary, humanitarian, civil assistance based on its war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.
- - The government admitted that the national security legislation allows the SDF to provide logistics support to the U.S.-led “Coalition of the Willing” in its anti-ISIL military operations. The government as an excuse said, “As a policy decision, we are not considering providing logistics support to military operations against ISIL.” However, the LDP government in wars against either Afghanistan or Iraq sent the SDF there as requested by the U.S. As for the anti-ISIL military operations as well, it is highly probable that Japan will not refuse a U.S. request to have the SDF engage in military operations.
- - The government did not deny the possibility that the SDF will engage in security activities based on the security legislation by participating in a setup like the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) which operated in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, about 13,000 troops are still participating in the “Resolute Support Mission (RSM),” the successor to the ISAF. Thus, the country is still in a state of war. Depending on future changes in the situation in Afghanistan, the United States may again ask Japan to dispatch the SDF there.
Now, a distinct possibility that Japan will actually exercise the right to collective defense is now emerging as Japan has concluded with the US the new Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) which accelerates Japan-US military consolidation and has implemented new guidelines for the use of weapons according to Article 95 of the SDF law.
The revocation of the unconstitutional security legislation and retraction of the Cabinet decision permitting Japan’s use of the collective self-defense right continue to be the biggest immediate challenge in the nation’s politics. We call on you to work to further increase the strength of public movements to tackle these challenges.
ii) Arms Buildup Budget, Arms Exports, Military-Academia Cooperation - - Building the Structure to Support ‘War-capable Country’ should not be Allowed
The Abe government declared its “National Security Strategy” (December 2013) in which SDF overseas dispatches are promoted. This strategy forms the blueprint for constructing a structure to fully support a “war-capable Japan.”
- - The Abe regime increased its military expenditures for four consecutive years. In the fiscal 2016 initial budget, the military budget exceeded five trillion yen for the first time in history. The dramatic increase in the purchase of arms for overseas deployment stood out. An expected increase in the following fiscal year to purchase even more weapons will inevitably cause further cuts in social welfare programs.
- - The nation’s three principles banning arms exports were lifted in April 2014. The “Strategy on Defense Production and Technological Bases” was formulated in June 2014. The Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency was established in October 2015. All these actions have led to promoting Japan’s arms exports. It is tantamount to declaring that Japan has become a formidable “merchant of death.” Japan has thus far fostered international trust by refraining from exporting weapons. However, Japan chose to start moving toward destroying its reputation by taking such actions.
- - The Defense Ministry in 2014 mapped out a policy of initiating research cooperation with universities and other research institutions. In the FY2017 budget request, the Defense Ministry requested 18 times more than the previous year’s budget to mobilize researchers to participate in arms development projects. Opposing this move, however, many scholars and researchers began standing up in movements saying, “By refusing to give a helping hand to war through military-academia cooperation, we will never allow the past mistake to be repeated.”
Along with the struggle to repeal the security legislation, strengthening movements in opposition to the building of a structure which supports a “war-capable nation” is now a pressing need.
iii) The Proposal for Peace #1: The Initiative for Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia
The JCP, in its 26th Congress Resolution, put forth an initiative for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia as our policy proposal for resolving disputes and tensions in the Northeast Asian region in a non-military and diplomatic manner. It comprises the following four points: conclude a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Northeast Asia which will function as rules for peace; resolve North Korea issues through Six Party Talks and develop this framework into one for the regional peace and stability; seek diplomatic resolutions on territorial disputes and conclude a code of conduct to prevent any dispute from escalating; and, formally express Japan’s remorse over its past war of aggression and colonial rule as the essential basis for the development of amity and cooperation in Northeast Asia.
In the past three years, we exchanged views on our initiative in meetings with officials in foreign governments, political parties, universities, and research institutes in other Asian countries, and our proposal received favorable responses. A researcher at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Malaysia commented on our proposal as being “concrete” while pointing out that the institute has started to study about a possible Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Northeast Asia. We will continue our efforts to promote dialogue in order to garner wide-spread support inside and outside Japan for our proposal.
How should the international community deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development programs? In the JCP Executive Committee Report adopted at the 6th Central Committee Plenum in September 2016, the JCP raised two basic points: all parties concerned must persevere in seeking a peaceful resolution through dialogue without being caught in a dangerous vicious cycle in which military measures invite further military countermeasures; and the international community should make serious efforts to take concrete steps to create “a world without nuclear weapons.”
Given that the international community has yet to succeed in stopping North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development programs despite various ongoing efforts, it is of importance to pressure North Korea to restrict and abandon its nuclear weapons/missile programs by hammering out a new, more effective diplomatic approach as well as implementing sanctions already in place against the country more strictly with the more effective cooperation of the international community, including, in particular, China.
It is important to make use of the Joint Statement in the Six Party Talks (September 2005) and the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration (September 2002), and seek a comprehensive settlement of various outstanding problems including North Korea’s nuclear weapons/missile programs, abduction issues, and historical issues.
iv) The Proposal for Peace #2: Five Proposals for Resolving Global Issues
In order to resolve pressing global issues, the JCP proposes that Japan, based on Article 9 of the Constitution, make efforts in line with the following points:
- - Eliminating International Terrorism. A war cannot eradicate terrorism, and it often initiates a vicious cycle of terrorism and war. Efforts to eliminate international terrorism should follow three principles: 1) take counter-terrorism measures through the initiative of the U.N., in a consistent way with the UN Charter, international law, international humanitarian law, and fundamental human rights, mainly in the pursuit of “bringing justice through legal procedures.” And, ensure and promote international efforts to prevent terrorist organizations from obtaining funds, new members, and weapons; 2) eliminate the source of terrorism by taking measures which include reducing poverty, improving education, and resolving regional conflicts peacefully; and, 3) strictly refrain from linking terrorism to a particular religion or worldview, and work hard to establish dialogue as well as relations of coexistence among parties involved.
- - Reducing poverty. At present, 836 million people in the world are living in a state of extreme poverty, and 795 million are suffering chronic hunger according to the UN Development Program. World leaders gathered at a U.N. summit meeting in September 2015 and committed themselves to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. The Japanese government should expand its Official Development Assistance program which was originally designed to help recipient countries on the path to independent and autonomous development. The focus of the assistance should be to support basic needs in fields such as food, health, and education, and Japan should work to increase the amount of its ODA to 0.7% of its gross national income.
- - Aiding refugees. The number of refugees and internally displaced persons in total reached 65.3 million, the highest number since the end of World War II. In 2015, Japan received 7,586 refugee applications, up by 50% from the previous year, but approved only 27 of them. The Japanese government should change its overly narrow definition of “refugee,” and accept more refugees and provide them with appropriate assistance including livelihood support and access to appropriate educational programs.
- - Addressing humanitarian crises. The international community has been confronting challenges on how to address humanitarian crises caused by civil wars or other reasons. The nature of UN Peace Keeping Operations has changed from what it used to be, and today’s PKOs are mainly aimed at protecting civilians with the use of armed forces, so Japan with its Article 9 of the Constitution should not be allowed to take part in such missions. Japan should stop dispatching its Self-Defense Force units to PKO missions, and instead substantially increase non-military, humanitarian aid and support.
In addition, we urgently need to deal with climate change. In December 2015, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) adopted the “Paris Agreement”, a new framework to combat global warming, involving all 196 countries and regions in the world, starting in 2020. In Japan, the Abe government set a green-house gas reduction target of an 18%-cut from the 1990 level by 2030, but this is totally insufficient for the world’s 5th largest green-house gas emitter. The target should be replaced by a much more ambitious one. The current policy to add more coal-fueled thermal power plants, which aims to reduce costs but inevitably increases CO2 emission, should be put to an end and changed to a new energy policy which aims to vigorously promote renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on nuclear power generation.
15) Implement Reforms to Achieve Economic Democracy in Order to Address Issues of Economic Disparity and Poverty
i) Stalemate and Failure of “Abenomics”
It has been four years since the Abe government introduced its economic policy package dubbed “Abenomics.” It has become clear that the policy has come to a deadlock and failed.
Under the slogan of creating “the best business-friendly country in the world,” thanks to the extreme monetary easing policy by the Bank of Japan and the 4-trillion-yen in corporate tax cuts in three years, large corporations posted record high profits for three straight years, and the major stockholders and other extremely wealthy people have greatly benefited.
On the other hand, workers’ annual wages went down by 190,000 yen in real terms in the past four years, and household spending shrank for 15 consecutive months. The BOJ’s “new dimension” monetary relaxation policy negatively affected the economy, which forced the bank to review the policy.
ii) Tackling Economic Disparity, Poverty, and a Shrinking Middle Class should be the Most Important Target of National Economic Policies
More alarmingly, “Abenomics” is worsening the rates of disparity and poverty, and making economic and social crises even more serious.
Under the successive Liberal Democratic Party-led governments, with the controversial implementation of the neoliberal economic policies especially after the late 1990s, Japan has seen growing economic disparities and poverty in terms of income and assets and this has become one of the most serious problems affecting Japan’s economy and society. The problem of economic disparities would be better understood if broken down into three segments: concentration of wealth among the richest; impoverishment of the middle-class; and expansion of the poor.
- - The richest, a very limited percentage of the population, have become even richer. Among the “super-rich” who have a net financial asset of 500 million yen or more, the average value of their assets doubled from 630 million yen in 1997 to 1.35 billion yen in 2013. Large shareholders made large profits from dividend income and capital gains thanks to economic policies that aim to “push up stock prices.”
- - As people’s income is shrinking in general, the middle-class is losing ground. Workers’ average annual wage decreased by 556,000 yen from its peak in 1997. Among salaried workers, the numbers of those who annually earn 20 million yen or more and those who earn less than 5 million yen are going up, but, by contrast, the numbers of those who earn between 5-10 million yen are decreasing. Due to the slashing of the regular work force in large corporations and increasing non-regular employment as a whole, the number of low-wage workers grows while the middle-class shrinks.
- - With more and more people suffering economic difficulties, Japan has become one of the most poverty-prone countries among developed nations. Japan’s poverty rate increased from 14.6% in 1997 to 16.1% in 2012, the 6th highest among the 34 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The child poverty rate in Japan went up from 13.4% to 16.3%, which indicates a serious situation in which poverty is being passed down from parents to children. The percentage of the working poor households, whose incomes are less than public assistance benefits, doubled from 4.2% to 9.7% of working households. The share of households with two or more family members that have no savings increased threefold to 30.9% between 1997 and 2015.
Super-rich people are getting even richer while ordinary people’s income level is declining. The middle class is becoming impoverished and more and more people are falling into poverty. These are the stark economic realities in Japan today. Poverty is no longer something unusual, and more and more people face a high risk of suffering poverty if they lose a job because of a bankruptcy at their workplace, lay-offs, company restructuring, illness, or a need to take care of their old parents. In Japanese society, no one, except the very rich, is free from the risk of sliding down the economic ladder to the bottom.
The most important target of national economic policies should be to cope with the growth of poverty, the widening of economic disparity, and the increasing impoverishment of the middle class. To address these problems seriously is also essential in order to ensure a sustainable development of the Japanese society and economy.
From the viewpoint of the need to establish economic democracy which attaches importance to poverty and disparity issues, the JCP proposes four reforms.
iii) First Proposal: Tax Reform-“Tax Based on the Ability to Pay”
A higher consumption tax rate not only slows down the economy but also worsens the rate of the growth of poverty and the widening of economic gaps. With the low-income population growing, it is impossible to impose additional tax burdens on low-income people. On the other hand, the wealthy and large corporations have amassed a huge amount of wealth, and have the ability to shoulder heavier tax burdens.
- - The government should cancel its plan to increase the consumption tax rate to 10%, and work to change its tax system into one without relying on the regressive consumption tax.
- - The corporate tax burden rate for large corporations stands at only 12%, lower than the 19% for small-and medium- sized corporations (Fiscal Year 2014). This disparity is due to preferential tax measures that are mainly utilized by large businesses. The government should review these preferential treatments so that large corporations pay a fair share of tax burdens, at least at the same rate as smaller companies.
- - The government imposes a relatively low tax rate on stock trade income which makes up a large part of the income of wealthy people. As a result, wealthy people start paying less tax as they exceed the income threshold of around 100 million yen. The government should review the current tax system favoring affluent shareholders, have the wealthy shoulder a fair share of tax burdens, and implement a more progressive income tax system.
- - The Japanese government should implement legislative measures to promote international cooperation in order to prevent large corporations and the wealthy from evading taxes with the use of tax havens. Japan needs to help put a halt to the world-wide race for lower corporate tax rates, and work to increase the tax rates to a reasonable level through international coordination.
iv) Second Proposal: Reform in the Use of Taxpayers’ Money- Centering on Social Security, Youth, and Child-Rearing
The amount of public social spending per capita in Japan is less than 90% of that in the U.S., 80% of that in Germany, and 70% of that in France (2013). The percentage of higher education costs covered by public expenditures is the second lowest among the OECD countries. It is necessary to drastically slash spending on a military build-up and large scale public works projects and instead allocate more of the budget to social welfare programs, education, and child-rearing support in order to reduce the ever growing economic gaps and rates of poverty.
- - The Abe government’s policy to curb the growth of social security expenses through implementing various measures including an increase in medical fee payments, cuts in public pension benefits, reduction in nursing-care services, and reduction in livelihood protection benefits, is threatening people’s right to live, intensifying their anxieties for the future, and worsening poverty and disparity. Social security spending should not be reduced but must be increased.
- - We are facing a serious situation in which poverty and economic inequality is being passed down from parents to children partly because many students are giving up on higher education due to high tuitions while many others who chose to use public student loan programs are having trouble paying off their debts. In order to open up a future for youth, the government should provide more financial support for them by such means as halving university tuitions and creating pubic scholarship programs with no requirement for repayment.
- - Regarding the shortage of nursery schools, the Abe government proposes to build more such facilities so that a total of an additional 500,000 children will be able to receive childcare services. However, this figure includes targets set by local governments, and the central government’s own target is set at only 50,000 of the 500,000 children with the introduction of corporate-run nursery schools. The JCP proposes to secure authorized nursery schools and childcare centers for an additional 300,000 children and drastically improve the working conditions of childcare workers including raising their wages.
- - The government should be responsible for improving the education system, including making class sizes smaller, reducing tuition fees, and drastically increasing the education budget. It also needs to improve the working conditions of teachers by reversing the trend of hiring more teachers with non-regular worker status. The government should put more emphasis on basic research at universities and academic institutions and develop and make use of science and technology in the interests of the general public.
v) Third Proposal: Workstyle Reform- Create Society where Workers are not Forced to Work More than Eight Hours a Day to Have a Decent Level of Living
Though the Abe government claims that it is carrying out workstyle reforms in line with workers’ demands, what the government is actually doing is implementing anti-worker reforms: it adversely revised the Worker Dispatch Law which led to an increase in low-wage, unstable, “disposable” employees, and it seeks to enact the so-called “zero-overtime pay” bill. The JCP opposes pro-corporate anti-worker policies which are falsely labeled “worker-friendly,” and continue to work to create rules to protect workers’ dignity and pave the way for a society free from poverty and inequality.
- - Tighter regulations on long working hours. The government should work to help eliminate long working hours to prevent death from overwork by putting a legal limit on overtime hours and ensuring that workers can have sufficiently long rest periods between the end of a work day and the beginning of the next. The “zero-overtime pay” bill should be abandoned. The JCP will make efforts to eliminate overtime without pay and regulate so-called “black corporations” which abusively exploit employees. We oppose introducing a system to allow businesses to fire workers easily when they fork out some money as compensation, and make efforts to end easy layoff practices.
- - In order to help more non-regular workers obtain regular worker status, the Worker Dispatch Law should be revised so that employers will be allowed to use temporary dispatched workers only for temporary jobs. In order to help eliminate unfair disparities, the principles of “equal treatment” and “equal pay for equal work” should be included in the Labor Standards Law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, the Part-time Work Law, and the Worker Dispatch Law.
- - Large corporations, including banks and securities companies, have accumulated a total of 386 trillion yen in internal reserves. The JCP will work to pressure these companies to use a part of the accumulated money to raise their employees’ salaries. The minimum hourly wage should be increased to 1,000 yen without delay and eventually to 1,500 yen. In order to achieve this, the government should provide small- and medium- sized companies with support measures such as subsidy programs for personnel expenses and reductions in social insurance premium. The JCP will work to solve the problem of the increase in low-wage public service workers by taking measures such as establishing a law and ordinances to this effect.
vi) Fourth Proposal: Industrial Structure Reform to Reduce Disparities between Large-sized and Small-, Mid-sized Companies and between Urban and Rural Areas
There are large wage disparities between bigger and smaller companies. Wage levels in middle-sized companies (with 30-99 employees) and small-sized companies are around 60% and 50% of that in large-sized companies.
Economic disparities between urban and rural areas are also widening, and local economies in many rural areas are increasingly impoverished. This is one of the most pressing problems in Japan’s society and economy. Since entering into 2000s, gross agricultural output has decreased by 7.3% and farmers’ incomes have gone down at a much faster rate, by 17.3%. Primary industries and small- and medium-sized businesses are the foundation of local economies. The continuing decline in these industries is bringing about severe difficulties in related industries including transportation, commerce, and processing, resulting in the acceleration of the decline of local economies.
- - Small- and medium-sized businesses should be regarded as “the main pillar of the Japanese economy.” The government needs to promote these business sectors through two approaches: one is to protect smaller businesses from the demands and dictates of large corporations and major financial institutions, and the other is to provide local businesses with various support measures in regard to product development, sales promotion, and technical support.
- - The government should drastically step up measures to provide price guarantees for agricultural products and compensate farmers’ income shortfalls so that they can survive as farmers and farm families. The government should also assist the forestry industry by encouraging the use of domestic timber in public buildings as well as to assist the fishery industry through stabilization of fish prices and improvement in resource management. A higher food self-sufficiency rate should be one of the major targets in Japan’s industrial policies.
- - Promotion measures for local economies need to be changed from a “welcome enterprise” approach to a “spontaneous development” approach which will help local industries. The focus of public works spending should be shifted from large-scale development projects to small-scale community-based projects. The government needs to increasingly promote a rapid development of the renewable energy sector.
- - The closure of local railway businesses has worsened the situation in already deteriorated local economies. On the other hand, the Maglev train project which is underway without serious consideration in regard to cost-performance and environmental impact is enjoying a huge investment of 9 trillion yen as the government is also prepared to pour 3 trillion yen into the Central Japan Railway Company as financial support. We demand the cancelation of the Maglev train project. The government should be responsible for ensuring access to public transportation in local areas including maintaining the local railways.
- - The government should eliminate regional gaps in minimum wages and establish a national minimum wage system.
vii) Political Initiative is Needed to Protect People’s Lives and Property from Natural Disasters
Japan experienced a series of natural disasters such as the serial earthquakes in Kumamoto and numerous typhoons in addition to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The government should fulfill its responsibility to protect the lives and property of citizens.
- - It is important to create a society where people can believe that they will be able to restore their livelihoods and businesses even if hit by a major disaster. The JCP strongly demands that the Disaster-Victim Relief Law be amended to increase the amount of financial support for families whose houses were completely destroyed by natural disasters from the current three million yen to five million yen. In addition, the law should provide support to those whose houses were partially destroyed. Regarding important players in local economies such as small- and medium-sized enterprises in commerce, agriculture, fishery and forestry, the government should significantly increase support for efforts to restore their businesses, including direct financial support for reconstruction of their facilities.
- - The government needs to strengthen the disaster-preparedness of local communities by such means as implementation of improvements and safety checks in related facilities, enhancement of local-level efforts for disaster readiness centering on fire stations and local residents, tightening of regulations on questionable development projects, and provide support for earthquake-proofing of private houses. Daily efforts to build a more comprehensive network of medical and welfare services will be also important for the security of life in cases of emergency.
- - The emphasis on public works should be shifted from large-scale projects to renovation of and earthquake-proofing of decrepit buildings. The government should stop carrying out large-scale projects under the pretext of reconstruction efforts.
viii) Condemn the Passing of TPP Ratification Bill and Create Rules on Trade and Investment to Protect Economic Sovereignty and People’s Lives
The government and the ruling coalition railroaded the TPP ratification bill through the Diet in defiance of the opposition of the general public even though the TPP is now unlikely to take effect with the declaration of the departure from the TPP by US President-elect Trump. This move shows that Abe’s reckless insistence on questionable economic policies lost sight of what is taking place in world affairs. At the same time, the rushed ratification of the TPP by the Abe coalition government is a very foolish move because it has put Japan in a position that makes it vulnerable to pressure from the U.S. as Mr. Trump has clearly shown his intention to renew trade deals on a bilateral basis to gain more concessions from counterparts. Japan’s concessions made during the TPP negotiations, including removing tariffs on agricultural products, eliminating non-tariff barriers in various fields such as food safety, medical systems, employment, government procurement and intellectual property protection, are all viewed as commitments made by Japan to the world, and it is highly likely that the U.S. may try to use them as negotiating advantages over Japan.
We will make efforts to conduct struggles against a possible new phase of unfair Japan-U.S. trade negotiations in which the Japanese government is yet again forced to dilute its economic sovereignty to further the interests of the US and multinational corporations. The question raised now is not whether to support “free trade” or “protectionism.” The problem is whether you allow the creation of rules to help maximize the profits of multinationals under the name of “free trade” or establish rules of fair and just trade and investment to protect people’s lives by mutually respecting economic sovereignty of each country.
16) Block Reactivation of Nuclear Power Plants and Create a Japan Free from Nuclear Power
The Abe government plans to keep nuclear power generation as the nation’s “baseload electricity source,” and is pushing forward with the move to restart idled nuclear reactors. The reactivation of nuclear power plants is a major point at issue in the nation’s political arena. The government’s attempt to resume NPP operations has come to a deadlock and is causing various problems.
- - The Abe government’s push for NPP reactivation is facing opposition from the general public. In the recently-held gubernatorial elections in the NPP-hosting prefectures of Kagoshima and Niigata with the restart of NPPs being the most contentious issue, anti-nuke candidates backed by opposition parties and citizens were elected. Results of various opinion polls all show that the majority of respondents are opposed to the reactivation of NPPs. After experiencing the horrific 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown, Japanese overwhelmingly oppose the restart of NPPs.
- - Nearly six years have passed since the nuclear meltdown accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Yet the disaster is far from being contained and as many as 81,000 people are still living their lives as evacuees. The Abe government is lifting the evacuation orders, terminating compensation payments to disaster victims, and leaving the decontamination efforts unfinished, which adds even more suffering for evacuees. This cold-hearted stance of the government is worsening the already serious problems and provoking widespread public anger.
- - The Abe government proclaims that Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority will give the green light to the reactivation of NPPs only after they meet the “world’s strictest” nuclear safety standards. However, in reality, Japan’s standards are far laxer than those of the EU in terms of measures dealing with serious nuclear accidents, and there are problems in Japan’s guidelines regarding the danger of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Abe government is trying to revive the “nuclear safety myth.” This is another problem stemming from the government’s reckless move to continue to rely on nuclear power plants.
- - For nearly two years from September 2013 to August 2015, no nuclear reactor was operating in Japan. This experience has helped form a national consensus that Japan can do without NPPs. Nuclear power is not necessary to meet Japan’s energy demand.
- - The government and ruling coalition had no option but to decommission the fast breeder reactor “Monju.” This means not only the failure of the nuclear fuel cycle program but also the collapse of the government policy to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. If Japan’s nuclear power plants resume operations, all storage pools at all NPPs will be filled with spent nuclear fuel within only six years according to projections. The lack of finding a final solution to store nuclear waste also underscores the doomed future of the policy to put offline reactors back online.
- - NPPs will impose huge economic burdens on the general public into the indefinite future. The government has doubled the estimated cost of dealing with the Fukushima plant accident to 21.5 trillion yen and is attempting to put the additional burden on ordinary people through higher taxes and higher electricity fees. On the other hand, shareholders of TEPCO and financial institutions who lent money to TEPCO have not been held accountable in any way. NPPs require a considerable amount of money to decommission existing NPPs nationwide in addition to the costs associated with the disposal of nuclear waste. Future generations will have to shoulder the burden of paying for the astronomical costs.
The Japanese government should give up its attempt to reactivate NPPs and instead take a decisive step forward to create a Japan without nuclear power plants. The JCP demands that the nuclear fuel cycle program be abandoned without delay and that Japan refrain from exporting nuclear power generation technologies.
Regarding the support to the disaster-stricken people of the Fukushima plant accident, the JCP strongly demands that the government and TEPCO bear responsibility to help the people affected to fully reconstruct and restore their livelihoods without discrimination and refrain from implementing cuts in assistance or compensation.
It is of great importance to rapidly promote renewable energy sources in parallel with taking measures toward creating a NPP-free Japan. The JCP proposes that 40% of electricity demand should be met by renewable energy sources by 2030. The government should adopt this target and implement measures to achieve this with due consideration to local environments. To meet this aim is the minimum step necessary for Japan to make use of the advances that have been made in the field of sustainable energy technologies as other advanced nations do.
These measures will protect people’s lives and security, improve the country’s energy self-sufficiency rate, and lead to sustainable economic growth.
17) Issues of US Bases in Okinawa and Other Prefectures – Appeal for Nation-wide Solidarity
i) US Marine Bases in Okinawa—Move toward an Enhanced and Permanent Hub for ‘Rapid Strikes’ Worldwide
The Abe administration is pushing ahead with the construction of U.S. military facilities in Okinawa, including a new base in the Henoko district in Nago City, Osprey helipads in the Takae district in Higashi Village, and landing pads for F-35 fighter jets at Iejima Airport, using extremely highhanded measures. What role will these facility play? What does the U.S. intend to do in Okinawa?
-- The construction of a new U.S. base in Henoko is far from the claimed “relocation” of the U.S. Futenma base. It is the construction of a huge, state-of-the-art base which supposedly has a useful life-span of 200 years, two 1,800-meter runways, and a military port for amphibious assault ships. The base will be operated in combination with Camp Schwab and the adjoining Henoko Ordnance Ammunition Depot and Camp Hansen. Its rapid deployment function will be drastically enhanced.
-- The enhancement of the base function at the Takae district will increase the number of Osprey training drills. An expansion of the base facility will provide another training facility for the F-35 aircraft. Along with U.S. Marine units, Ospreys and F-35s will be loaded onto amphibious warships at the new Henoko base and dispatched abroad.
What is happening in Okinawa goes against the promise to “cut base burdens.” The U.S. military intends to change Marine bases in Okinawa to “strategic launch pads (Marine Corps Installations Pacific Strategic Vision 2025)” through the construction and enhancement of the bases in Henoko, Takae, and Iejima, which means that they will be drastically improved and permanently used as a major hub for U.S. “Rapid Strikes” worldwide.
In December 2016, a US Marine Osprey crashed offshore of Nago city. Following this, a senior officer of the US Forces in charge of Okinawa made insulting remarks displaying a “colonialist mentality” and Japanese authorities have been left out of the investigation into the cause of the crash. This clearly revealed the subordinate status of Japan and caused anger in Okinawa as well as on mainland Japan. Although the US Forces failed to identify the cause of the crash and the Japanese authorities have no relevant information of their own, the Japanese government expressed its “understanding” of the need to restart Osprey training flights. This attitude is shameful for prioritizing the Japan-US alliance over the safety of people in Okinawa as well as the rest of Japan.
In a series of elections from the Nago City mayoral election and the Okinawa gubernatorial election to the Lower House elections (2014) and the Upper House elections (2016), voters repeatedly and decisively voted “No” to the new base construction. It is unacceptable for a democratic nation to forcibly build new bases and strengthen base capabilities by trampling on Okinawans’ will.
ii) Okinawa Base Enhancement Integral to Base Enhancement Nationwide
The enhancement of military bases in Okinawa is an integral part of the base enhancement program throughout Japan.
-- The deployment of the US Marine Ospreys is a serious problem affecting all of Japan. U.S. Marine Ospreys deployed in Okinawa are conducting flight training drills at U.S. bases in Tokyo (Yokota base), Kanagawa (Atsugi base), Shizuoka (Camp Fuji), Yamaguchi (Iwakuni base) and other U.S. facilities on mainland Japan. At the JSDF Kisarazu base in Chiba, a maintenance facility for Ospreys has been built for use by the SDF as well as the U.S. military. In addition, in 2017, at the Yokota base, the U.S. Air Force will deploy 10 Ospreys which will perform special ops missions. The Japanese government is attempting to deploy SDF Ospreys at the Saga civil airport in Kyushu. Including the number of Ospreys the SDF decided to deploy, 50 Ospreys in total will be training all over Japan.
-- In the U.S. Yokosuka base in Kanagawa, following the deployment of the new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, state-of-the-art Aegis-equipped combat vessels have been deployed there.
-- At the U.S. Iwakuni base, 16 F-35 fighter jets will be deployed there in January 2017. These are the aircraft which will conduct flight training exercises at Iejima in Okinawa. Some of the F-35s will be on an amphibious assault ship homeported at the US Sasebo base to be dispatched abroad on short notice. About 60 carrier-based aircraft will also be moved to the Iwakuni base in 2017. As a result, the base will become the largest U.S. airbase in East Asia with about 130 military combat aircraft.
Thus, U.S. bases in Japan are being upgraded to become major strongholds of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. carrier strike group for their mission to “rapidly deploy” worldwide.
What is being called into question by the general public is whether to allow the U.S. military to keep its rapid deployment bases in Japan for its wars. There is no country in the world which allows the presence of military bases for both the U.S. Marine Corps and of a carrier strike group. This is a serious matter concerning the role Japan intends to play in the world. In this context, the adoption of a resolution calling for the “withdrawal of the U.S. Marine Corps” by the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly is significant for getting at the crux of the problem. We call for developing and strengthening the struggles against any move to upgrade and enhance the functions of strengthen U.S. bases in Japan in solidarity with people both in Okinawa and on mainland Japan.
18) Defend the Constitution and Create a Japan Which Lives up to the Ideal of the Constitution
i) Two Fatal Weak Points in the Abe Government’s Attempt to Impose Constitutional Revision
As a result of the 2016 House of Councilors election, the constitutional revisionists has occupied two-thirds of the seats in the House in addition to the House of Representatives. The danger in this development must be taken seriously into account. At the same time, it is important to recognize two fatal weak points in the Abe administration’s attempt to revise the Constitution, and develop a movement to block the move for constitutional revision under the Abe administration.
First is that the Abe administration is unable to present any concrete and convincing reason on the need to change the current Constitution.
After the inauguration of the second Abe administration, Prime Minister Abe emphasized the need to make constitutional revision less difficult by first changing Article 96 which sets requirements for initiating constitutional revision. However, receiving fierce public criticism for “going against constitutionalism,” this move was thwarted. Then, the attempt to introduce “emergency clauses” came next, but this attempt is not faring as the dangerous nature of these clauses was widely understood by the general public.
It is no secret that the main aim of the Abe government’s constitutional revision quest is to change Article 9 in order to turn Japan legally into a “war-fighting nation.” However, fearing public criticism, they are unable to explicitly declare their “true aim.” Whenever they attempted to propose a constitutional revision using whatever excuse, it revealed that they just want to revise the Constitution at any cost, expressing their disrespect to the current Constitution, and still failing to present any convincing reason for changing the Constitution.
Second is that the LDP’s draft constitution clearly reveals a total denial of constitutionalism.
The “LDP draft constitution” removes Clause 2 of Article 9 and authorizes the creation of a “National Defense Force” without restrictions on the use of arms abroad. The emergency clause incorporated into the draft will enable the government to declare a de facto state of martial law in which the Cabinet takes over the legislative power and suspends people’s fundamental human rights following the prime minister’s declaration of “a state of emergency.”
The LDP draft changes the wording of Article 13, “[All of the people shall be] respected as individuals” to “respected as a human,” by eliminating the fundamental constitutional principle of “individual dignity.” The LDP draft introduces a mechanism which would suppress fundamental human rights under the name of the maintenance of the “public order.” The LDP draft deletes the current Article 97 which upholds basic human rights “for all time inviolate.” This proposed constitution will lead to the complete denial of constitutionalism by which “government power is bound by a constitution,” which means the proposed new constitution will not function as a constitution placing restraints on power and control.
The JCP, in collaboration with other opposition parties and popular movements, will work hard to foil the Abe government’s attempt to revise the Constitution by pointing to and severely criticizing the fatal weaknesses.
ii) The Current Japanese Constitution is Best Alternative – Establish Policies Living up to the Ideals of the Constitution
The Japanese Constitution’s Article 9 contains the world’s most advanced pacifist provision as well as 30 other progressive human rights provisions. “Defend all the provisions of the Constitution, including the preamble, and in particular strive to have provisions of peace and democracy fully implemented” is the JCP’s stance. Regarding human rights provisions, the following points are important.
-- “Respect of individual” and “individual dignity” guaranteed under Article 13 is how state power is limited under constitutionalism. The JCP will seek a society where “individual dignity” is guaranteed in politics, the economy, education, culture, civil society, and all other fields.
--The freedom of thought and conscience, the freedom of expression, and the academic freedom guaranteed under Articles 19, 21, and 23 are now being threatened by the Abe administration. The JCP will seek to help create a society where civil liberties, including the religious liberty guaranteed under Article 20, are secured.
--Articles 14, 24, and 44 ensure “gender equality” in social and domestic life as well as in the political arena. The JCP will work hard to eliminate discrimination against women in the political, economic, and social arenas. Article 24 stipulates that any legislation should be enacted “from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.” The JCP will work to realize a prompt removal of discriminatory provisions from civil laws, and introduce a separate surname system. Japan has repeatedly received severe criticisms on the issue of discrimination against women from various international organizations, including the U.N. committee delegated to work on this issue. However, the issue has been ignored and been left largely untouched. The significance of the growth of the movement to eradicate gender discrimination is encouraging. In addition, based on “equality under the law” under Article 14, the JCP will work hard to help eliminate discrimination and prejudice in regard to sexual orientation and protect the rights of all citizens.
--Article 25 guarantees the people’s right to live in dignity and requires the improvement of welfare under state responsibility. The government policy of cutting cost of living adjustments in welfare payments goes against this article. The JCP will seek to realize social welfare and minimum wage systems ensuring the right to live in dignity. The JCP will also make utmost efforts to protect the life, rights and dignity of the disabled.
--Article 26 guarantees the right to education. The JCP will work to help correct distortions in education, such as “extremely competition-driven education environment,” “government interference in freedom of education,” and “unusually high tuition fees,” and realize a democratic education system aiming at a “perfection of character” to encourage each child to make full use of their potential. The JCP will also work to protect children’s rights, including the rights to a meaningful education based on a series of recommendations made by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Child.
-- Article 27 ensures the “people’s right to work” and stipulates that standards regarding working conditions such as work hours will be addressed by law. The JCP will work to help put an end to the increase in low-paying, unstable non-regular jobs and to the current situation where no legal regulations on overtime exists, and instead create decent work rules. We will protect and guarantee fully the rights Article 28 ensures including the rights to organizing, collective bargaining and striking.
-- Articles 31 to 40 guarantee personal liberty and stipulate due process in criminal procedures. We will work to create a society free of false charges by drastically reforming the criminal justice system including the introduction of a mandatory video recording of interrogations and full disclosure of evidence.
-- Corporate and organizational donations which have manipulated politics using the power of money and violated the people’s sovereign rights should be fully prohibited. The unconstitutional system to subsidize political parties which tramples on the freedom of thought should be abolished. The single-seat constituency election system which distorts the public will in favor of major political parties should be changed to one centering on the proportional representation system.
What should be changed is not the Constitution but the current political situation which basically ignores the supreme law. The JCP will do its utmost to help create a Japan which lives up to all the progressive articles in the Japanese Constitution which we are proud of.
19) Reactionary Move to Justify and Glorify War of Aggression as well as the Promotion of Xenophobia is Unacceptable
Prime Minister Abe in August 2015 issued a statement (“Abe Statement”) on the occasion of the 70th anniversary commemorating the end of World War II. In the “Abe Statement,” words such as “invasion,” “colonial rule,” “remorse,” and “apology” are sprinkled throughout. However, it falls far short of admitting that Japan carried out its “colonial rule and war” by “making a mistake in national policy,” which formed the basis of the official historical recognition in the 1995 “Prime Minister Murayama Statement.” Although the prime minister included the words “remorse” and “apology” in the statement, he quoted these words from past governments’ statements without endorsing them as reflecting his own position. This clearly reveals his deceptiveness. The statement even glorifies the Japan-Russia war which led to Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula through violence and suppression. This is an outrageous distortion of history and an unjustifiable justification of Japan’s colonial rule.
The Abe Statement de facto denies the position expressed in the Murayama Statement issued on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war’s end. It is unacceptable to turn the Murayama Statement into a thing of the past by replacing it with the Abe Statement and bring about serious setbacks and changes in the official historical recognition by the Japanese government of past wrongs committed. The JCP demands that the Japanese government continue maintaining its historical recognition of guilt based on the core of the Murayama Statement and act in line with the spirit of it.
What is needed to fully understand the implications in the Abe Statement is the fact that the Abe administration is formed of and supported by far-right forces which justify and glorify the past wars of aggression and distorts history. It must be kept in mind that Prime Minister Abe and most of his Cabinet members are affiliated with parliamentary groups supportive of Japan’s largest rightist organization, Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference). Abe Cabinet members repeatedly visit the Yasukuni Shrine. In addition, Prime Minister Abe continues to offer sacred trees and to pay for a ritual sprig to place at the shrine. Such acts are totally unacceptable as they lend support to the claim that Japan’s war of aggression was actually a “beautiful” thing.
Regarding the issue of the Japanese military’s “comfort women” system, in December 2015, Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers reached an agreement. However, this agreement is just a starting point to realize a true resolution of the issue. Only when all former “comfort women” as victims of this system regain their human dignity, a true settlement will be achieved. The Japanese government should make earnest efforts in collaboration with its South Korean counterpart. The 1993 “Kono Statement,” which admits to the Japanese military’s involvement and acts of coercion in the “comfort women” system, emphasizes the determination “never to repeat the same mistake by forever engraving such issues in our memories through the study and teaching of history.” It is the nation’s responsibility to pass on the historical facts to our children. Recently, the JCP has thoroughly criticized the backlash that emerged in the Japanese military’s “comfort women” issue and made public the undisputed historical facts in our statements including “the Falsification of History Impermissible” issued in March 2014. We will continue our efforts to struggle against the move to distort historical facts.
It is also alarming that the Abe government’s reactionary stance toward history has given a boost to right-wing and xenophobic forces in Japan. In recent years, hate speech campaigns and demonstrations against Korean residents in Japan and Chinese have frequently occurred. In order to eliminate hate speech which fuel acts of racial discrimination, it is necessary for the government to take a firm stance opposing hate speech.
The Abe government’s reckless ambition to create a full-fledged “war-fighting nation” coincides with its reactionary policy justifying and glamorizing Japan’s past war of aggression. It is extremely dangerous that those who show no remorse over the past war of aggression are implementing measures to enable Japan to again fight in wars abroad. Such an administration has no qualification to steer the nation.
20) JCP’s Stance on Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the SDF
In the 2016 House of Councilors election campaign, driven by a strong sense of crisis, the Prime Minister Abe-led governing coalition made various attacks on the joint challenge by the opposition parties and concerned citizens. In particular, they focused on anti-communist attacks saying, “The JCP program calls for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. It considers the SDF to be unconstitutional and calls for its dissolution which is irresponsible. Is collaboration with such a party acceptable?” Through the election campaign, the JCP made a firm counterattack. Here are two basic points needed to counter such anti-communist attacks.
i) Put Forward Clearly the Key Point at Issue
First is to emphasize the key issue in the current situation boldly. In this context, the key issue now in question is not the pros and cons of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the SDF. The key issue we really should tackle is whether to allow the creation of a “war-fighting nation” in which the SDF uses force abroad by trampling on Article 9 under the new national security legislation. The opposition parties and concerned citizens are uniting at the point of “opposing such a dangerous course” by setting aside differences in views on the bilateral security treaty and the SDF. The JCP puts the most importance on how to create a consensus in the joint efforts, and from the beginning, has taken a position not to impose its own views over the security treaty and the SDF on the opposition parties/citizens collaboration.
It is important for us to criticize sharply the point that the ruling bloc’s attacks aim to cover up its outrageous act of undermining the Constitution by diverting voters’ attention from this critical issue.
ii) Special Efforts to Make JCP’s own Views Known Widely is Also Necessary
Secondly, it is also necessary to make special efforts to widely publicize the JCP position on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the SDF.
The JCP Program states that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty will be abrogated in accordance with Article 10 which stipulates that if Japan notifies the U.S. government of its intention to terminate the treaty, the U.S. forces and military bases must be withdrawn from Japan within one year of notification and that Japan can then conclude a friendship treaty with the United States on equal footing.
-- The U.S. forces stationed in Japan are the expeditionary forces, carrier strike groups, and other “rapid response” troops trained in rapid deployment and armed intervention which have nothing to do with Japan’s defense.
-- In the U.S. wars such as the Vietnam War, the retaliatory war against Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraqi, Japan offered operational forward bases for the U.S. unjust wars, cooperating in many ways in those wars, and had a hand in killing many innocent civilians because it was willingly bound by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. This is the undeniable fact.
-- The U.S. military in Japan enjoys extraordinary privileges which would be totally unacceptable in the U.S. mainland, including setting a “clear zone” in Okinawa’s Futenma base, continuing with and increasing night-landing practices and low-altitude flight training drills, and ignoring many crimes committed by its troops and civilian base workers.
The JCP will make efforts on its own to gain majority support for the call for the abrogation of the security treaty by publicizing the facts mentioned above and making it clear that only by abrogating the security treaty can Japan put an end to continuing to be a forward base for U.S.-led wars, relieve itself from U.S. base burdens, and become a truly independent nation.
The JCP Program states, “With regard to the Self-Defense Forces, the law allowing the SDF dispatch abroad will be repealed, and disarmament steps will be taken. In view of new developments that will follow the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, steps should be taken toward the complete implementation of Article 9 of the Constitution (dissolution of the SDF) based on national consensus.”
-- The JCP believes that the existence of the SDF is clearly unconstitutional in light of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Then, how should we overcome this contradiction? The JCP takes the position that it is the responsibility of politics to change the current situation regarding the SDF in accordance with the ideal of Article 9 which incorporates a pioneering pacifist concept.
-- It is impossible to clear up the contradiction between the Constitution and the existence of the SDF at once. It is important to move forward towards the goal step by step in accordance with the consent of the general public. First, we seek to abolish the laws which allow the dispatch of the SDF abroad and implement disarmament measures. Even after the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is abrogated, this will not mean the automatic dissolution of the SDF. As the existence of the Security Treaty is a different problem from the existence of the SDF, it is likely that even after the establishment of a public consensus on the abrogation of the Security Treaty, there might be a situation where the majority of the people feel that “the SDF is necessary.” The JCP will take measures to fully implement Article 9 of the Constitution only after an independent and neutral Japan abrogates the bilateral security treaty, establishes relationships of peace and amity with nations throughout the world, and only when Japan reaches democratic maturity with the overwhelming majority of the general public recognizing the lack of need of the SDF will the final steps be taken.
-- Thus, the SDF is be likely to continue to exist for a considerable period of time. If an emergency event, such as an imminent and unlawful infringement of sovereignty or a large scale disaster occurs, the use of all possible measures, including utilization of the SDF, will be allowed in order to protect people’s lives. The JCP’s stance is the most responsible stance to seriously pursue both defending the Constitution and protecting people’s lives.
In order to defeat the ruling bloc’s anti-communist attack, the JCP will resolutely continue its twofold approach: putting forward boldly that the real issue we should tackle is to block the move to turn Japan into a “nation fighting wars abroad,” in tandem with our effort to make known widely the JCP’s view on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the SDF.
21) Epoch-Making Creation of United Front and its Future Development
i) New Characteristics in Alliance between Citizens and Opposition Parties
The growing alliance between concerned citizens and the opposition parties has characteristics that have not been seen in the past.
First, in opposition to the Abe government’s reckless policies, different streaks of Japan’s post-WWII peace and labor movements have overcome their differences and formed an epochal joint struggle organization called the “All-Out Action Committee” to oppose war and protect Article 9 of the Constitution. “The twenty million signature collection campaign” led by the “All-Out Action Committee” to demand the repeal of the new national security legislation was supported by a wide variety of groups and citizens and the number of signatures of support the campaign collected reached 15.8 million.
Second, through campaigns opposing the national security legislation, many citizens took action and eventually formed a large citizens’ movement such as never seen in postwar Japan. The move taking on the proportions of a civil revolution has started. This move led to the creation of the “All-Out Action Committee” and the launching of the “Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism.”
Third, with a push from the new nationwide citizens’ movements, the alliance between opposition parties developed both inside and outside the Diet, and the opposition parties took an unprecedented, historic step of initiating electoral collaboration in the Upper House election.
A new era in which the united front policy formulated in the JCP Program resonates with the nation’s political landscape has begun. The alliance between citizens and the opposition parties has only recently been formed, thus it is still green and has many problems to address and overcome. This alliance is expected to go through various challenges and ups and downs, but it certainly has a bright future.
ii) How to Further Develop the Joint Struggle – JCP’s Basic Stance
How should we develop further the newly-emerging alliance between citizens and the opposition parties? The JCP will make our utmost efforts maintaining steadfastly the following basic stance.
- - We will make sincere efforts to forge a “wholehearted cooperation” among citizens’ movements and opposition parties by working together with trust and respect, and sharing common cause while respecting diversity in opinion. We have learned that each of the parties can change in a positive way by fighting together for a common cause. We are confident that this alliance will move forward and gain further strength if we earnestly work to promote the continued cooperation.
- - While doing our best to win many people’s support for the “flag of the cause” raised by the joint struggle of citizens and the opposition parties, we will make efforts to clearly show that if we try to resolve any issue, we need democratic reforms as outlined in the JCP Program. There is no contradiction between the two tasks. The alliance between citizens and the opposition parties will further develop by carrying out these tasks in parallel. The role of the National Association for a Peaceful, Democratic, and Progressive Japan (Kakushinkon) has been increasingly important in this regard, and the JCP will make efforts to strengthen Kakushinkon’s activities and its organizations.
- - We will strive together with citizens and other opposition parties to repulse the government and ruling parties’ attack on the JCP and the opposition alliance. Although public opinion of the JCP has significantly changed in a positive direction, it is a fact that there still remain various misunderstandings and feelings of reluctance toward supporting the JCP. In order to overcome the biases against the JCP, we will step up our efforts to have more people understand the JCP’s history, policies, and philosophy as a whole. At the same time, we will constantly work on self-reform and work to develop the JCP into “the political party representing the Japanese working class and all the Japanese people” (Article 2 of the Constitution of the JCP). We will make efforts to overcome a tendency to keep a safe distance from the JCP, which still remains in some areas due to misinformation or disinformation.
It is people’s movements that have help to promote our joint struggles of citizens united with the opposition parties. Let’s join hands and work hard to confront the Abe government’s reckless policies in every field and to develop people’s movements demanding a new government.
The JCP Program states that “the JCP’s growth, backed by high-level political and theoretical capabilities as well as great organizational strength with close ties with workers and other strata of the general public, is indispensable for the development of the united front.”
It will greatly contribute to developing the alliance between citizens and the opposition parties for the JCP to grow into a powerful political party with close ties with the public at the grass-roots level and make further progress in both the national and local political arenas. Let’s work hard to achieve our goals.
IV. National and Local Elections – for Strengthening of Alliance between Citizens and Opposition Parties as well as JCP’s Advance
22) Goals in the Coming General Election
The next national election will be the general election. The JCP will make its utmost efforts to take a major step forward in the coming general election toward reaching our goal of defeating the Abe government and establishing an opposition coalition government (national coalition government). We will work hard to achieve the following two major objectives.
i) Defeat “Two-Thirds Majority of Pro-constitutional Revision Forces,” and Turn LDP-Komei Coalition and its Supporting Forces into Minority
First, we aim to strengthen further the alliance between citizens and opposition parties, collaborate closely with our allies in the general election, break down the current “two-thirds majority of pro-constitutional revision forces” in the House of Representatives, and turn the LDP-Komei coalition and its supporting forces into the Diet minority.
In order to achieve success in general election, we will work to reach positive agreements with other opposition parties on the following three points:
-- Draw up a wide range of common election pledges. Based on the achievements made in the 2016 Upper House election, we will hold frequent policy consultations, confirm as many points in common as possible, and put forward a package of forward-looking policies that will convey a positive message to the general public.
-- Build a powerful electoral cooperation in which the opposition parties mutually endorse and support each other’s candidates. In the last Upper House election, the JCP unilaterally withdrew its candidates in almost all single-seat constituencies in order to put the opposition alliance on the right track. However, an election partnership should be built on a mutually supportive relationship. If the opposition parties endorse and support each other’s candidates in the campaign, their alliance will be able to exert its full powers to defeat the LDP. Without endorsing each other, we cannot create a serious election partnership.
- Reach a positive agreement on the issue of forming a new government. In the coming general election, we will be questioned as to what kind of government we aim to establish. If the opposition parties cooperate in the general election, they need to show the public their agreed upon plan of action in the formation of a new government.
If the opposition parties agree on these issues and their alliance is fully formed, it will lead to a drastic change in Japanese politics with a huge victory of the opposition camp in the single-seat constituencies.
ii) JCP – Develop Further its ‘Third Tide of Advance’
Second, we will work hard to continue to develop the JCP’s “third tide of advance” – starting in the 2013 Upper House election and going on through the 2014 general election, the 2015 nationwide local elections, and the 2016 Upper House election – into a full-fledged current.
-- Fight to achieve our goal of obtaining more than 8.5 million votes in total (over 15% of the total votes cast) in the proportional representation constituencies by holding fast to the policy which proclaims, “proportional representation is the axis” and “the whole nation is one constituency.” We will work to win the position of the third largest party in the proportional representation constituencies by increasing the number of our seats in each of the 11 blocks.
-- Integrated with efforts to strengthen the opposition alliance, we will work to increase JCP seats significantly by aggressively campaigning in important single-seat constituencies.
-- With the aim of realizing the JCP Program, we will work to achieve our “Growth and Development Target” based on medium-term prospects: build up a JCP which always gains “over 10% of the vote” in any municipality, administrative ward, or prefecture. We will work hard to produce such a result that reaches this target.
In the run-up to the 2019 Upper House election, we will also decide on our candidates as early as possible, and go ahead with our activities to achieve victory, in parallel with the preparation for the next general election.
23) Winning in Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Election
The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election to be held in June 2017 is a major political battle that will significantly affect the direction of national politics as well as Tokyoites’ livelihoods and the future of Tokyo. We will make every effort to secure the 17 seats the JCP currently holds and gain even more seats.
The JCP metropolitan assemblypersons’ group has played a pioneering and instrumental role in addressing the issue of the relocation of the Tsukiji fish market to the Toyosu district and of the escalation in the cost of hosting the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has adopted “Tokyoites first” as her slogan. In order to realize that, however, it is essential to review the metropolitan government policy which has centered on large-scale development projects as promoted by the former Ishihara administration, and restore the core spirit of local self-governance, “the promotion of public welfare”. Under the Koike administration, it is important for the JCP to take the lead in reforming the metropolitan government in collaboration with civic movements working to fulfill Tokyoites’ hopes.
We earnestly call for all party members across the country to support the party organizations in Tokyo in the spirit of belief that “the whole nation is one constituency.”
24) Focus in Local Politics – Seeking JCP Advance in Local Elections
i) Trends in Local Governments, Advance of Opposition Alliance at Local Level, and the Role of JCP Local Assemblypersons
Under the pretext of boosting global competitiveness, the Abe administration is forcing local governments to carry out large-scale development projects and ease regulations for the sake of large corporations. Meanwhile, it is destroying residents’ welfare and livelihoods, closing many public facilities such as hospitals, schools, childcare facilities, kindergartens, public housing, community centers, and libraries, privatizing municipal services and operations of public institutions, and implementing policies that further harm already stagnating and declining local economies.
Although the “all-are-ruling-parties” setup with the exclusion of the JCP still holds in many local assemblies, joint struggles of citizens and opposition parties based on residents’ demands are expanding. Keeping both national and local politics in mind, the JCP will squarely confront the LDP-Komei coalition regime while, if necessary, offering other opposition parties constructive criticism based on irrefutable facts. In the regions where Ishin no Kai have influence, we will work hard to reveal the party’s reactionary role and overcome the local reactionary trends.
In cooperation with grassroots movements, JCP local assembly members have had the influence in local governments and assemblies to help fulfill residents’ desires, such as the expansion of programs to provide free medical care to children or reduce their medical costs, an increase in school expense subsidies, the building of more authorized child daycare centers and facilities for children after school, the realization of small-class sizes, an increase in subsidies to provide school lunches for free or at a low cost, a reduction in national health insurance premiums, the creation of subsidy programs for home renovations, and measures to relieve disaster victims and reconstruct affected areas. They are also working hard to eliminate political corruption and the continued waste of taxpayers’ money on large pork-barrel projects. The JCP’s major advance in local assemblies in the future will help to guarantee meeting residents’ demands and promoting an alliance among concerned citizens and opposition parties at the local level.
ii) Strengthen Daily Activities in Preparation for Local Elections and Regain the Top Position in the Number of Local Assemblypersons
In the three years after the previous JCP Congress, the number of JCP local assembly members increased from about 2,700 to 2,809 (as of January 17) and the percentage of JCP seats in local assemblies also went up from 7.8% to 8.4%, reaching a record high. The JCP is the third largest party in the number of local legislators, following the LDP (3,300 plus) and the Komei Party (2,900 plus). We will continue to work to recover the No.1 position we previously held and increase the JCP share in the number of seats in local assemblies to more than 10%.
In the 2019 nationwide local elections, we will work to increase JCP seats in all prefectural assemblies and not have any prefectural assembly without JCP assemblypersons. We will strengthen our daily activities working on preparing for local elections, focusing on winning prefectural assembly seats in ordinance-designated cities where the JCP has no prefectural assemblypersons (at present six out of the 20 ordinance-designated cities), on obtaining city assembly seats in wards of ordinance-designated cities where the JCP has no seats (at present 47 out of the 175 wards of the 20 ordinance-designated cities), and on further increasing the number of JCP assemblypersons in prefectures, ordinance-designated cities, special wards in Tokyo, prefectural capitals, and other key local municipalities.
We will work to increase the number of JCP assembly members in cities, towns, and villages nationwide as well as to obtain seats in municipal assemblies currently without JCP seats (41 cities and 341 towns and villages). To achieve this goal, we need to take necessary measures in preparation far ahead of elections. It is essential to work to strengthen the JCP by focusing on recruiting new party members, determine candidates as early as possible, and make preparations in a planned and systematic manner led by the candidates.
It is especially significant for JCP caucuses in local assemblies to gain the right to submit proposals in order to represent residents’ demands. Currently, the JCP has the right to submit proposals in nearly half (47.3%) of the local assemblies in the country. We will aim to obtain the right in at least two-thirds of all local assemblies.
Placing priority on elections of the heads of local administrations in light of the present political circumstances, we will commit ourselves to those election campaigns as part of our broader efforts to promote alliances between citizens and opposition parties. In this connection, the 2018 Okinawa gubernatorial election is of national significance. We will work hard to achieve the victory of a candidate of the All Okinawa Council.
iii) Supporting Local Assemblypersons and Establishment of their Party Lives
It gives us a great hope that JCP party members in their 20’s to 40’s have run for elected offices at the party’s request and have been working hard as local assembly members across the country. We will strengthen significantly our efforts to support local assemblypersons, including assisting in their political education process.
In recent years, in some local areas it has become difficult to establish JCP caucuses in local assemblies as a result of regional municipal mergers, reductions in the allotted numbers of seats in local assemblies, and the fact that the amount of party affairs tasked with local legislators has been increasing. The establishment of JCP local assembly caucuses guarantees meaningful communication among our local assembly members through political discussions, group learning experiences, and candid exchanges regarding their activities. The party organizations have to make systematic efforts to this effect.
As persons holding public offices, our local assembly members bear a heavy responsibility to voters. They are required to take the lead in performing party members’ duties as stipulated in Article 5 of the JCP Constitution, “respect civic morals and social ethics, and discharge their responsibilities toward society.”
For the purpose of helping local assembly members’ development and interaction, the Central Committee will hold workshops for our local assemblypersons in order for them to exchange their experiences with one another.
25) Drastically Revise Election Campaign Strategy in Response to the New Political Situation
In response to the new political situation in which cooperation has been increasing between citizens and the opposition parties, we will drastically improve our election strategy utilizing the following points:
- -We will fight by sticking firmly to our basic policy of pursuing the promotion of the opposition alliance and the advance of the JCP at the same time. After the 2016 Upper House election, some comrades reflected on the election and said, “Because we were so busy with activities for the joint opposition candidates running in the single-seat constituencies, we failed to take sufficient measures to gain more votes in the proportional representation constituency.” We have to put this lesson to good use. It is important for every party branch to set its target of gaining votes which matches the party’s overall target of obtaining more than 8.5 million votes in total (over 15% of the total votes cast), have its own “policy and plan” to achieve the target, and get prepared to fully implement the “Four Basic Points” concerning election campaigns.
- -We will work to develop our election campaigns into ones that fight together with the general public. As the JCP sincerely worked to promote the opposition alliance for the Upper House election, support for the JCP spread across the country. We will conduct election campaigns that place value on the new bonds of trust and solidarity that have been built with popular movements and help civic movements to satisfy public demands in every field. We will improve and make more attractive the activities of JCP supporters’ associations so that the people who are paying attention to and are willing to support the JCP can more easily join in the activities.
--We will conduct special campaign activities to give all voters the confidence that they can actually change politics. We will step up our efforts for self-reform in communicating our messages to the public more effectively. We will improve our communication activities to be more interactive ones in which we reach out to receivers of our messages sincerely, communicate with others in an easy-to-understand manner, and talk with voters while listening to their opinions respectfully. We worked on renovating our campaign literature in the Upper House election by soliciting candid opinions from civic movement organizers and asking them to prepare campaign materials together with us. We intend to further apply and develop this activity. Attaching more importance to the use of the Internet and social networking media, we will work to create synergies in our campaigns and organizational activities.
-- Since the Central Committee’s 7th Plenum of the 25th JCP Congress in May 2013, the JCP has gone ahead with activities that can be considered an “election revolution” by which we have made the most of connections that have been established by party members and party organizations to win elections. In the last Upper House election campaign, an increased number of party members and organizations engaged in activities to gain voters’ support for the JCP by using their connections and name lists to make contact, and some of them succeeded in garnering the support of hundreds of voters. These efforts have become increasingly important in the new political situation and we will try hard to develop this into an activity involving all party members.
--We will conduct election campaigns together with the younger generations. Today, young people are trying to find a way to overcome the current situation which includes a widening social gap and expansion of poverty, poor working conditions, extremely high education expenses, and the crisis of the continued existence of peace and democracy. We will make fresh efforts to fight elections together with the younger generations by listening to young people’s demands and criticisms as well as by talking with them about the political direction we propose to resolve pressing issues directly affecting the younger generations.
V. Build Bigger and Stronger JCP to Promote New United Front
26) Achieve “Doubling of Party Strength and Generational Succession” through Party Building Efforts
The last party Congress decided to work to double overall party strength to achieve our Growth and Development Target in the 2010s with 500,000 party members (one member for every 200 voters), the same level of readership of the daily Akahata, and a 2 million readership of the Akahata Sunday edition (one for every 50 voters). It also decided to make all-party efforts to pass on the party organizations to the next generation as a strategic task that will have an important bearing on whether we can realize the goals stipulated in the Party Program. We sincerely call on the whole party to put our combined energy to use to accomplish this major task.
As a first step to reach this goal, we are now holding the “Campaign to Build Party Strength for a Successful 27th Congress” with the following targets to be completed by the end of January 2017. Thanks to the tenacious efforts of all the party bodies and members, just during the past four months, we added 4,172 new party members. The number of subscribers of the Akahata has increased in the same four months by 13,003 in total, with an increase of 2,489 for the daily edition and 10,514 in the Sunday edition.
In the past three years since the previous JCP 26th Congress, 44.2% of all party branches added 23,000 new party members in total. The JCP has now around 300,000 party members across the nation and the number of subscribers of the Akahata stands at 1.13 million.
We will continue our efforts to achieve the goal of the current party building campaign and keep and enhance the momentum for the party building efforts gained through the campaign without fail.
27) Historical Significance of Party Building
To create a bigger and stronger party with close connections with citizens at the grassroots level is of historical significance both for the future of Japan and the JCP itself.
This, first of all, will provide the strength needed to promote joint efforts initiated between opposition parties and citizens and the formation of a new united front, and to establish a coalition government of opposition parties. In the latest House of Councilors election, party branches and members held grassroots efforts throughout Japan with selfless devotion to achieve the victory of joint candidates of opposition parties. Their commitment was highly appreciated by members of other parties and citizens involved in civic movements. Having party branches and members as well as Akahata readers in every corner of the country, we are proudly linked with citizens and working night and day to protect their interests. As a party playing an important part in the collaboration between opposition parties and citizens, to develop our grassroots strength will be the best contribution to further promoting the joint struggle.
Secondly, in order to maintain and develop the JCP’s “third tide of advance,” creating an upsurge in party building is inevitable. A series of our advances in recent national elections was the fruit of major struggles made by party members and members of party supporter associations, but it is also true that the social conditions surrounding the party developed favorably. As we witnessed in the latest House of Councilors election, whenever the JCP makes progress, the ruling forces stage fierce attacks to prevent further gains. Such attacks are expected to be strengthened, and a new tactic to confine the JCP can emerge. No matter how difficult the situation turns out to be, we must be able to overcome it and continue our progress. However, the party’s present strength is too weak to do so. We urgently need to build a bigger and stronger party.
Thirdly, in respect to the building of a party capable of promoting Japan’s social reform throughout the 21st century, it is vital to bring a success to the ongoing party building campaign, especially in efforts being exerted to guarantee generational succession. In addition to the present tasks we are now working on, we have to be able to fulfill our future responsibilities to realize the JCP Program – to establish a democratic coalition government and achieve a democratic revolution based on the consent of the majority, and to proceed towards a socialist/communist society. To that end, we must drastically develop the present weak party presence among the younger generations and the 60 million workers nationwide so that we can pass on a strong JCP to future generations. Considering the current age composition of party members, party bodies and members must share the responsibility to achieve this goal.
In order to achieve our goal of achieving an advance of the JCP and the cooperation between opposition parties and citizens simultaneously, we need a bigger and stronger JCP. Not only for an advance in the proportional representation system but also for winning in single seat constituencies by winning the majority of votes, we need to build stronger JCP bodies to promote and support election activities. Building a bigger and stronger JCP is our historic task at present to open the way for a new politics in Japan by enhancing the cooperation among opposition parties and citizens which confront squarely with the Abe administration, the LDP-Komeito alliance, and other reactionary forces and creating a new coalition government comprised of the current opposition parties that are working together.
With great ambition and an adventurous spirit, let us work hard to achieve the doubling of party strength and success in achieving generational succession.
28) How to Develop Party Building into Full-Fledged Progress
i) Basic Policy of Party Building
The basic policy in regard to party building has clearly been set out in the resolutions of the last five Party Congresses based on the party Constitution revised at the 22nd Congress. The main points are as follows:
- - Every party branch should draw up their locally specific “policy and plan” and engage as key players in party activities. The high road to building a bigger and stronger party is to drive the “two wheels” in party activities, namely struggling to realize people’s demands and pursuing party building efforts in parallel.
- - Increasing the party membership should be consistently pursued as the basis of the party building effort. New members should be recruited in accordance with the party constitution and educated properly. Putting emphasis on the “three principles to establish party life (taking part in branch meetings, subscribing to daily Akahata, and paying party dues)”, party branches need to develop a warm and humane atmosphere and be responsible for encouraging each member to engage in a variety of formative experiences.
- - We will develop party activities centering on Akahata. 1) Party members should read and discuss the contents in the Akahata and use these as guidelines for their daily activities. 2) The network of delivery and collection of subscription needs to be strengthened. We will utilize Akahata to expand our links with citizens. 3) Every party activity should be collaborated with Akahata readers so that it can develop. 4) These efforts are also important for sound party finance. We should place the Akahata-related activities at the center of our effort to promote, unify, and develop various party activities.
While mass media in general fail to play a role in checking power, Akahata’s social value of reporting the truth without fear and promoting cooperation among citizens is indispensable.
- - We must stick to increasing the party’s strength “both in quantity and quality.” Party members should be encouraged to study the Party Program and the classic works of scientific socialism. Every branch should hold meetings to study the “Lecture Series on JCP Program and Classics.”
- - We will organize meetings to “discuss the JCP Program and Japan’s future” in every corner of the country to promote public understanding of the JCP Program, history, and philosophy. We will listen to participants’ opinions about and requests to the JCP and utilize them to develop party expansion efforts.
- - We should build a party respecting civic morals and social ethics as well as strive to establish the morals worthy of an organization that works to promote progressive social change.
These points will be maintained as the basic policy of party building.
Party building efforts require special awareness, persistence, and an unyielding spirit. We, as the 27th Party Congress, express our sincere respect and appreciation to party members throughout Japan who are engaged in this task.
ii) Learn from experienced District Committees’ Practices
Almost all party branches with advanced experiences have been putting the party building basic policy into practice. The problem is that such branches which have brought about successful outcomes are very limited. We need to explore how to have the party building current spread throughout the party. One of the main keys to accomplish this is to strengthen the activities of district committees which are tasked with directly guiding and supporting party branches.
In preparation for the Congress, the party center visited several district committees to learn from their advanced experiences. The following four points stood out as significant lessons to be shared:
- - Firstly, advanced district committees must set and share with all members their ambitious objectives regarding how they want to change the political situation in their local areas.
The Chokuan District Committee in Fukuoka Prefecture set out as goals to obtain 18 percent of votes in proportional representation elections as well as to have more than three seats in all municipal assemblies. Members of the district committee shared the recognition that in order to achieve these objectives, their efforts to realize a doubling of the party strength and success in generational succession must be strengthened. They are tenaciously working to recruit more than 5 new party members every month. From the last Party Congress, party membership in the committee increased to 121 percent, and 77 percent of its branches accepted a new member and the vote share of the proportional representation constituency in the 2016 House of Councilors election increased to 12.47 percent from 9.99 percent of the previous election.
- - Secondly, they never give up no matter the obstacles and pursue their goals consistently and systematically.
Since the 26th Congress, the Hokusei District Committee in Mie Prefecture has always discussed on its “general plan” and its branches’ “policy and plan” at its monthly general meeting. It has set this out as its focused objective and made tenacious efforts to support and encourage all branches to draw up their “policy and plan” and proactively implement their activities. As a result, the number of branches having their own “policy and plan” has increased from 20 percent to more than 90 percent of all its branches. The district committee has recruited new party members for 74 consecutive months. Since the last Party Congress, more than 60 percent of all its branches have been able to bring in new members. Around 50% of all its workplace branches have increased the party membership by overcoming their difficulties.
- - Thirdly, they try to visit and learn from their branches and to exercise their wisdom and energy together with branches.
The Kawasaki Chubu District Committee in Kanagawa Prefecture, which has many branches in workplaces, puts into practice its slogan, “The most important activity is to visit branches.” Led by the district committee chair, committee leaders have visited as many as 20 branches a month in the belief that holding branch meetings will offer the best encouragement to party members in workplaces. Thanks to their 5 year-long systematic efforts, almost all workplace branches have become able to hold their meetings regularly. While suffering under labor intensification, party members have strived to maintain the JCP banner in their workplaces and received trust from their workmates. They realized that the JCP’s strength must be expanded among workers as their working conditions become more exploitive and intensified. Since the last Party Congress, 53 percent of its branches in workplaces have been able to recruit new party members (the rate is 85 percent for branches in communities).
- - Fourthly, they build and exercise the teamwork of district committee members, including standing committee members and part-timers.
Just after the last Party Congress, the Chubu District Committee of Chiba Prefecture had 12 standing committee members, including 4 full-time members. It frankly requested veteran party members and increased the total number of standing committee members to 16. It also strengthened cooperation with prefectural and city assembly members so that it became able to grasp the actual conditions of party branches. Last year, the district committee hosted “party schools” where a total of 341 executive members, members of auxiliary party bodies, and branch leaders carefully studied the Party Program, scientific socialism, party history, and party building policies, and thus strengthened their political solidarity and abilities. In the 2016 House of Councilors election, 99 percent of its branches in the district committee strived to increase their number of supporters. The party’s vote share in the proportional representation constituency increased to 11.60 percent from 9.94 percent in the previous election.
While having difficulties, the task of district committees is indispensable as well as rewarding in directly connecting party bodies with party branches and supportive citizens. We will learn from these lessons and make an all-party effort to strengthen district committees’ activities. We will put emphasis on encouraging women members, accounting for 48 percent of all party members, to exercise their abilities as leaders of party bodies.
The party center will hold “national exchange meetings dealing with organizational activities” to learn, explore, and promote party building activities in which party branches are the key players together with prefectural and district committees.
iii) Popularizing Party Magazines, Especially “Josei no Hiroba”
In addition to increasing of the party membership as the basis of the party strength expansion effort and promoting party activities centering on Akahata, we will utilize party magazines and journals in the effort in response to the expanding public attentions and interest in the JCP.
We will make efforts to improve the quality of editing and boost the circulation of party magazines: “Zen’ei” (Vanguard), “Gekkan Gakushu” (Monthly Study), “Gikai to Jichitai” (Assembly and Municipality) and “Josei no Hiroba” (Women’s Plaza) and “Keizai” (Economy) which the JCP supports in its effort of dissemination. As part of the party strength expansion effort, we will try to double the circulation of “Josei no Hiroba” which is capable of reaching a large number and wide range of women.
29) Make All-Out Effort to Build Party Organizations among Workers and Younger Generations
The whole party shares the urgent need to pass down the party experience and knowledge to younger generations. It is our keen desire to make substantial progress in this task. Every party body, branch, group, and assembly member group should draw up its own plan and target for generational succession and make the best use of their ties and opportunities that may arise to move forward with this effort.
i) Build Party among 60 Million Workers as Joint Task of Workplace Branches and Whole Party
The JCP has organizational influence on a very small portion of the working class. Almost all workplaces in the nation are without the presence of the JCP. Under the newly-emerging political situation, we will undertake with renewed determination to build party organizations among the working class which is 60 million workers strong.
Among workers who became members of the JCP during the 26th Party Congress period, about half of them were recruited by branches in their workplaces, and the other half joined the party because of their ties with branches in their residential areas or other party bodies. Building a bigger and stronger party among the 60 million workers should be considered to be a joint task of workplace branches and the whole party.
--New conditions and opportunities are emerging for building party organizations in workplaces. Amid the developing collaboration between opposition parties and citizens, various forms of cooperation in the labor movement are developing despite differences in affiliation with national centers of trade unions. It is significant that the new ties created in the development have been utilized to increase party membership throughout Japan.
The 3rd Central Committee plenum of the 25th Congress states, "To recruit workers into the party, we must take firm root among workers in all workplaces regardless of differences in trade union affiliation. We should help start up and develop party organizations in workplaces whether they are affiliated with Rengo or Zenroren so that party members working there can build a network of solidarity for all fellow workers to unite and cooperate." Under the current situation, now is the time to implement the policy and broaden our organizing efforts to include all workers in our party building effort.
In order to develop the activities of party branches in workplaces, it is important to utilize the lessons we learned at a meeting to study workplace issues in April 2006. Some of the lessons emphasized in the meeting were, “greet coworkers warmly and start party building,” “connect with coworkers in their everyday life,” and “party members’ hardship is shared with all workers.” It is important to strive to establish daily ties with workers and build relationships of trust with them as the basis of party activities.
- - Taking advantage of various ties the whole party has, we will try to create party branches in workplaces which currently have no JCP presence. Party branches in communities have various connections with workers who are living in their neighborhoods. Workers have many pressing demands not only in their workplaces but also in their residential areas, and many are looking for a political change. Some branches in communities recruited their working neighbors into the party at a meeting to discuss the JCP Program they hosted, and it led to the launching of new party branches in workplaces of local governments and companies. This type of advance is significant.
Party branches in communities will cooperate with district committees and local assembly members, utilize their local ties, hold activities to meet public demands, and try to recruit workers into the party. When workers become members of branches in communities, the branches should support the new members together with district committees so that they can join in local activities as well as try to create ties with their coworkers and build a party in their workplaces.
ii) Build Party among Younger Generations – Promote Two-Way Communication
In the new form of citizens’ movement which is unprecedented in postwar Japan, young people have played innovatively brilliant roles in opposing government policies. They have shown their respect for the postwar movements to protect peace and democracy engaged in by older generations and have declared themselves proud to be the successors of past movements. Cross-generational solidarity has been dramatically developing in the new civil movement arena.
With this situation, we should exert an all-party effort to build party organizations among the younger generations. To this end, the most important thing is to engage in two-way communications: listening carefully to young people; establishing bonds with them; and putting our heads together to think about changing Japan’s future course.
The 6th Central Committee plenum in September 2016, learning from party bodies’ advanced experiences, called for activities based on three pillars.
- - The first pillar is to promote activities for “generational succession every party branch can carry out.” Many party members, branches, and bodies have some sort of ties with young people. The activities include: making a list of young people with whom they have connections; holding casual gatherings to listen to the interests and demands of young people; having two-way communication with them based on the JCP Program; and publishing newsletters of party supporters’ associations to convey the JCP’s policies to young readers. Such activities can possibly be carried out by any party branches.
- - The second pillar is to promote our warm support for the Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ) and help it increase its membership and branches. Calling for cooperation among youth, grassroots actions, and studying for social change, the DYLJ is working to realize young people’s urgent demands and to help them study scientific socialism and the JCP Program so that they can build their capacity. It has played pioneering roles in organizing youth rallies to defend the Japanese Constitution and in developing young people’s struggles against the national security legislation. Its presence and activities are essential for opening a bright future for younger generations as well as for the JCP.
Together with party branches, every prefectural and district committee will draw up a plan and implement it as a joint task with the DYLJ to launch DYLJ branches in high schools, universities, workplaces, and communities. They will strengthen their support to DYLJ’s study programs for its members to develop to their capacity. As a starting point, the JCP central committee, prefectural committees, district committees, and branches and groups will hold regular talks with the DYLJ in order to understand its role at the prefectural/district/branch levels and to listen to their demands and the difficulties they are facing.
- - The third pillar is to make the best use of the party’s strength and connections to recruit university students into the party and build party branches on their campuses. Prefectural and district committees, together with branches, will make systematic efforts to build party organizations in universities based on their own plan and target. They will also hold publicity activities in front of universities to reach out to and have conversations with students. Working with party members of college students and their branches, party bodies should hold gatherings to stimulate students’ intellectual interests and explore activities available on college campuses.
For party members who are university students, the “special party schools” the central committee organizes every year is a place to develop their intellectual capacity. The party center and local bodies will actively provide such opportunities to learn and exchange for party members who are young workers or students as well as DYLJ members.
The party center will continue to hold “special party schools” and put emphasis on preparing successors among young party members.
30) Strengthen Party Finance by Focusing on Party Dues
Any party activity cannot be guaranteed without a financial basis. We should drastically strengthen every one of the "Four principles to establish party finance," namely party dues, subscription fees of Akahata and party periodicals, donations, and thrift. Among them, the main focus should be put on the collection of party dues.
Full-time JCP workers working devotedly at the center of party bodies are the treasure of the whole party. To support their living and party activities is one of the main goals in our effort to improve the party’s state of finance.
What is currently important is to recruit young full-time staff while utilizing the skills of veteran full-time workers in order to double the number of those working regularly in party bodies. This effort is essential to fully realize the JCP Program.
Our urgent tasks are: to secure full-time workers the right to non-work days so that they can maintain their physical and mental health; to pay their monthly wages without delay; and to make their wage level higher than the average salary for private sector employees. Improvement of their working conditions is urgently needed for young people with excellent abilities who choose to become a JCP full-time worker. We need to make an all-out effort to strengthen the state of party finance.
Party dues are the basis of our finance. To increase the number of party-dues paying members leads to strengthening the very foundation of the JCP.
The JCP does not accept government subsidies or corporate/organizational donations and has its finance entirely dependent on individuals. That is why the party can fight for progressive social change without fear. We sincerely call for party members’ and supporters’ cooperation in our activities to strengthen the state of party finance.
VI. Looking to the 100th Anniversary of the JCP’s Foundation while Reflecting on its 95-year History
31) The 95th Anniversary of the Party Foundation—Three Struggles Settled by History
The year of 2017 marks the 95th anniversary since the JCP was founded in 1922. The 95-year history of the JCP is a history in which the JCP has fought to defend the interests of the Japanese people aspiring for peace, democracy and social progress, and has overcome numerous obstacles along the way, standing up to powerful authorities in the wrong. Through 95 years of JCP’s struggles, there are three noteworthy struggles for which history already rendered its verdict.
The first is the JCP’s struggle to end the despotic rule and dark regime of the Tenno (Emperor) system in the pre-war era. Outlawed from the outset of its founding, the JCP remained undaunted by persecution and imprisonment, and held fast to the banners of people’s sovereign power, anti-war, human liberation, and progressive future. Raising these banners in the pre-war days meant risking their lives with these struggles, and a number of JCP members lost their lives in the repression that ensued.
The point that the JCP’s struggles at the time were uniquely pioneering and generally appropriate has been historically verified. The Potsdam Declaration which Japan accepted at its defeat in WWII identified the Japanese war as a war of aggression, and called for militarism to be eliminated and for democracy to be established. In part thanks to the JCP’s contributions, the Japanese Constitution has incorporated the fundamental principle of popular sovereignty based on reflection on the war caused by the “action of government.”
The second struggle is the JCP’s struggle with the hegemonism against the party committed by the Soviet Union and others in the post-war era. It was in 1950 that the JCP first faced interference. With Stalin of the Soviet Union as the general commander and China as the adjutant, the interference was made in order to impose their armed struggle policy onto the JCP. A handful in the party center betrayed the party and colluded with the interferers, and as a result, the Central Committee of the JCP was dismantled. In the process of overcoming this most serious crisis in party history, the JCP established its sovereign independent line: a course of a nation’s revolutionary movement must be chosen by its own people; any interference and acts of hegemony from whatever powerful major power must never be allowed.
In the 1960s, appalling interference and attacks by both the Soviet Union and the Chinese Maoists were conducted against the JCP. They were in line with a grand intervention strategy in which both mobilized their state power to crush the JCP by creating an anti-JCP stream within Japan while setting up the sham “Communist Party” comprised of “trained and loyal” betrayers. The whole of the JCP stood up and soundly defeated these repugnant attacks.
Time settled this struggle as well. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) made a statement of regret over its interference into the internal affairs of the JCP at the summit meeting between the JCP and the CPSU held in 1979. Nevertheless, the interference from the Soviet Union continued, and harsh polemical exchanges followed until this confrontation was finally put to an end in 1991 with the collapse of the CPSU itself. With regard to the Chinese interference, the Communist Party of China (CPC), in the agreed document at a meeting with the JCP in June 1998, made it clear that “they seriously examined and corrected the manner they had taken in deviation from the principle of non-interference in other parties’ internal affairs.” The JCP is the only party that was subjected to continuous interference and attacks from the two major communist parties simultaneously. There has been no party other than the JCP that forced the two parties to admit to their errors.
Through the struggles against the interference and attacks, the JCP not only steeled itself politically and organizationally but also won significant achievements theoretically. The JCP conducted a comprehensive review on the theoretical distortions made by Stalin, and has revived with new vitality the original thought of Marx and Engels in all aspects including theories of world affairs, revolution, and prospects for a future society freed from capitalism. These achievements have been fully incorporated in the JCP Program adopted in 2004.
The third is the JCP struggle against the “all-ruling-parties” tactic that attempted to exclude the JCP from the mainstream political arena. A landmark move in that attempt was the conclusion of the agreement between the Socialist Party of Japan (SPJ) and the Komei Party in 1980. With that agreement, the ruling class, with their concerted efforts, launched a large-scale anti-communist offensive with the aim of excluding the JCP from the political arena by treating it as if the JCP never existed at all. In the early 1990s, another large-scale campaign to attempt to marginalize the JCP was launched in which voters were pushed to choose between “the LDP and the non-LDP” which deliberately excluded the JCP from the voters’ choices while the single-seat constituency electoral system was partially introduced to the detriment of smaller parties. In the 2000s, business circles led the political campaign to work to create “a two-party system” in Japan which worked as the strongest and worst attack against JCP progress.
At the same time, these anti-communist campaigns were also “anti-people offensives.” The neo-liberalist “structural reform” policy was pressed on the people, substantially weakening the social security system which led to massive unemployment and the growth of inequality and poverty. In addition, ignoring the Japanese Constitution, even ignoring the framework of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, SDF activities including overseas dispatches were enhanced, and in Okinawa, the contradiction caused by the military base problems exploded. On the other hand, a variety of “single-issue joint struggles” based on compelling common demands in various fields spread, and popular movements opposing anti-people policies were intensified.
These struggles by the people united led to the creation of the ongoing joint struggle by opposition parties and citizens united in solidarity that developed in 2015-2016. The “wall” that excluded the JCP from the mainstream political arena has become a thing of the past. It was the power of joint struggles by the JCP and social movements of concerned citizens that ultimately dismantled this “wall.”
32) Looking toward the 100th Anniversary of the JCP’s Foundation—Let’s Create a Coalition Government made up of Opposition Parties
Five years hence, the JCP will mark the 100th anniversary of its founding.
We are now stepping into an unexplored field in the political arena in which we are working to change the direction of Japanese politics by means of the joint struggle of the opposition parties united with concerned citizens. Building upon the achievements attained through our 95-year struggle, let us establish a coalition government made up of opposition parties by bringing down the Abe administration by greatly strengthening the new unified front.
The new JCP Program adopted in 2004 resonates with the dynamic growth of social movements throughout the world as well as the reality of Japanese politics. The Program displays its vitality on every issue such as Japan reform theory, world theory, and the unified front theory. The Program is the best document which ties firmly the interests of the Japanese people and those of the JCP so let us talk with as many people as we can with the Program in hand, and let us work to create the national majority needed to achieve a true democratic reform of Japan.
Regarding the global conditions for an advance to socialism/communism, the Program points out as characteristics of the 21st century the development of the forces working to overcome capitalism and advance to a new society from three currents: 1) popular movements in developed capitalist countries; 2) efforts to explore ways to achieve socialism in countries that already broke away from capitalism; and 3) developing countries unable to find a way to achieve future economic development within the framework of capitalism, even after achieving political independence. At the same time, the Program emphasizes that humankind has not yet had the experience of an attempt to initiate socialist transformation in the developed capitalist countries, and this “is a new historic task in the 21st century.”
It is certain that socialist transformation in a developed capitalist country will also have a special historical significance in relation to the development in the other two currents.
Built on the 95-year JCP struggles through the pre- and post-WWII eras, the JCP is now on the front line among political parties aiming for socialist transformation in developed capitalist countries. With a firm conviction of the importance of that role, looking toward the 100th anniversary of the party foundation let us work together to achieve a major advance.