Adopted on January 16, 2010
Dear delegates, observers, and all JCP members who are watching the Congress via the communication satellite broadcast and on the Internet, I would like to extend sincere greetings to you all. On behalf of the Japanese Communist Party Central Committee, I will now make the report to the JCP 25th Congress.
The Congress is being held amid a turbulent situation following the demise of the Liberal Democratic Party-Komei Party government and the beginning of a quest for a new politics in the interest of the people.
In the past month and a half since its publication, the draft Resolution has been favorably received within the party. Party members have deepened their understanding of the draft Resolution through pre-Congress discussions. It contains new analyses and proposals, including: the political situation of a transitional character and JCP tasks; how to assess world currents in line with our efforts for social progress in Japan; the conditions needed for JCP advances in the forthcoming House of Councilors election and the JCP strategy to face the election; and the proposals for the “JCP growth and development targets” based on the mid-term vision. These points had a profound impact on party members, invigorating the whole party.
The Central Committee Report will deal with issues that need additional analyses and refinements, section by section, based on pre-Congress discussions as well as in response to the latest developments in the political situation.
Opinions calling for amendments and additions, as expressed in the pre-Congress discussions as well as during the Congress, will be closely examined. After concluding the discussion in the Congress, we will present a revised draft Resolution to be put to a vote.
Part One of the draft Resolution outlines the general picture of the present state of Japan. It argues that the verdict passed by voters in the House of Representatives general election has opened a “new period” that can be characterized as a “transitional situation.”
What does the term “transitional situation” mean? It is an apt description of the present state of the country: while a major change in a better direction took place through the verdict to end the reactionary postwar LDP rule, including 10 years of the rule of the LDP-Komei Party coalition, Japan’s politics has not gone so far as to break away from the two aberrations of the long-standing reactionary rule, namely the extraordinary subservience to the United States and the tyrannical rule of the business circles and large corporations. The people’s quest for a new politics to replace the LDP government has only just begun.
The draft Resolution emphasizes that public awareness, fostered by people’s movements and JCP struggles were the source of the power that opened up the new era for major changes.
I will now offer some comments based on the pre-Congress discussions.
First, I want to stress that the House of Representatives general election in August 2009 was an opportunity for the voting public to exercise their sovereign power to put an end to the long-standing LDP rule and that this was the first such postwar event to accomplish this, which will go down in history as a significant achievement.
In particular, the draft Resolution states that the people’s “high expectations for a major change in political direction” found expression not only in the electoral verdict, but that those expectations have “an ongoing impact on the post-election situation that is evolving.” We should be fully aware of this point.
This dynamism has an impact on the whole of Japanese politics, on the ruling parties and the opposition parties alike. The extraordinary Diet session last year enacted a bill to address the needs of hepatitis patients as well as a bill to establish a fund for comprehensive aid for atomic bomb survivors suffering from illnesses caused by exposure to atomic bomb radiation. The bill to relieve hepatitis patients had been shelved many times due to the old party politics practiced by both the LDP and the DPJ. In the extraordinary Diet session, it was initially thought by many that it would be difficult to get the bill enacted. But thanks to the struggle led by the hepatitis plaintiffs and the suffering patients themselves, the bill was at last enacted. This is also an event that clearly reflected the emerging political situation created by an activated citizenry.
I also want to explain our understanding of the relationship between the “transitional situation” and the DPJ-led government. The public demand for political change can exert a positive pressure on the government. If the government implements policies that go against the demands of the public, the public will begin new explorations for a party that they can entrust their aspirations to for a fundamental change in politics.
The government is in disarray over the issue of U.S. military bases in Okinawa. It has decided to defer the abolition of the discriminatory health insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and over. On the Worker Dispatch Law, it suggests postponing the revision of the law, even with the compromises incorporated in its proposed bill. It runs the administration in an authoritarian manner. It is also plagued with the issue of political corruption associated with money politics. These problems associated with the new government are disappointing many people who helped to vote them into power. However, it does not simply mean that such a disappointment will help the LDP return to power. It can signify a current moving toward a quest for a more progressive turn in politics.
As regards the relationship between the “transitional situation” and the DPJ-led government, I want to draw your attention to the following sentence in the draft Resolution: “The transitional character of the DPJ-led government is a reflection of the transitional nature of the present political situation in an early stage of evolution.” Thus, the draft Resolution argues that the DPJ came to power as a reflection of the new situation that people’s power created, and is thus just a reflection of an early stage of political evolution. This statement is meant to express our conviction that the people’s quest for a change in politics will inevitably grow regardless of how the new government evolves or changes. We should not narrow our perspective just by seeing what the government is doing, but should firmly maintain the position to grasp the whole political situation based on what people are aiming for.
During the pre-Congress discussions, many expressed conviction in the JCP’s foresight and its role in paving the way for a new period of change in Japan’s politics. One party member in the discussions said that he is impressed by the JCP’s power to anticipate what will happen in the future, adding that he realized this when he reread the previous Congress Resolution recently. He admitted that he had overlooked this important point when he had read it four years ago.
The JCP 24th Congress was held after a general election in which the LDP-Komei Party government led by then Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro swept two-thirds of the House of Representatives seats by calling for the privatization of the postal services as the main issue. This may have led many people to worry even more about Japan’s future. At that Party Congress, we pointed out in the Resolution that if the numerous government lies and deceptions were exposed, a major political change would be inevitable. Some said that the JCP was just talking tough as usual. However, the political developments since then have corroborated what the JCP 24th Congress predicted.
The Resolution adopted by that Congress as the Koizumi government was implementing its so-called “structural reform policy,” invoked the power of solidarity in the struggle against neoliberalism to resolve poverty and economic inequalities. We are convinced that the struggle of the JCP working hand in hand with the people has contributed a great deal to moving the situation forward.
It is clear that the source of JCP foresight and role is found in the JCP Program. The Report on the Revision of the JCP Program to the JCP 23rd Congress in 2004 emphasized “the need to grasp the situation at its core” as the focal point of recognition based on the Program. The Report states: “Adverse changes may often occur in the political superstructure,” but stressed: “As long as these contradictions persist between the regime and the people, it is inevitable for the people to seek a way out on a national scale, no matter what zigzags there may be in the development of the situation.”
The increase in contradictions between the ruling class system and the public interest have now come into focus and have given rise to the major current involving a massive quest for political change. This is what is now taking place.
Based on the JCP Program, we have foreseen what was bound to happen and worked hard to move things forward in the right direction. This has been a great help in bringing about this new period in Japanese politics. Let’s have a deep conviction in this possibility for fundamental change and move forward together.
Part Two sets forth what the JCP will do under the political circumstances of a transitional character. Let me first explain the characteristics of the structure of this part.
Section 5 of the draft Resolution deals with the process of the quest on the part of the public for political change under the transitional situation and explains that the public gains its political awareness and capabilities through political experiences based on the need to achieve keen demands. The draft Resolution explains that the JCP’s task is to help promote this process.
In sections 6, 7, 8 and 9, we put forward three tasks the JCP should take under the present situation of a transitional character. The first is to move politics forward in response to people’s demands. The second is to put an end to the “two aberrations,” namely Japan’s extraordinary subservience to the United States and the tyrannical rule of the business circles and large corporations, and to win a national consensus to work to build a new Japan in which people are the key players as set out in the JCP Program. The third is to prevent Japanese politics from turning reactionary.
After discussing the main points of the three tasks, the last section of Part Two states as follows: “If the JCP successfully fulfills these tasks, Japanese politics can positively find a progressive way out of the present political situation of transitional character and pave the way for conditions for establishing a democratic coalition government, a democratic government under which the people will be the key players.” After reading Part Two, you will understand the ambitious goal of creating a democratic coalition government.
Under the present political situation of a transitional character, we should give priority to people’s demands without imposing the JCP’s position in carrying out activities, and should maintain the attitude of exploring new ideas together with them. In other words, while taking into account the dynamic process in which people’s understanding develops, we have to work to help advance this process. While the JCP is aiming to establish a new Japan in which people are the key players, we want to stress that the key players to accomplish this task are also the people themselves.
Only by firmly maintaining this approach can the JCP win wider support from the public and achieve progressive change in Japanese politics. Part Two is based on the fundamental political position the JCP should maintain under the current situation of a transitional character.
Section 7 deals with the struggle to end Japan’s subservience to the United States and build a truly independent and peaceful Japan. The issue of U.S. military bases in Okinawa has been a hot topic in national politics recently.
The draft Resolution states that in the 21st century world, military alliances, which should be regarded as “remnants of the 20th century,” are anachronistic and that the Japan-U.S. military alliance has no parallel in the world in the sense that it is marked by Japan’s extraordinary subservience to the United States as well as by its unequal nature. The issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa is its most typical manifestation.
On November 8, 2009, 21,000 Okinawans held a rally and expressed their demand that the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station be closed down and removed immediately. They also made clear their rejection of both the construction of a new base at the Henoko district and the relocation of the Futenma base to anywhere within the prefecture. Okinawans resolved to further develop their struggle for an “Okinawa without military bases.” A crucial momentum for their struggle was given by the decisive verdict delivered on the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties to step down because these parties had tried to force Okinawans to accept the policy of relocating U.S. bases within Okinawa. The popular verdict by the House of Representatives general election further convinced Okinawans that it is possible to change politics if the people raise their voices and that it is possible to even move U.S. military bases out of the prefecture if Okinawans unite in raising their voices.
Faced with the growing anti-base movement, the Hatoyama government has been wavering and is in a state of disarray. Last December, the ruling parties gave up on their plan to reach a settlement by the end of the year 2009 and decided to look for a replacement site. This should be understood from two aspects.
One is that the Hatoyama government is under public pressure not only from Okinawa but nationwide, not to betray his party’s election promise that the Futenma base would be moved out of Okinawa or even out of Japan. In October 2009, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates came to Japan and arrogantly urged Japan to make an early settlement in accordance with the existing plan. Both Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya and Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi began to claim that “relocation within Okinawa is the only viable option” and called for a “settlement by the end of the year.” Unable to revoke the election promise to move the Futenma base out of the prefecture or out of Japan, the prime minster was forced to further delay the final decision. This is the result of people’s power in Okinawa and nationwide.
The solution is not yet in sight. The biggest problem with the plan of the government and ruling parties is the following: they still cling to the policy of returning the Futenma base site on condition that Futenma operations are relocated to some other place. They are looking for a replacement without any viable prospect. We hear such names as Shimojishima Island or Iejima Island. Do they think these are uninhabited islands? It’s no joke. Hardships and sufferings caused by the Futenma base will not be reduced no matter where it is moved, either within Okinawa or to mainland Japan. The current government approach will never be conducive to a true solution. We can tell this from the fact that nothing has happened to the Futenma base in the last 13 years since the Japan-U.S Special Action Committee on Okinawa agreed to impose on Okinawa the relocation of the U.S. military base.
Furthermore, the government and ruling parties have not given up on the plan to construct a new U.S. base in Henoko. They have earmarked a budget for the base construction and the environmental impact assessment. We must not slow down our struggle against the new base construction that entails the destruction of the beautiful sea off Henoko.
In talks with Prime Minister Hatoyama on December 14 last year, I urged him to honor the Okinawans’ wish to solve the problem satisfactorily. He said, “The agreement with the United States is in place. We also need to carefully consider the wishes of Okinawans who have long endured hardships. I hope both points are recognized because they are equally important. We are at a loss as to how we can solve the problem. I would be glad if the JCP could provide me with a good idea.” In response, I told him that if the government really wants to solve the Futenma problem, it must break away from its position of making its return conditional on the construction of a replacement, and that it must negotiate in earnest with the United States its unconditional closure. The prime minister only said, “I am glad to listen to JCP opinions, but we cannot ignore the security concerns and the need for deterrence. We cannot have a successful negotiation if we demand the unconditional removal of U.S. military bases.”
The prime minister says Okinawan demands and the Japan-U.S. agreement are equally important, but they are incompatible. The government of a sovereign state would give priority to the wishes of its citizen.
The prime minister insists that they cannot have a successful negotiation if they demand the unconditional removal of the base. However, making the return conditional on providing alternative locations or relocation within Okinawa has no future. I want to stress that entering into serious negotiations with the United States for the unconditional withdrawal of U.S. military forces in Japan is the position Japan should take, even if it may appear difficult.
The Hatoyama government cannot take a step forward in starting such negotiations with the United States because it is tied to outdated arguments as revealed by his remarks in Diet interpellations as well as in our recent talks: “The Marine Corps is necessary as a deterrence force” and “we are bound by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.”As far as it refuses to demand unconditional removal of U.S. military bases in Japan, there is no difference from the line of the former governments.
The government cites Japan’s peace and security as the reason for its claim that the presence of the U.S. Marine Corps is necessary as deterrence. What is the reality? The U.S. Marine Corps have been tasked to spearhead U.S. military interventions as strike forces in preemptive attacks. U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa have been sent to the illegal Iraq War, and were involved in the massacre of civilians in Falluja. The U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Japan are not at all a “deterrent” defending Japan’s peace and security but are the forces of aggression threatening peace in Asia and the rest of the world. The government must make clear that Japan will no longer allow forward based attack forces to remain either in Okinawa or anywhere in Japan.
When it comes to the government claim that Japan is bound by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the JCP maintains that the U.S. military base problem can only be solved by abrogating the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The Philippines and Ecuador, for example, had U.S. military bases removed from their countries although they had U.S. military alliances or treaty arrangements for military cooperation. There is no reason to believe that Japan cannot do the same.
We cannot solve the problem just by procrastinating or fiddling with the problem, claiming to be bound by these outdated arguments. The “transformation and realignment of the U.S. forces” pushed forward since the previous U.S. administration has increased burdens on local people and strengthened the functions of U.S. military bases in Japan, contrary to their claim that it will “reduce burdens on local communities” (“U.S.-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation,” May 1, 2006). This is clearly revealed with the actual situation in Okinawa, including at Futenma Air Station and Kadena Air Force Base, as well as at other U.S. bases throughout the country where military base functions have been strengthened with shameless impudence.
As regards the U.S. Marine Corps, the Security Consultative Committee document in 2005, entitled “Japan-U.S. Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future,” openly called for “a strengthening of Marine Corps crisis response capabilities and a redistribution of those capabilities among Hawaii, Guam and Okinawa” to “strengthen its force structure in the Pacific.” Thus, the document put forward as the major policy of the realignment plan the strengthening of the U.S. Marine Corps in Hawaii, Guam and Okinawa as a whole. The logic to justify this all is found in the argument that U.S. forces, including the Marine Corps, are necessary to maintain deterrence.
This being the fact, the Japanese government cannot solve the problem if it is bound by the old arguments claiming the importance of “deterrence” and “the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty” and continues to attempt to gain favor with the United States. Only when the government represents Okinawans’ voices and stands united with their struggles, can negotiations with the United States for the unconditional closure and removal of the Futenma Air Station for the sake of realizing an Okinawa without military bases take place. We demand that the new government take a step forward in that direction.
In order to force the Japanese government to take this position, applying pressure through popular struggles is essential. Let us start a nationwide struggle demanding an “Okinawa without U.S. military bases” and a “Japan without U.S. military bases” by increasing the solidarity between the people in Okinawa and on mainland Japan.
The struggle against the U.S. bases in Okinawa is a typical example of how people’s
awareness and capabilities to change politics will be increased through political experiences starting from their own struggle to achieve their pressing demands.
Many Okinawans are beginning to understand that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty itself must be called into question in order to change the present situation of injustice and suffering. This is a significant development. Recent opinion polls in Okinawa show that a majority of the respondents are in favor of a drastic review of the treaty. When I had a talk with the head of a municipality suffering under the yoke of U.S. bases, he said, “I want the JCP to take the lead in getting the Diet to discuss whether the Japan-US Security Treaty is actually necessary.” This left me with a deep impression.
This is the 50th year since the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was revised. At this juncture, the JCP will exert efforts on the following three points so that the call for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty becomes the demand of the majority of the public:
First, starting from people’s demands for peace, we will mobilize the public for the struggle to overcome one by one the “abnormal features of the Japan-U.S. security alliance which have no parallel” in the world.
The draft Resolution states, “The Japan-U.S. military alliance has the (…) abnormal features, which have no parallel even among the four U.S.-led military alliances.” It examines the full scope of Japan’s abnormal subservience from the following seven aspects:
Land area occupied by U.S. military bases and facilities and the number of U.S. troops; the deployment of strike forces such as the U.S. Marine Corps and aircraft carriers; repetition of accidents and crimes involving U.S. military personnel, and the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement that gives U.S. forces extraterritorial rights; Japan as the world’s most generous host nation by bearing the costs of the stationing of the U.S. forces in Japan; the “prior consultation” arrangements as a fiction invented to deceive the people; strengthening of military cooperation on a global scale under the name of “transformation and realignment”; and the institutionalization of Japan’s economic subordination to the United States.
All these problems must be attended to without delay even before the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. As we work to overcome these aberrant features, let us redouble our effort to mobilize the public to call into question the maintenance of the treaty itself.
Second, the draft Resolution states that in the last half century, the number of people living under military alliances has fallen sharply to 16 percent from 67 percent of the world's population. While many countries broke away from military alliances, regional communities of peace that are open and without conceived potential enemies are spreading across the world. The world is undergoing a major change.
It is important to make clear to a broader section of people that in the 21st century, clinging to a military alliance is contrary to the world current and that it militates against establishing peace in Japan and the rest of the world. As the new government as well as former ones is unmotivated to reconsider the raison d’etre of military alliances against the backdrop of the world current, the JCP must undertake the important task to make known and share this understanding with a wider range of people.
Third, as the draft Resolution states, “As we work to help develop a truly peaceful atmosphere in East Asia, we must make efforts to create a national consensus on the need to abrogate the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.”
To resolve the North Korea issue, we must work to help the “Six-Party Talks” framework be reactivated, though that may not be easy. It is important to use this multilateral framework to seek a comprehensive resolution of the pending issues of nuclear programs, abductions, the missile program, and historical questions. The Six-Party Talks should be developed into a framework for peace and stability in Northeast Asia. It is to be noted that the United States and China have been increasing their diplomatic efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks. The JCP calls on the government to formulate a viable diplomatic strategy to settle the issues associated with North Korea and undertake sincere diplomatic initiatives.
Half a century has passed since the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Japan’s extraordinary subservience to the United States has no parallel in the world. No forces who are bent on maintaining such a system far into the future are qualified to discuss Japan’s independence or peace.
On the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, we would like to express our firm determination that the JCP will exert its wisdom and might to make widely known to the public the consequences of the alliance, thus increasing public opinion calling for the abrogation of the treaty.
Section 8 of the draft Resolution discusses a reform to end the “tyrannical rule of the business circles and large corporations” which has no parallel in the world, and to build “an economy governed by rules” in defense of people’s rights and livelihoods. The draft Resolution analyzes Japan’s extraordinary situation described as “capitalism without rules” in comparison with “what has been achieved in major capitalist countries in Europe and through international conventions.” It stresses that turning Japanese society into an economy governed by rules “is also the most efficient way for the Japanese economy to overcome its current crisis and achieve stable economic growth based on a sound household economy thereby increasing domestic demand and spending.”
In this report, I want to stress that building an economy governed by rules provides an urgent and basic prescription for a breakthrough in the present economic crisis.
Japan’s economy and people’s livelihoods are in deep crisis. The employment conditions, shown in both the unemployment rate and the ratio of job offers to job seekers, hit the worst-ever level. Over 13,000 small- and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of the Japan’s economy, went bankrupt in 2009, and about 10,000 workers are being thrown out of work every month because of bankruptcies.
We consider the present global economic crisis as a combination of a financial crisis and an overproduction crisis. What we are seeing in Japan is an overproduction crisis. This is verified by the fact that the government itself recognizes that the gap between demand and supply has reached as much as 40 trillion yen, nearly 10 percent of Japan’s GDP.
Japan’s economic crisis is more acute than any other developed capitalist country. According to an economic forecast by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Japan’s real economic growth rate was minus 5.3 percent in 2009, showing the largest decline among the seven major industrialized countries. What is the reason for such a sharp decline in the country’s economy and people’s livelihoods? It is closely connected with the extraordinariness of Japan’s economy characterized by “capitalism without rules.”
Large corporations’ huge profits are not reflected in workers’ incomes and therefore do not help improve their livelihoods. This situation has been developing since during the “low-rate economic growth” period that began in the 1980s. In the past decade, in particular, an abnormal situation has been developing in which major corporations have made record profits while workers’ wages have continued to decline.
Looking back over the past ten years, large corporations increased profits between 1999 and 2000 as well as between 2002 and 2007, and for five years between 2003 and 2007, in particular, they continued to reap record profits every year.
During the same period, however, employee compensation decreased year after year, from 280 trillion yen in 1997, down to 253 trillion yen in 2009, a total decrease of 27 trillion yen, or about 10 percent. Surprisingly, this is the level at the time of 1992, 18 years ago.
Such a major decline in the amount of employee compensation is seen only in Japan among the major capitalist countries. Japan is the only country that saw a decrease in the amount provided for employee compensation during the past 10 years from 1997 to 2007 among 28 comparable OECD countries. Japan is the only country among the world’s major countries that saw a continuous fall in workers’ real wages for more than ten years.
As a result, internal reserves amassed by large corporations have increased sharply since 1998, almost doubling to 400 trillion yen in the last ten years. Nearly half of this has been accumulated by major corporations with a capital of 1 billion yen or more.
Huge profits amassed by large corporations are not returned to working people and are accumulated as colossal corporate internal reserves. This has led to a sharp decrease in the household economy and in domestic demand, reducing the Japanese economy to a fragile one mainly depending on foreign demand.
This is a clear example of the inviability of “capitalism without rules.” The huge internal reserves have been accumulated by large corporations at the cost of people’s livelihoods and smaller businesses, and their sweat and blood through various cuts in labor costs. These include replacing full-time workers with contingent workers, the growth of disposable labor, and dismissals and wage cuts affecting full-time workers, all by playing off deregulations in labor law; and cutting down unit prices for small- and medium-sized parts suppliers.
The “maizokin cash reserves” is a focus of controversy at present. But the colossal internal reserves held by major corporations are the very largest “cash reserves” that need to be returned to the public. We do not demand that they return all of their internal reserves. We need a change in policy to use a part of major corporations’ internal reserves to create jobs and improve the economic position of small- and medium-sized companies as well as society as a whole. This can only be made possible by establishing a mechanism to ensure that major corporations fulfill their minimal social responsibilities. To this end, we demand that the following policies be implemented:
A drastic revision of the Worker Dispatch Law should be made to turn contingent workers to full-time workers;
Unemployment insurance should be substantially increased so that job seekers can look for jobs without worries;
Unpaid overtime work should be eliminated, the right of workers to paid holidays be strictly guaranteed, and the five-day work week be fully implemented;
The minimum wages should drastically be raised while taking appropriate measures to support smaller businesses; and
Unit prices paid to parts suppliers should be raised to appropriate levels to ensure their survival.
These are main tasks to be implemented for realizing an economy governed by rules. This would help ease the crisis affecting people’s livelihoods and businesses, and put the Japanese economy on a path toward sound recovery and development by boosting the household economy and domestic demand. I want to stress that these are urgent and fundamental prescriptions for a breakthrough in the present economic crisis.
We also need a basic overhaul of the system of taxation and social security.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry reported that the rate of Japan’s relative poverty stands at 15.7 percent, the worse-ever since 1997. Its poverty rate ranks the fourth from the bottom among the 31 OECD member states, only after Mexico, Turkey, and the United States.
According to an OECD report, Japan ranks the worst among all the member countries in effecting a redistribution of national income through taxation. It also ranks the third from the bottom effecting a redistribution of national income through public social welfare programs after South Korea and the United States. This shows that Japan is one of the countries with the weakest systems in place to redress gaps between rich and poor through taxation and social welfare programs. Here we can find the true picture of Japan, typical of capitalism without rules.
The former LDP-Komei Party government is responsible for this abnormality brought about by its economic policy of cutting funding for social welfare programs and increasing taxes for the majority of the population while continuing its policy of tax cuts for the wealthy and major corporations. A drastic policy change is needed in the following areas:
We demand the immediate abolition of the discriminatory health insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and over, and a sound policy to address the various problems caused by the policy of cutbacks in social services.
We demand an end to the “beneficiary-pays principle” in social services. We call for reducing the burdens to beneficiaries for fees paid for social services, including medical care and nursing care for the elderly and services for the disabled with a view to ultimately making them free of charge.
We demand an end to the policy of surrendering the provision of social security services to large corporations that seek maximizing their profits, thus leaving them to market forces and privatized entities. Instead, the government must improve nursing care for the elderly, childcare, medical care and pension services under its own responsibility.
We demand a major change in the taxation system that favors large corporations and the wealthy toward rebuilding a democratic and progressive taxation system based on the “ability-to-pay principle.”
These are the main points of our reform plan, urgently needed to restore a democratic taxation system and improving social services and to ensure the just redistribution of national income and redressing economic inequalities. They are also important for protecting people’s livelihoods and business operations against the serious economic crisis and for promoting sound economic development through boosting domestic demand.
We will make every effort to realize the pressing demands of the public at large and make a breakthrough in improving their livelihoods and businesses under the present economic crisis. We will also publicize our efforts in order to promote understanding among the general public that the principal cause of their difficulties comes from the arbitrary rule by major corporations and the business circles representing them, and that establishing an economy governed by rules is a must to ensure our sound livelihoods.
By citing the examples of China and other Asian countries, Japan’s major corporations and the business circles are dismissing our demand that they fulfill their social responsibility. They claim that Japan’s international competitiveness would be eroded by forcing them to be more socially responsible. “International competitiveness” is used as a rhetorical device to allow them to increase profits at any cost.
However, European countries are also forced to take on China in international competition. Imports from China are just two or three percent of GDP in both Japan and European countries. There is no big difference between Japan and European countries in this regard. But in Europe, the minimum wage per hour is over a thousand yen. In Germany and France, taxes and social insurance contributions paid by corporations are 1.2 or 1.3 times higher than in Japan. While paying higher wages, taxes, and social insurance contributions than Japan, major corporations in these countries are highly competitive in the global market. There is thus no reason to claim that Japan alone cannot survive in this situation.
We must also review the entire Japanese economy. We can clearly see that the lack of domestic demand, particularly in the household economy, is hampering Japan’s economic development. Major corporations are to blame for this. They have deprived people of their purchasing power by means of cutting in labor costs, promoting deregulation, and avoiding paying taxes and contributing to social insurance premiums. If major corporations continue to operate with their arbitrary behavior under the name of “international competitiveness,” the household economy and domestic demand will be further depressed. This would close the door to Japan’s sound economic development. If Japan’s economy collapses, there would be no future for Japanese corporations either.
Labor-cost savings by replacing full-time workers with contingent workers do not promote sound business management in the long run because they deprive workers of their pride in manufacturing and inhibit their technical development, though they may produce profits in the short term.
Let’s challenge the self-centered argument of the business circles and the large corporations they represent to evade their social responsibility by demystifying the rhetoric of “international competitiveness.”
How should we evaluate the policy of the DPJ government in regard to the economic crisis? The government draft budget for FY 2010 and its measures to deal with economic problems include some positive elements on some policies due to strong public pressure, but have the following weaknesses:
First, the government shows no willingness to make large corporations fulfill their social responsibility in accordance with their ability to do so.
The government will submit a bill to revise the Worker Dispatch Law to the upcoming ordinary Diet session, but it contains two huge loopholes. Furthermore, a revised law with these loopholes will be put on hold for three to five years. At present, many large corporations are pursuing their short-term profits by continuing to dismiss temporary workers, while carrying out cost-cutting measures by increasing their use of disposable labor, including temporary workers, to cover sporadic increases in production. In this situation, revising the Worker Dispatch Law in the interest of workers is an urgent task. If they continue to use temporary workers in the manufacturing sector or postpone adopting and implementing a revised law, this would be a grave retreat for workers under the yoke of large corporations.
As a political party that has worked hard for decent livelihoods and working conditions, the JCP urges the government to make a drastic change in its policy without delay to force major corporations to fulfill their social responsibility, including shifting their employment policy from one of using temporary workers to one using full-time workers.
Second, in the face of the negative effects brought about by the former government’s cutbacks in social welfare programs, the new government’s policy has some serious weaknesses.
More and more people are angry about the government’s decision to postpone for four years the repeal of the discriminatory health insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and over, saying that it will abolish the system after a new one is established. Also, on the “beneficially-pays system” under the self-support assistance law for the disabled, the government had said that 30 billion yen is enough to eliminate the burden imposed on the majority of the disabled, but it just allocated one-third of the money needed to do so. The government is leaving the law halfway done. On the other hand, due to strong public demand, the government reinstated additional benefits to single-mother households living on welfare. This is some progress, but it at the same time ignores the public demand for the reinstatement of additional benefits for the elderly living on welfare. This is entirely unacceptable.
Furthermore, instead of reducing the number of children on the waiting list for child care centers by building a sufficient number of authorized child care centers, the government intends to further ease regulations even in this area and abandon its responsibility for providing child care services. Thus, the government is attempting to continue and expand the “structural reform policy” in these areas.
We demand that the government change its policy to improving social welfare programs without postponing necessary decisions or taking halfway measures. It should not abandon its responsibility to the public.
The third point at issue is in regard to fiscal resources. The current government’s argument regarding this issue has the following serious weaknesses:
First, the government is not thoroughly examining actual wastes that had been created by the LDP government. The government projected in the FY 2010 draft budget an increase in military expenditure. In particular, the “sympathy budget” for the stationing of U.S. forces and the budget for the “realignment” of the U.S. forces have been increased by 50 billion yen to a record high. Large-scale public works projects, such as the hub harbor construction project and the Tokyo Metropolitan expressway construction project, remain in place.
Second, the government is reluctant to fundamentally revise its excessively preferential treatment of large corporations and the wealthy. It has decided to continue to give large corporations tax breaks for research and development programs as well as for profits from capital gain. It is not reviewing the maximum tax rate for the income tax or for the inheritance tax.
Because it has treated these two areas as sacrosanct, the government in compiling the FY 2010 draft budget had to depend on the issuance of a huge amount of national bonds amounting to over 44 trillion yen, and on as much as 8 trillion yen of temporary “maizokin cash reserves.” This is nothing less than a stopgap budget measure without a revenue projection after the next fiscal year. If the situation remains unchanged, the government will have to impose even heavier tax burdens on the general public by abolishing the spouse and dependent deductions on taxable incomes, which the government has shelved this time due to public opposition, and by increasing the regressive consumption tax rate.
It is a very serious matter of concern that the Cabinet ministers of the Hatoyama government began talking one after another about the need to discuss an increase in the consumption tax. I call on you to increase and support movements in opposition to an increase in the consumption tax.
I want to emphasize that only by making a drastic reform of the budgetary policy, i.e. cutting back on military spending and preferential treatment of large corporations and the wealthy, will the way be secured to obtain the revenue resources needed to support people’s livelihoods without having to continue to depend on the consumption tax.
In establishing an “economy governed by rules,” the most important point to keep in mind is that the “people’s struggle has the power to establish rules.”
During recent years, struggles against the disposable use of labor, symbolized by temporary workers, have greatly advanced. Since the autumn of 2008, workers across the country stood up against the massive dismissals of temporary workers by major corporations by forming or joining trade unions. This is of historic significance in that they waged struggles with courage against the unlawful lay-offs and termination of contracts during their contract terms. They continue to fight in various ways, such as filing claims with labor bureaus, engagement in collective bargaining, and in court struggles. The struggles are continuing to spread. The JCP expresses its heartfelt solidarity with all workers and trade unions that stood up for decent working conditions, and renews its determination to work together to stand up for and achieve workers’ rights.
These struggles have brought to light the problems inherent in the existing Worker Dispatch Law in that the law is not designed for the protection of workers but for the protection of companies being supplied with temporary workers. This has also made clear how they should have the law revised to protect workers’ interests. The struggle is to change the course of development from the deregulation of labor laws to tightening them. All this shows that the struggle of people united has the power to establish rules for decent working conditions.
We are happy to see more and more workers developing their class consciousness and growing stronger through unity. In the “Working Day” of “Capital,” Marx said that workers, who underwent a significant struggle demanding factory acts for regulating working hours, increase their class consciousness and come out of the process of production as different beings from what they were at the time they entered it. In other words, they are different from what they have been. In today’s Japan, more and more workers, including those who held themselves responsible for their slavish working conditions, are uniting and developing their class consciousness through their struggles to eliminate the disposable use of labor. I want to stress that this is where the power to open up a promising future for Japanese society exists.
Let us organize further struggles in various fields affecting our livelihoods and establish an “economy governed by rules” through the power of these struggles.
Section 9 of the draft Resolution, “We will prevent reactionary policies from reviving,” reads as follows:
“We describe the present political situation as ‘transitional.’ This means that a new political situation emerged as a result of the recent electoral verdict but that we are not sure how it will evolve because its direction will be determined by public influence as expressed by increased public awareness and pressures exerted by social movements, and by the balance of political power. We must never underestimate the danger that the attempt to push back the present positive political development into the old political framework consisting of two aberrations as outlined above may emerge.”
The draft Resolution gave such a warning because a series of undemocratic features have come to the fore under the DPJ government, in addition to the possibility of the LDP making a comeback.
The draft Resolution discussed these points from four angles: (1) “Diet reform” in the name of ending dependence on bureaucracy; (2) the business circles’ blueprint for turning Japan into an authoritarian state; (3) a move to reduce the number of proportional representation seats in the House of Representatives; and (4) the present situation of Japanese mass media.
Since the draft Resolution was issued, there has been a serious attempt by the DPJ to submit a bill to revise the Diet Act to the upcoming ordinary Diet session and have it adopted.
The bill aims to abolish the practice of summoning government officials to give responses to questions in the Diet and to prohibit bureaucrats from answering Dietmembers’ questions during Diet debates. In addition, the bill will also ban the Cabinet Legislation Bureau director-general from answering questions in the Diet, by exempting the office of director-general from the category of “special assistants to the government.” These assistants have been composed of the head of the National Personnel Authority and the chair of the Japan Fair Trade Commission together with the Cabinet Legislation Bureau director-general, all of whom have been required to respond to questions posed in the Diet.
The most dangerous point in this move is, as the draft Resolution states, that the DPJ aims to have “the freedom to change the interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution under the pretext that politicians must take the lead so that they can freely impose their peculiar constitutional interpretations on the Diet. [This] will pave the way for making it constitutional for Japan to allow the SDF to use force abroad, something even the past LDP governments avoided adopting on the ground that it is unconstitutional.”
The JCP strongly opposes the dangerous attempts to change interpretations of Article 9 of the Constitution to pave the way for making Japan a “war-fighting nation.” We call on you to wage struggles with renewed determination to defend Article 9, a treasure we are proud to hold up to the world.
Another recent event of note was the abnormal Diet situation created by the DPJ when it hastily railroaded through a bill on financial support for small- and medium-sized businesses, the first bill submitted by the new government. Even before holding any interpellation of unsworn witnesses, the DPJ had proposed putting the bill to vote immediately after the interpellation and used the force of majority to railroad it through. This was a clear disregard of the Diet’s democratic rules, making an interpellation of experts meaningless.
In response, the LDP repeatedly boycotted Diet deliberations while the JCP made an effort to normalize Diet proceedings by severely criticizing the DPJ’s authoritarian methods and by continuing to participate in the deliberations to make clear to the public the problems associated with the bills.
The DPJ’s violation of democratic rules in Diet proceedings goes far beyond the fact that the DPJ replaced the LDP. This was a reflection of the DPJ’s intention in the actual steering of the Diet with the aim of establishing an authoritarian state, as explained in the draft Resolution. Strong criticism and warnings are necessary against such a move.
What will happen if an authoritarian state is allowed to come into being that rejects the authority and role of the Diet as the highest organ of state power and which introduces a drastic reduction in the proportional representation seats in the House of Representatives, the only electoral system that accurately reflects the people’s will in the Diet? A system would be established that would enable any force in power to freely carry out adverse policies that destroy peace, democracy, and people’s livelihoods, including the textual revision of the Constitution’s Article 9 and increases in the consumption tax.
In particular, the DPJ made public in its election “Manifesto” its promise to decrease the number of proportional representation seats in the House of Representatives by the next general election. Therefore, regardless of the DPJ’s present stated position on this issue, it is important for us to immediately launch struggles to prevent it. We call on all parties, organizations, and individuals to join forces with us to rise in a nationwide struggle to stop this reactionary attempt to weaken our system of democracy.
The JCP will take on this task of critical importance to block the move to implement repressive policies, and protect and develop the constitutional principles, i.e. the people’s sovereignty and parliamentary democracy.
Section 10 of the draft Resolution states that if the JCP successfully fulfills three tasks under the transitional situation, “Japanese politics can positively find a progressive way out of the present political situation of transitional character and pave the way for conditions for establishing a democratic coalition government, a democratic government under which the people will be the key players.”
It also states that the JCP’s goal of democratic change will be achieved by the force of a united front, and that under the new situation created by the recent House of Representatives general election, conditions are developing for new national cooperation, namely a movement to create a united front.
This has been verified by the efforts made by the whole party after the draft Resolution was published.
The JCP head was for the first time invited to and gave a speech at the national assembly of the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-Zenchu) in October 2009 and at the general meeting of the National Federation of Forest Owners’ Cooperative Associations (Zenmoriren) in November 2009. This has increased the opportunities for us to develop dialogue and cooperation with farmers and members of agricultural cooperative unions across the country. Many of whom we met gave us their opinions, such as: “The JCP’s agricultural policies are closest to what we propose” or “We have a lot in common.” They also gave us their earnest requests to work for a revitalization of agriculture. As regards forestry, we have also promoted dialogue across the country, and many engaged in the forest industry expressed their empathy for our policy which sets forth a path toward developing a sustainable forestry program by taking full advantage of its potential to increase employment and protect the environment.
A dramatic change is also taking place among medical organizations. As the Japan Medical Association and the Japan Dental Association have critically reviewed their traditional support of the LDP, the JCP has developed dialogue with their local branches. The Japan Medical Association in its proposal published in October 2009 called for free medical care for children for the first time, in addition to a reduction in medical payments for each visit to hospitals, and a drastic increase in remuneration for medical treatment. It is significant that the association shares a wide range of policies with the JCP. We intend to develop cooperation with it based on the shared policies.
After the LDP stepped down from power, many organizations were set free from supporting the LDP, and they started dialogue with other parties. Then they found out what the JCP calls for is closest to their own proposals. This shows that people have started seeking a new engagement in politics and are developing their understanding through their own political experiences. Viewing this development with a broader perspective, let us work to develop national cooperation in many areas based on shared demands.
Regarding the present state of the labor movement and its prospects, I want to emphasize the following three points:
First, the effort to develop cooperation on common demands has developed also in the labor movement, and joint actions by unions of different national center affiliations are expanding in various fields. It is important to further advance this effort.
Through taking part in struggles opposing the dismissal of temporary workers in the middle of their contracts, or providing shelters during the New Year holidays for those who lost their jobs and homes, cooperation has increased between unions irrespective of national center affiliation and between people in various walks of life.
The General Federation of Private Railway and Bus Workers’ Unions of Japan (Shitetsu-soren) is demanding that full-time regular positions be offered to contingent workers who have worked at a given workplace for three years. This is a reflection of the effort of the progressive workers’ group “Private Railways Workers’ Solidarity Association” to concern themselves with the interests of contingent workers and persuade the union with reason and fair demands. They successfully had the union take up the demands of contingent workers due to the persistent joint struggle by the Association with the union.
Also, in relation to the struggle against the revision of the Fundamental Law of Education, it is important that teachers’ unions regardless of affiliation, i.e. the All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo) and the Japan Teachers’ Union (Nikkyoso), took part in joint actions throughout the country.
Second, I want to point out that, in realizing the demands of workers by further developing cooperation, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) leadership is called on to overcome its two main weaknesses: its support for a particular political party and its labor-management collaboration policy.
Rengo’s declared support for a particular party goes against the trade union movement’s principle of respecting unity of action on agreed common demands by all workers setting aside differences of ideology and belief. It violates the freedom to choose a political party to support, which is part of the basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution. It is also a stumbling block to the effort to expand common action to achieve common demands.
Under the deepening economic crisis, forces standing for labor-management collaboration cannot stand up to attacks from the business circles and large corporations which are trying to hold down wages as much as possible and launching massive dismissals including the layoffs of many temporary workers. It is only natural they are under severe criticism from many workers and from society as a whole.
Rengo, the largest national trade union center, mainly organizes full-time workers at large corporations. Rengo is earnestly called on to overcome its two critical weaknesses, namely, to stop forcing union members to support a particular party and break away from labor-management collaboration, and to consequently take part in common action with other unions with different affiliations with the aim to achieve workers’ pressing demands, including assistance to the unemployed, securing employment, securing full-time positions for contingent workers, increasing wages across the board, and redressing long and intensive working conditions.
Third, Zenroren has an even bigger role to play while celebrating its 20th anniversary, in advancing workers’ joint actions based on common demands.
Zenroren was founded as a national center open to all workers based on the democratic principles of the trade union movement, namely, unity of action based on workers’ common demands, independence from capital, and independence from political parties. The principle of organization that invites industrial federations and prefectural federations on an equal footing is a source of power to expand common actions based on demands at both the national and local levels.
In boldly demanding a wage increase during the economic crisis for all workers, Zenroren has indicated that it is possible for large corporations to raise wages if they use part of their huge amounts of internal reserves, and is calling on workers to carry on with the struggle. This helps to convince workers that their demand for a wage increase is legitimate. This direction is also important in putting the Japanese economy on a sound recovery track based on growth backed by household spending and domestic demand.
Taking advantage of participation by industrial federations and prefectural federations on an equal footing, which is its strong point in its organization, Zenroren has paid attention to the pressing issue of contingent workers and made efforts to organize them by developing the struggle against job destruction. Class conscious unions alone can take on such a task. Unions that have demanded the promotion of contingent workers are making efforts through open discussion and practices to overcome the argument that it is wrong for the union to take up problems of temporary workers who are not union members and that temporary workers are threatening full-time workers’ positions. It is suggestive that many union leaders are saying that this struggle has trained rank-and-file members as well as unions and that it has strengthened the unity of workers.
Throughout these struggles, media can no longer ignore Zenroren’s activities. Militant unions are now visible to many people. The day has come when many more people see trade unions favorably and recognize the need for them.
We hope that Zenroren will take advantage of these new favorable conditions to grow and achieve a new leap forward so that they will develop common action with other unions regardless of their affiliation and thus contribute to national cooperation on an unprecedented scale.
The draft Resolution touches upon the important role of the Association for a Peaceful, Democratic and Progressive Japan (Kakushinkon), which will observe its 30th anniversary in 2010. It also expresses the determination of the JCP, as the initiator of the movement, to exert all its wisdom and energy for its further development.
Let me quote from the concluding paragraph of Part two of the draft Resolution:
“That the JCP acquires sophisticated political and theoretical abilities, to reach out to a wide range of people of all social strata, to enhance its organizational strength, and to increase its political weight in both national and local politics, provides a decisive condition for developing a coming together of national struggles and the united front movement toward a new stage of political development. In this Congress being held in 2010 at a critical juncture, we renew our determination to dedicate ourselves to making this decade a historic turning point for JCP progress.”
The draft Resolution states that under the present transitional situation, the task for the JCP is to work hard to help Japanese politics break away from the two aberrations by building up power among the public to work to achieve this. To this end, we will increase our presence and engage in open dialogue with the public to help increase political awareness and capabilities. The present Japanese political situation demands that the JCP grow into a large party capable of fulfilling this task.
Let us make this decade a historic era of rapid JCP advances! With this as a slogan for the whole party, I call on you to work together to build up a large party and fulfill our historic responsibility.
Part Three examines the world undergoing a major change and the JCP position.
Looking back on the past four years since the previous Congress, the draft Resolution states, “Despite various twists and turns, the world is rapidly and vigorously moving toward peace and social progress, a direction that the JCP Program and the 24th Congress decision anticipated. This also verified that the JCP’s struggles to achieve social and economic justice in Japan go hand in hand with similar efforts worldwide.” In other words, the major current in international politics in many ways parallel our efforts in Japan. This is the outlook of the world set out in the draft Resolution.
The draft Resolution makes clear the JCP position on the following issues: how we analyze the U.S. Obama administration, the global spread of regional communities of nations for peace, moves for a democratic international economic order, how humanity can achieve a nuclear weapon-free world, and the development of the JCP’s opposition party diplomacy.
Section 12 of the draft Resolution states, “It has become increasingly important to grasp, with a broadened perspective and a factual grasp of reality, the most recent developments in the U.S. polity with the change in its administration.” It examines and clarifies the nature of the Obama administration from two angles, namely some positive changes taking place and the hegemony it persists in maintaining without change.
As regards its indication of positive changes, we have paid attention to a series of speeches delivered by President Obama on the elimination of nuclear weapons, a major global issue in international politics.
The draft Resolution analyzes the changes taking place in this area: President Obama put forward in his speech in Prague, the Czech Republic, on April 5, 2009, the U.S. national goal of “a world without nuclear weapons” for the first time as a U.S. president, and noted that the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an event that has a bearing on human morals. Thus, from this position, he asserted the U.S. responsibility to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The draft Resolution states, “The series of steps taken by the Obama administration on the nuclear weapons issue should be welcomed as a positive change despite some problems and limitations.”
After President Obama delivered his speech in Prague last year, I sent a letter to him on April 28, 2009, saying, “That you made such official declarations as a U.S. president is of historic significance for both humanity as a whole, and the people of the world’s only A-bombed country in particular, which I heartily welcome.”
At the same time, I would like to candidly point out that if President Obama really intends to work to realize what he promised to the world in Prague, he must overcome some “problems and limitations.”
The first point relates to what I stressed in my letter: in the speech, while the president called on the world to work for "a world without nuclear weapons," he said such a world will perhaps not be realized in his lifetime. I candidly conveyed to him in the letter that I cannot agree with him on this point because nuclear-weapon states have never engaged in international negotiations for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as the common goal. It might take a long time to proceed from a call for negotiations to their actual commencement and then to reach agreement and implementation, we must not set a timeframe in advance for how long this will take. I stated that there is one thing he can start now if he has the will to do so: to take the initiative as U.S. president for starting international negotiations aiming directly at the abolition of nuclear weapons. I strongly requested this in my letter and here again I would like to request him to work for the start of international negotiations to achieve this objective.
Another point I want to make is his position in regard to the “nuclear deterrence” argument. I took note that he did not use the term “nuclear deterrence” in his speech in Prague last year. I also paid close attention to his statement in Moscow on July 7, 2009. He said, “The notion that prestige comes from holding these weapons, or that we can protect ourselves by picking and choosing which nations can have these weapons, is an illusion.” In the International Meeting of the 2009 World Conference against A & H Bombs (Hiroshima on August 3), I expressed my appreciation for the significance of this statement.
President Obama, however, in his speech delivered on November 14 in Tokyo: “So long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a strong and effective nuclear deterrent that guarantees the defense of our allies including South Korea and Japan.” I was disappointed to hear this remark which contradicts his previous statement.
The United States as a nuclear superpower maintains an overwhelming nuclear force, nearly half of the world’s nuclear arsenal. It refuses the demand of the international community for a pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, and is carrying out aggressive nuclear strategies affecting the entire world. What will happen if such a country justifies its nuclear strategy under the name of “nuclear deterrence”? If the nuclear superpowers persist in this position, limitless nuclear proliferation will be unavoidable because this will give a pretext to countries threatened by nuclear strategy to work to possess nuclear weapons. As far as the nuclear superpowers persist in this position, we will live in a world threatened by a further proliferation of the presence of nuclear weapons, far from reaching “a world without nuclear weapons.” We are convinced that the “nuclear deterrence” argument by the nuclear superpowers is the biggest obstacle in the way to realizing “a nuclear weapons-free world.” The nuclear superpowers that bear the greatest responsibility for realizing “a world free of nuclear weapons” should break away from this argument. This is what is urgently demanded.
President Obama made a pledge to humanity in April last year in Prague for “a world without nuclear weapons.” The JCP requests once again that the pledge be carried out and that President Obama take the initiative for its realization.
The draft Resolution states: ‘‘Meanwhile, U.S. persistence in maintaining military hegemony is deep-rooted,’’ and makes the following two points:
The first point concerns the Afghanistan situation. Under the Obama administration, the United States has been intensifying its military intervention in Afghanistan. On December 1, 2009, the administration set forth a new strategy to deploy an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in early 2010. This will triple the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to around 100,000. The United States will strengthen its military offensive, and try to establish a security system led by the Afghan government and police forces so that the U.S. troops can start withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011. But the Afghan government’s own prediction claims that it would need another five years to take over security for the entire nation, thus it is unclear how long U.S. troops will actually stay in Afghanistan.
The JCP resolutely opposes this move. This will surely intensify the vicious cycle where the very presence of foreign troops itself causes resentment among local people and military operations increase the number of civilian victims, resulting in the increase of acts of terrorism and worsening security. I would like to stress that resolving the problem requires a shift from the current policy centered on military intervention to a diplomatic approach for peace.
The other point concerns the Japan-U.S. relationship. The draft Resolution states as follows:
‘‘With regard to the Japan-U.S. relationship, the Obama administration does not seem to intend to change its traditional policy of seeking hegemonic domination over Japan. This is partly due to the fact that the Japanese government does not appear to be making a fundamental policy change from its subservient approach to one in support of an equal relationship between the two countries. At the same time, we need to point out that the United States, under the Obama administration, still maintains its basic policy to move forward with the global realignment plan for U.S. forces to militarily interfere or intervene on a global scale, and to position Japan as a significant strategic forward base for interventions.’’
On November 13, 2009 in the joint press conference with the Prime Minister Hatoyama, President Obama said, ‘‘The United States and Japan are equal partners. We have been and we will continue to be.’’ The President also said on the following day in Tokyo, ‘‘In two months, our alliance will mark its 50th anniversary -- a day when President Dwight Eisenhower stood next to Japan’s Prime Minister and said that our two nations were creating ‘an indestructible partnership’ based on ‘equality and mutual understanding.’ In the half-century since, that alliance has endured as a foundation for our security and prosperity.’’ President Obama went on to quote then President Eisenhower’s statement made at the signing ceremony of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in January 19, 1960 in Washington. ‘‘This treaty represents the fulfillment of the goal set by Prime Minister Kishi and myself in June of 1957 to establish an indestructible partnership between our two countries in which our relations would be based on complete equality and mutual understanding.’’
The revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty half a century ago transformed the relationship between the two countries into a ‘‘completely equal partnership,” which has continued till now. This is the viewpoint that President Obama says he inherited from past U.S. presidents. What is the reality of the Japan-U.S. relationship? Among the many problems associated with this relationship, I would like to focus on a few major issues.
First, we can see with U.S. bases in Japan standards are applied that would be completely unacceptable in the United States.
In the United States, Federal Aviation Regulations require, for both civilian and military use, setting ‘‘Clear Zones’’ (restricted areas) extended from the ends of runways to restrict land development to ensure safety. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense sets stricter standards for ‘‘Clear Zones’’ for military airports that provide flight training to support combat operations than those for civilian airports, and includes detailed specifications such as for building standards. The Federal Aviation Regulations also oblige U.S. military airports abroad to establish ‘‘Clear Zones.’’ However, at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa, about 3,600 local people are living within what in the United States would be designated as a clear zone. In addition, about 800 residences and as many as 18 public facilities, including nursery schools and hospitals, are located within this area. U.S. regulations would not allow such a dangerous base to operate in its own country. How can it be allowed in Japan?
In Japan, night-landing practice (NLP) exercises by U.S. carrier borne aircraft are being carried out in populous areas around U.S. bases, such as Atsugi, Yokota, Misawa, Iwakuni and Kadena, and this causes serious hardships on local people’s lives and endangers their safety. In the United States, NLPs are prohibited in urban areas. In 2005, for example, a U.S. district court issued a permanent injunction against a plan for the construction of a facility for night-landing practice in North Carolina, in response to a lawsuit filed by local residents. In 2006, a referendum in Florida voted down a plan to accommodate carrier-based aircraft from the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia. Military exercises in populous areas prohibited in the United States have long been conducted in Japan, and have imposed unbearable suffering and the threat of accidents on the Japanese people. I wonder how that can be explained as a relationship based on equality.
Furthermore, low-altitude flight exercises by U.S. military aircraft are carried out all over Japan, causing enormous hardships on people and repeatedly causing accidents including air crashes. Japan’s Civil Aeronautics Act sets the minimum flight altitude at 300 meters in residential areas and 150 meters in nonresidential areas, but U.S. military aircraft are exempt from the application of the act. No restrictions are imposed on flight areas or altitude. They can keep their flight plans secret and conduct exercises all over the country as they wish.
In the United States, however, flight exercises are allowed only in Military Training Routes on Area Planning Charts publicly released by the U.S. Department of Defense. According to documents by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Military Training Routes can only be established after the following procedures are implemented: (1) environmental assessment research conducted on the effects on historical buildings and wildlife; (2) the military applies to the FAA for examination of the application; (3) the FAA carries out strict examination into the effects on local people’s lives and property; and (4) the FAA gives approval to the routes. In the United States, even a prior assessment of the exercise effects on wildlife is conducted before deciding on the Military Training Routes. There are no such restrictions in Japan. They care less about the effects on the Japanese people than those on U.S. wildlife. How can we accept this situation of gross inequality?
The differences in the designation of ‘‘clear zones’’ and the use of night-landing practice and low-altitude flight exercises clearly reveal the double standards applied to the U.S. military bases in Japan. How can this be characterized as an ‘‘equal partnership’’?
The second problem concerns the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. The prerogatives for the U.S. Forces in Japan vested by the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement induce inappropriate and even criminal behavior by U.S. military personnel, creating a breeding ground for rampant U.S. military related incidents and accidents, including felonies committed by the soldiers.
For example, the Japan-U.S. SOFA has a provision that even in a crime committed by a U.S. soldier over which Japan is to exercise jurisdiction, the custody of the accused shall, if he/she is in the hands of the U.S. Forces, remain with the U.S. Forces until he/she is prosecuted by Japanese authorities. When an Okinawan schoolgirl was raped by U.S. servicemen in 1995, the Japanese authorities were unable to arrest them or have them extradited, provoking outrage among the Japanese people.
The Japan-U.S. SOFA is indeed extraordinary if compared to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement Supplementary Agreement in Germany. Germany was defeated in World War II as was Japan, and was under occupation after the war, and it allowed foreign troops to be stationed there even after it gained independence. There is a difference between the NATO SOFA in Germany and the Japan-U.S. SOFA in that the former is a multilateral agreement and the latter a bilateral one, but the differences between the two are extreme. The contrast between the two became sharper as the NATO SOFA in Germany underwent revisions three times since the war’s end, while the Japan’s has never been revised.
Let us examine some differences. The first notable difference concerns local authorities’ access to U.S. military bases and their jurisdiction for official investigations. German authorities can gain access to U.S. bases after providing notification, and in emergency situations, they can gain immediate access without prior notification. If the public order or safety is being jeopardized, the German police may exercise their authority on the bases. In contrast, Japanese authorities under the Japan-U.S. SOFA are not allowed access to U.S. military bases or to exercise police authority therein without the agreement of the U.S. military.
How about military and training exercises outside military bases? In Germany, exercises off base, whether on land or in the air, are subject to the approval of German authorities. Moreover, these exercises are governed by relevant German law. The Japan-U.S. SOFA has no such provisions. The U.S. forces are conducting military and training exercises unhindered, without Japan’s consent and in disregard of Japanese law.
How about the entry and movement of U.S. troops? In Germany, entering and leaving Germany, and movement within Germany of U.S. military ships and aircraft are subject to the approval of the German government. Likewise the entry, exit or movement of members of U.S. forces and their dependents are also subject to German approval. The Japan-U.S. SOFA has no provisions for approval or permission on the entry, exit or movement of U.S. troops. In effect, they are free to enter or leave the country as they please.
How about procedures for environmental impact assessments? In Germany, U.S. Forces are obliged to carry out environmental impact assessments on all their projects. If detrimental effects are found, they are required to take appropriate measures to restore the original state of the environment affected. The Japan-U.S. SOFA, however, has no provisions that require the U.S. Forces to conduct environmental impact assessments.
In light of the existing situation of U.S. military bases in Japan, Japan can hardly be called an independent country with the U.S. military enjoying extraterritoriality. As compared to Germany, this finds expression in all areas including the following: the Japanese authorities’ access to U.S. military bases and police power therein denied; no restrictions on U.S. forces’ military and training exercises outside bases; Japanese authorities’ approval unnecessary for the entry, exit and movement of U.S. troops; and no U.S. obligation for environmental assessment. How can you explain this big difference between Japan and Germany? What is the meaning of “equal partners”?
The third problem is in regard to the fact that the United States has demanded time and again that Japan’s Constitution be revised.
The list of such demands is longer than I could list. Let us just cite some recent examples. In March 2004, then U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said as follows: “Revision of Article 9 of the Constitution is up to the Japanese people to decide, not the American,” but at the same time, “Article 9 of the Constitution is becoming an obstacle (to using military force to serve the Japan-U.S. alliance and international stability),” and “it may necessarily stick at a stage where coalition forces conduct joint operations”(Monthly Journal “Bungei Shunju,” March 2004). Thus, he openly demanded that Japan revise Article 9 of the Constitution.
In December 2005, Mr. Armitage again demanded that Japan revise Article 9 and exercise the right of collective self-defense, as follows: “In expanding its role abroad, Japan has become an even more noteworthy, global partner. A challenge for Japan, however, is to decide what type of global role it should play. In this context, I raise the issue of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution” (Yomiuri Shimbun, December 4, 2005).
Japan’s Constitution is the supreme law of the country and it is the Japanese people alone who have the right to decide on its revision. When U.S. high-ranking officials repeatedly demand a revision of Japan’s Constitution, especially article 9, labeling it as an “obstacle,” how can we call the relationship between the two sovereign countries normal? Is this proper behavior of an “equal partner”?
The situation brought about by the U.S. Forces in Japan, the parallel of which can never be accepted in the United States; prerogatives given to the U.S. Forces under the Japan-U.S. SOFA which are tantamount to virtual extraterritorial rights as compared to the NATO SOFA in Germany; and naked insult leveled at Japan’s Constitution and demand for its revision. All these examples tell us that what we are faced with is nothing less than Japan’s subservience to the United States, far from the relationship of “equal partners.” No one can deny it.
We would like to ask U.S. President Obama for one thing. If the term “equal partners,” a phrase used by himself is to have meaning, shouldn’t the abnormal relationship of domination-subservience be immediately rectified? We want true friendship with the United States, but it cannot be based on a relationship of domination and subservience. Only when we build an equal relationship in the true sense of the word, would we be able to establish genuine friendship between the governments and peoples of Japan and the United States. This is our firm belief. From this position, we call for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and in its place the conclusion of a Japan-U.S. Friendship Treaty on an equal footing. This is what the JCP Program calls for in the Japan-U.S. relationship in the 21st century.
We have deep respect for the great history of the United States, a country described by Karl Marx in his congratulatory message on the occasion of the reelection of President Lincoln in 1865 as “the very spots where (…) the idea of one great Democratic Republic had first sprung up, whence the first Declaration of the Rights of Man was issued, and the first impulse given to the European revolution of the eighteenth century.” We further recall that Lincoln expressed, in his reply to Marx the following year, his desire to have “respect and good will throughout the world” by doing “equal and exact justice to all states.”
I would like to stress that the United States would earn true respect worldwide only if it establishes equal and just relationships with all states including Japan, as Lincoln so eloquently called for.
In the final section of my report on international questions, let us present the JCP’s position on two issues of burning international concern.
The first task is to contribute to the development of the global movement aimed at achieving “a world without nuclear weapons.” In Section 15 of the draft Resolution, we ask the question, “How can humanity achieve a nuclear weapon-free world?” Referring to the recent world developments targeting the elimination of nuclear weapons, we assert that “swiftly starting international negotiations aiming directly at the abolition of nuclear weapons” will be critical. We want to emphasize that this consistent position of the party also conforms to that of the major current in international politics.
The U.N. General Assembly in December 2009 adopted by an overwhelming majority the resolution proposed by Malaysia calling for a start of negotiations for an early conclusion of a treaty banning and eliminating nuclear weapons: 124 in favor, 31 against and 21 abstentions. Among the countries possessing nuclear weapons, China, India and Pakistan supported the resolution. But the U.S., the U.K., France and Russia opposed it, showing that the position of the nuclear powers is critical in changing this situation. The Japanese government again abstained, which exposed its miserable ambivalent stance unbecoming to the A-bombed country.
In his October 2008 lecture entitled “The United Nations and Security in a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon referred to the nuclear weapons convention proposed by Malaysia and stated, “I urge all NPT parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon States, to fulfill their obligation under the Treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament.”
His statement echoed the voices of NGOs all over the world. In the 62nd annual meeting of U.N. NGOs held in September 2009, the keynote speaker Jody Williams said, “We need to have a coherent strategy to lay the groundwork for the abolition of nuclear weapons. At its core must be the fundamental objective of successful negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention a treaty or framework agreement for the complete prohibition of the development, production, trade, acquisition, and stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.” “The NGO Declaration: Disarming for Peace and Development” adopted at this conference set out the following as the first demands in the area of nuclear disarmament: “1. At the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, reaffirm and strengthen commitments to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons and concurrently to prevent their spread; 2. Promptly commence negotiations on a convention prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons globally within an agreed, time-bound framework.”
The international signature campaign “Appeal for a Nuclear Weapon-Free World” initiated by the World Conference against A & H Bombs and promoted by the Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) calls on the “nuclear weapons states and all other governments to agree to commence and conclude negotiations of a treaty, a nuclear weapons convention, to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons without delay.” The signature campaign is gaining ever broader support in Japan and internationally.
These voices and demands from the grass roots across the world are now culminating in the international anti-nuclear joint action to be held on May 2, 2010 in New York, on the eve of the NPT Review Conference which will commence on May 3. This global action will have historical significance, boosting the efforts of the United Nations and national government representatives working for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In solidarity with this international anti-nuclear weapons joint action, the JCP will exert its utmost effort to make the NPT Review Conference a place where a bold new step will be taken toward achieving “a world without nuclear weapons.”
Another pressing task is how to tackle the global environmental challenges. The 15th Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-19, 2009. International conventions that address the issue of global warming now include the Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by the Earth Summit of 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997. Defining the historical responsibility of the developed countries in regard to global warming, the Kyoto Protocol set the obligation on the developed countries to reduce by 5 percent or more of their CO2 emissions during the “first commitment period” from 2008 to 2012 below the level of 1990. The point at issue at COP15 was whether it could advance as close as possible toward concluding a legally binding new international treaty regarding climate change beyond 2013.
The conference only agreed to “take note of” the “Copenhagen Accord” drafted at the conference. Moreover, its content was far from sufficient: though it included a positive commitment to provide financial resources to developing countries, it neither included clear commitments to 50 percent global emissions reduction by 2050, based on scientific evidence that had laid the basis for measures against climate change, nor numeric figures for the developed countries to observe as a positive medium or long-term target to realize the 50 percent reduction.
Given the result, we propose the following three points as immediate measures to be taken:
First, the developed countries, bearing the historical responsibility for the current global warming crisis, must fulfill their “dual responsibility” in accordance with the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” as stipulated in the convention, by: (1) setting out ambitious and legally binding medium and long-term reduction targets, and regardless of other countries’ positions, carry them out on their own responsibility; and (2) demonstrating to developing countries that economic development will be possible without following the same missteps as those taken by the developed countries, and providing them with technical and financial assistance adequate to take such a path.
During COP15, the European Union, standing up for this position, was welcomed by the developing countries. However, a real breakthrough on achieving an international accord will not be possible without a determined effort on the part of the developed countries. On top of this, the fact that among all the developed countries, the United States, the largest emitter, set an extremely low target poses the greatest obstacle to forming a global accord. The world community needs to work together to urge the United States to join with other developed countries in participating in the legally binding framework.
Second, this also requires appropriate efforts on the part of developing countries as it must be a common task of humanity. It is of course necessary to recognize that per-capita GDP in the developing countries, including China, India, and other emerging economies, is still well below 10 percent of that of the developed countries, and to duly guarantee their “right to development” to achieve the corresponding level of living standards as those of the developed countries. Given this fact, financial and other assistance from the developed countries need to be expanded and increased to enable the developing countries to open up a path for sustainable development with reduced gas emissions, different from the way the developed countries followed in their economic growth with massive gas emissions. Building on such efforts of the developed countries, the developing countries are also expected to join an international legally-binding framework in a proactive manner.
At COP15, we heard from island countries such as Tuvalu that are faced with the danger of submersion due to global warming as well as African countries suffering from water shortages due to desertification. We also heard many voices calling into question the historical responsibility of the developed countries. Special international support needs to be provided to these small island countries and least developed countries.
The third point is about the special responsibility of Japan, the host nation of COP3 that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol. The target set forth by the new government to achieve a 25 percent emission reduction by 2020 was welcomed both at home and internationally. During COP15, however, the government did not make any serious effort to work to achieve a legally-binding international framework. On the contrary, it played a negative role by claiming that as long as major emitters including the United States and China are not part of the framework, it would not be held accountable for meeting its own target. This position was sharply denounced by international NGOs and was even awarded with the designation of “Fossil of the Day,” as was the previous government.
We must point out that underlying the negative attitude of the Japanese government is a fundamental shortcoming in its policy in regard to global warming. While it set forth the target of a 25 percent emissions reduction, it is reluctant to take any effective measures to achieve this goal, such as concluding an official agreement with industries on emissions reductions.
The JCP urges the Japanese government to take a firm position to fulfill its responsibility of achieving its target reduction committed at the United Nations without any preconditions and regardless of other countries’ positions. We also urge the government to formulate comprehensive policies to realize its commitment with a determination to lead the world in the struggle against global warming.
In October this year, the 10th Conference of Parties to the Biodiversity Treaty will be held in Nagoya, Japan. The global warming crisis is intensifying and more and more species are becoming endangered. In order to sustain biodiversity on this planet, it is crucial to curb the current pace of global warming. A forward looking and responsible position by the Japanese government as the chair of the upcoming conference will be essential.
Part Four explains the policies to achieve advances in the national and local elections as well as to build a stronger JCP.
The whole party discussion deepened our understanding of the following points: new conditions and possibilities which are developing for a major JCP advance in the forthcoming House of Councilors election; how we should carry through with activities, including “dialogue with the majority of voters,” to achieve victory in the House of Councilors election; the importance of tackling the House of Councilors election campaign in combination with activities for the 2011 simultaneous local elections; how we should take on the new proposal of “growth and development targets” based on a mid-term vision; the effort to ensure generational succession while making full use of the energy and vitality of all generations; and strengthening activities in workplace-based branches as well as among youth groups and students.
The Central Committee report, based on the proposals in the draft Resolution, focuses on these points among others.
Our greatest responsibility at the present moment is to ensure a major advance in the House of Councilors election in just six months. How can we achieve this?
The most important thing is that the whole party, including JCP supporters associations, must be convinced that, depending on our election campaign, we can create the conditions and possibilities to produce a major positive change in the existing power balance in this election. We have to organize ourselves with political enthusiasm and aggressiveness based on this conviction.
The draft Resolution states: “This election will be the first national election under the new government led by the Democratic Party of Japan; it will take place under a totally new political configuration. The people will examine and evaluate the following political groups: the three ruling parties (the DPJ, the Social Democratic Party, and the People’s New Party) which make up the new government, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komei Party on which the people passed a judgment to step down, and the JCP, an ‘opposition party engaging constructively with the new government.’”
Let me start with the DPJ, a new ruling party. As the draft Resolution says, the DPJ won the last general election by merely calling for a “change of government.” That will not work in the upcoming House of Councilors election. Its performance as a ruling party for the past year will be brought into question as well as the specific policies it intends to implement as a ruling party.
Four months have passed since the DPJ-led government started. It is true that it has implemented some positive policies due to the pressure brought to bear by public demands, but there have been a series of negative developments as well. It has already disappointed people’s expectations on the key issues for which the people wanted a fundamental change: backpedaling and ambivalence in regard to the issue of the Futenma Air Station in Okinawa; postponing to abolish the health insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and older; a setback in the revision of the Worker Dispatch Law; deregulation policies promoted in the criteria for setting up childcare centers; and the continuation of the two fiscal taboos -- military spending and tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy. Also, the DPJ’s strong-arm Diet management taking advantage of its numerical superiority is provoking widespread concern about its parliamentary democracy-destructive tactics. On top of that, both the prime minister and the party’s secretary general have not provided accountability for their roles in the “money and politics” problem, which has deepened the people’s distrust.
Worse still, the most serious problem about the DPJ is that it has not presented any strategic vision for the future of the country in either foreign or domestic policy and the media describes it as “a party of particulars, not of principles.” It is true that we can see some positive elements in the DPJ’s policies that reflect people’s demands, but they are isolated or incoherent, devoid of a strategic vision for the future of the country. Underlying this is the fact that the DPJ has no intention to overcome the two “aberrations,” i.e. Japan’s extraordinary subservience to the United States and the tyrannical rule of large corporations and the business circles.
Then how about the LDP and the Komei Party, which were given a verdict to step down from power? The draft Resolution points out as follows: “The LDP and the Komei Party suffered so severe a judgment by the people that a thorough review and reflection on their past policies is unavoidable. Otherwise, they will never regain the public trust no matter what policy they may set forth.”
But even now, four months after the general election, we have heard no review or reflection from the LDP on their past policies whatsoever. On the contrary, we are witnessing that they do nothing but attack the new government from a reactionary position: they take the lead in imposing a new base construction at Henoko, Okinawa; acting as a mouthpiece of the business circles, they oppose the revision of the Worker Dispatch Law and increase in minimum wages under the pretext of maintaining international competitiveness; and they oppose child allowances and compensation to farmers through income subsidies, denouncing such policies as “socialistic.” They attack from the reactionary position the new government’s actions which, for all their weaknesses and limits, respond to public demands. Moreover, whenever the ruling parties act highhandedly in the Diet, they respond with a machine-like boycott, instead of clarifying the problem through deliberations and discussion. As long as this posturing continues, the LDP has no future.
In this power balance between political parties, the JCP has made clear in the run up to the House of Councilors election what it means by its political slogan describing itself as an “opposition party offering constructive engagement.”
In the draft Resolution we proposed the “three tasks” under the “transitional political situation” and provided details in the Central Committee Report. Each of these three tasks forms the basis of the JCP policies in preparation for the House of Councilors election. I want to emphasize that among all the political parties, the JCP is the only one that can carry out these tasks.
The first task: to move politics in a progressive direction responding to the demands of the people. The draft Resolution articulates the keys to change required in policies affecting livelihoods and the economy as well as peace and democracy. On these key points, the new government shows weakness in its political position while the LDP adheres to its same old bad policies. No political party other than the JCP can undertake with determination the task of moving politics in a progressive direction in all these areas.
The second task: to redress the two aberrations in Japanese politics. The JCP is the only party which is capable of redressing these aberrations, i.e. “extraordinary subservience to the United States” and “tyrannical rule of large corporations” while struggling for a major reform to build a new Japan where “people are the key players.” As the draft Resolution emphasizes, if we try to fulfill people’s interests under the new situation, we inevitably clash with the “two aberrations.” As this connection becomes more and more directly visible, the JCP’s clear vision of “a future Japan” has even greater significance.
The third task: to prevent Japanese politics from turning reactionary. The role of the JCP is irreplaceable as a party committed to defend the democratic and peace principles of the Japanese Constitution including people’s sovereignty, peace, and parliamentary democracy, to the very end.
With the traditional support bases of the LDP having fallen apart, those who have in the past considered themselves to be politically conservative have embarked on a quest to find a political party to which they can entrust their urgent demands, free of past constraints or obligations. Many of those who voted for the DPJ in the last general election are increasingly critical of the limitations and problems of the DPJ government, going even further in their search for a party to which they can entrust their wish to “change politics.” If we fully convey the true JCP features to the widest range of people possible, including those who used to support other parties or had no party to support at all, the conditions exist to change the existing power balance drastically between the parties and achieve a major JCP advance. Let us make this a common conviction of all party members and JCP supporters associations and work to win a major advance in the House of Councilors election.
The action policy for victory and advances in the House of Councilors election has clearly been set out in the draft Resolution. Here, we want to stress some of the important points.
First of all, we must achieve the goal of winning 5 seats as the absolute minimum with 6.5 million or more votes in the proportional representation section by holding fast to the position: “proportional representation is the axis” and talking about the policies, history and ideas of the JCP. We should achieve the goal through a united effort of the whole party.
The proportional representation section of the House of Councilors election is the focal point of the election struggles, where the entire country is essentially one constituency and the strengths and weaknesses of political parties are directly reflected in the outcome. This means that everywhere in the country we are in a “must-win” constituency, where the candidates embody the JCP itself. We ardently call on all JCP members and party organizations to engage in this struggle as their own personal struggle with each and every party member working as a “candidate,” wresting every vote away from other parties, so that our struggles will culminate in achieving the 5 target seats.
Based on the principle, “the whole nation is one constituency,” it is essential to make the target of winning the 5 seats through the united strength of the entire party a common strong consciousness shared by all party members and organizations. Currently, each candidate is assigned to one of the five geographical areas of the country as his/her own “area of activity,” but this does not mean that the party organizations in each area are responsible for the victory of the corresponding candidate only. All party organizations across the country are equally responsible for the victory of all five candidates. Based on the principle, “the whole nation is one constituency,” let us unite our energy and strength to achieve the victory of all five candidates.
In the local constituency section, in order to secure a seat in the Tokyo constituency, we call for a special effort from the party organizations in Tokyo, and call on other organizations to take on the struggle as their own and contribute to the victory. Aggressive challenges to achieve seats in such prefectures as Hokkaido, Saitama, Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo, where we used to have seats, should also be emphasized as the task of the entire party.
In local constituencies, we have already fielded candidates in 46 prefectures except for Okinawa, with the election activities already set in motion. Also in the local constituency section campaign, it is important to maintain the principle that the proportional representation is the axis, namely winning people’s support for the party itself, and to go for victory in the local constituencies section as we create a surge for an advance in the proportional representation section. In the Tokyo constituency where winning a seat is a must, the path for victory will open up only by combining the effort of creating a surge of support for the party itself with maintaining the position of winning a seat in the local constituency section.
The most important point of our House of Councilors election campaign is to hold fast to the principle, “the branch is the key player.” This is to say all the branches should establish their own target number of votes in their “policy and plan,” and build up from the grass roots their activities with consciousness based on the “Four Basic Points for election campaigning.”
In the draft Resolution, we made the following 5 proposals: (1) We should attach greater importance, as a fundamental task, to the activities based on our ties with the people and our understanding of their demands; (2) We should carry on mass publicity campaigns and dialogue with the aim of increasing JCP supporters to the level required by the current situation; (3) We should carry on the election campaign with high spirits amid an increase in the number of party members and Akahata readership; (4) We should work on developing the JCP supporters associations as a cornerstone of a daily election campaign; and (5) We will stage a branch-based “major campaign to discuss the JCP Program and Japan’s future” and hold “public gatherings” with a total of one million participants. Based on these points, we would like to stress the following:
First, we should drastically expand the scope of our election activities. We have received positive responses to the proposal in the draft Resolution: “We should drastically strengthen grassroots activity on a daily basis to spread information about JCP policies among the people,” and “As regards dialogue and the activity of increasing supporters, we should stress the importance of expanding dialogue from the position that ‘the breadth and depth of dialogue will decide the outcome of the election,’ in addition to increasing the number of supporters.(...) This is an activity everyone can enjoy rather casually and we need to work on this with the view of reaching out to the majority of voters.”
The draft Resolution proposed “reaching out to the majority of voters” because this is demanded by the current situation. As I have stated in my report, a dramatic change in the quest for a new politics is taking place among former supporters of the LDP or the other parties as well as non-party people. The party is now establishing warm relations with a broader range of people whom we had no contact with in the past, including those who regarded themselves as conservatives in agricultural cooperatives, forestry cooperatives, medical associations and local municipalities. However, the total number of people the party had dialogue with in the 2009 general election campaign was only 20.7 percent of eligible voters. If the scope of our activities remains at this level, we can never catch up with the ongoing deep-seated change. The forthcoming election may elude us before the party can address the ongoing change among the people. Only by doing everything possible to “reach out to the majority of voters” with all eligible voters in full view, will it be possible to take advantage of the current change to lead the party to a major advance. By exerting all our wisdom and energy, mobilizing our full force on all fronts and social sectors, and in cooperation with party supporters including those in supporters associations, let us face the challenge and carry through this significant undertaking.
Another important point is to carry out the election campaign during the height of the expansion of party strength.
As we prepare ourselves for the Party Congress, the whole party has worked for the “special campaign period for party advances” that the 9th CC Plenum called for in October 2009. Last December, thanks to the effort of the entire party, we successfully increased the party membership and the readership of both daily and Sunday Akahata in comparison to the position in November, and the Congress was started in the midst of this favorable situation.
In party membership expansion activities, over 34,000 new members have joined the JCP in the four years since the last Congress, with total membership reaching 406,000, larger than that of the last Congress. On behalf of the 25th Congress, we would like to extend our warmest welcome to our new comrades, who have decided to stride with us along the path for social progress.
In Akahata readership expansion activities, the Ishikawa Prefectural committee and 4 district committees (the Tokatsu district committee of Chiba Prefecture, the Kanazawa and Noto district committees of Ishikawa Prefecture, and the Hokubu district committee of Nagasaki Prefecture) have exceeded the level of the previous Congress both in daily and Sunday Akahata, but the whole party has fallen short of recovering that level. The current aggregate of daily and Sunday Akahata readers is 1,454,000.
The “special campaign period” will continue to the end of January. In response to the call by the Congress, let us take a strong leap forward in our drive, taking up the task of achieving the target in the expansion of party strength. Let us create a greater surge in the task even after February, and go on to win a victory in the upcoming election.
The draft Resolution states, “Along with a major advance in the number of party members, we will work for a 30 percent increase in the number of Akahata readers over the last House of Councilors election.” This proposal aroused serious discussion within the entire party organization. Among the party organizations where party members grasped the characteristics of the current situation and the possibility of party advances, they have made a determination to challenge the “formidable goal” and have already taken a step forward.
In this regard, please keep in mind the lessons learned from the general election last year. The 9th CC Plenum decision of October 2009 drew lessons from the result of the general election: we examined the party strength itself and concluded that “in short, we had to fight the general election still in the process of building our own strength.” Compared to the position at the general election in 2005, we had to fight the election in 2009 with the Akahata readership being at 90.3 percent in the daily and 90.5 percent in the Sunday edition, despite having an advanced position in regard to membership. The Plenum decision stated, “We are still short of making a breakthrough in the situation, which the 5th CC Plenum defined as ‘the weakest point in our party’s activities. ’” We must keep this point in mind.
In the general election last year, we only kept the existing 9 seats. In spite of difficulties and hardships in the campaign, there was a good possibility for our advance: we had a clear advantage in the political debates and where our voices were heard, people’s support for the party increased. The main reason for the failure to exploit the opportunity was found in the lack of party strength. The 9th CC Plenum decision analyzed the lesson from the party organizations in the top 3 municipalities where the party gained 1.2 to 1.3 times more votes than the previous election. The result was that in all of them, a remarkable progress had been achieved in party strength expansion.
The House of Councilors election this year, as stated above, will be fought with a completely new configuration of political parties, and depending on how we wage our campaign battle, there will surely be a good opportunity presented for our major advance. But as our past experiences tell us, we must face up to the possibility of letting such an opportunity slip away unless we increase our party strength.
In order to exploit to our advantage the emerging conditions and possibilities for a JCP advance, it is essential to fight the election amid the rising tide of party strength expansion. It is not an easy task, but there is no other way. If this is a common understanding we have come to share through our experiences in the recent elections, now is the time for us to challenge the task.
We call on all the comrades to respond to the proposal in the draft Resolution: “Along with a major advance in the number of party members, we will work for a 30 percent increase in Akahata readership over the last House of Councilors election,” to carry on active discussions and challenge the task of achieving the target for the expansion of party strength. Let us make the upcoming election an election that “We have done what must be done and have achieved a well-deserved victory.”
The draft Resolution states, “In an effort to realize the goals and objectives of the JCP Program, every party organization should systematically work on the following ‘growth and development targets’ based on a mid-term vision” and proposes the following:
“The ‘growth and development targets’ aims for the party to be capable of obtaining ‘10 percent or more votes’ in national elections in every prefecture and municipality, while some advanced party organizations will set their vote ratio targets at between 20 and 30 percent. It is also important to quickly overcome the situation in which some prefectural party organizations only obtain less than 5 percent of votes.”
This proposal has been accepted very positively in whole party discussions. We are encouraged to hear people saying, “We now see the path for realizing the JCP Program,”or “It reminded me of my initial enthusiasm when I joined in party activities full of ambition.”
Let me report on why we proposed the “growth and development targets” based on a mid-term vision. The JCP aims to “establish a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century” based on a long-term vision. On the other hand, we are also working on day-to-day tasks based on short-term goals. Our immediate goal is to win advances in the upcoming House of Councilors election by obtaining 6.5 million or more votes in the proportional representation section.
We proposed the “growth and development targets” for realizing the JCP Program as the target of our mid-term vision, which would bridge the short-term goals of the day and the goal of the long-term vision of establishing a democratic coalition government.
For the entire party to carry out activities, upholding such “growth and development targets” will definitely help us become conscious of, and move closer to, the goal of achieving a democratic coalition government. If we are to seriously bring the goal of “establishing a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century” into reality, we cannot be content with achieving only 7 percent or so votes and being ranked 4th among all political parties in the Diet. At the earliest possible time, every party organization must achieve “10 percent or more votes,” while some advanced party organizations must obtain between 20 and 30 percent. By fundamentally changing the present power relationship among political parties, we should attain the position of the third, second, or even first rank in national politics. We urge the entire party organizations to set ambitious goals, consistently review the achievements accordingly, and open a path to creating a democratic coalition government. Herein lies the meaning of our proposal for the “growth and development targets.”
Pursuing activities upholding the “growth and development targets” based on a mid-term vision will give immediate goals -- at present, this would be a victory and advance in the upcoming House of Councilors election -- a first step to approaching the “targets,” helping our members and organizations to be constantly aware of the task of realizing the goals and objectives of the Party Program with ambition and courage, while simultaneously promoting various activities.
Next point of emphasis is that the “advanced organizations” and “less advanced organizations” within the party are required to find appropriate ways to implement the “growth and development targets” in accordance with their current level of achievement, while maintaining the basic principle of aiming for a party capable of obtaining “10 percent or more votes” for national elections in every locality.
While the draft Resolution states: “some advanced party organizations will set their vote ratio targets at between 20 and 30 percent,” these “advanced organizations” only mean that they are well-off relative to other organizations within the party. Their achievement is far from “advanced” compared to the level required in the current situation in Japan and vis-à-vis other political parties. In view of today’s situation and the level of strength required by the long-term political mission of the JCP, the entire party is actually lagging behind, including those relatively “advanced party organizations.” In clear recognition of this fact, we must boldly challenge the task of “gaining 20 to 30 percent or more votes,” surpassing the level in every aspect of party activities of the time when we attained the record-high ratio of votes.
The draft Resolution also proposes “to quickly overcome the situation in which some prefectural party organizations only obtain less than 5 percent of votes.” Getting out of being stuck in a rut as party organizations only able to achieve 5 percent of votes to ones that can achieve 10 percent or more, needs concrete planning and dedication, taking into consideration their specific situations. Such planning should include: having JCP local assembly members elected where we have no JCP seats yet; establishing JCP organizations in local communities, workplaces or campuses where we have no party organizations yet; strengthening ties with people and developing grassroots struggles; and reinforcing party bodies to give support and guidance to party branches. The planning should focus on the key to development in each party organization, and constant and persistent effort to implement the plan is essential. The “less advanced party organizations” are never destined to stay as they are. There are numerous experiences in party history in which such organizations progressed into “advanced” ones in a short period of time. In fact, the less advanced the organizations are, the greater their possibility for future growth will be. Aggressive efforts in tackling the task of achieving a higher ratio of votes are called for.
How should we carry out the “growth and development targets”? The fundamental principle here is also “branches are the key players.” Article 40 (2) of the JCP Constitution stipulates the following as one of the “duties of the branch”:
“(2) develop activities by establishing policies in response to public demands, with targets and a plan for expanding party strength based on the long-term task of getting support from the majority of the people in the workplace, locality, or campus.”
As in the foregoing, the Constitution defines “getting support from the majority of the people in the workplace, locality or campus” as the “long-term task” of the branch. From this viewpoint, it also calls for developing activities based on the “policy and plan” in response to people’s demands. It is important to substantiate the “growth and development targets” in the spirit of the Constitution with “branches are the key players.” We call on all the party branches to respond to the proposal of the draft Resolution to set up their own “growth and development targets,” and based on a long-term vision, carry out activities with the ambition of developing party organizations that can gain support from the majority of people in workplaces, local communities and campuses.
The draft Resolution states, “This [the achievement of the target of 10 percent or more votes] will create a decisive force to move forward Japanese politics from the current ‘transitional situation. ’” At the Party Congress being held in the first year of the 2010s, let us adopt this ambitious policy, carry out the “growth and development targets” by the entire party with party branches as the key players, and make organized efforts for their realization, with a view to making the 2010s a period of a historical leap for the party.
The JCP draft Resolution states, “We should set the target ratio of party members and Akahata readership per voter required to achieve this goal (growth and development targets), and will engage in utmost efforts to achieve this.” In carrying out this task, it is important to achieve not only quantity but also quality. We should aim to build a strong and heart-warming party where all party members participate in activities in accordance with their own specific conditions. We should also encourage all members to study and finish reading the Party Program and to implement the three basic principles of party life: attend branch meetings; read the daily Akahata; and pay party dues. We should also set targets for advances on these tasks.
The draft Resolution then notes, ‘‘In tackling these activities, we should give special emphasis to the carrying on of party activities by the younger generations while making full use of the energy and vitality of all generations.” In order to make the 2010s a period of historical leap for the party as well as for realization of the Program, we should focus our efforts on passing on party activities to younger generations. Invigorating party activities at workplaces and mobilizing students and younger people for progressive causes are important agendas as ‘‘two wheels of a cart.’’
In relation to activities at workplaces, the party held two seminars to learn about the experiences at JCP workplace branches throughout the country as part of the implementation of the JCP 24th Congress decision. This was a quest for a new course of development in this field. Our activities at workplaces have not yet overcome the trend of retreat and moved toward a full-fledged advance as a whole. But by making use of the achievement of the seminars, an early sign for a sound development began to be seen. This is very important.
Building up ties and relationships based on trust and mutual respect with working people in everyday life is fundamental to the advance of JCP activities. The first seminar proposed the following: everything begins with everyday greetings; share all aspects of workers lives; and party member’s suffering is suffering of all workers. Based on this position, the JCP called on the whole party to build relationships on the basis of trust with workers. Through gaining trust by putting these suggestions into practice, many party organizations across the country received more new members. It is worth noting that in so doing, JCP members, who take pride in their work, convey to other workers their pride, which attracts their interest and helps to establish trust among their colleagues, who are working hard and industriously under the same harsh conditions.
On whatever problem, if we take workers’ pressing demands as a starting point, we can find a way forward. The recent large-scale elimination of jobs has created serious contradictions in labor relations, undermining the control of workplaces by the business circles and large corporations. While such contradictions find expression mainly in job losses for contingent workers, full-time workers are also exposed to cuts in wages and bonuses, forced early retirement, and long and intensive working hours. Now, the merit-based management of workplaces is decaying at its very core. Given this situation, struggles by workers, whether they are contingent or full-time, to rectify illegal practices and demand just and decent working rules are gaining ground.
Solidarity between full-time and contingent workers can be developed only when full-time workers take on the demands of contingent workers as their own, by listening to their problems and sharing their sufferings. In developing the struggle, recent experiences have verified the vital importance of the pioneering role played by the class-oriented democratic trade unions and JCP workplace branches.
We have recently seen in the news that temporary agency workers rose up against their firing by forming a trade union. It was reported, “At last, the workers rose up.” Those struggles broke out where JCP branches of full-time workers at corresponding workplaces had maintained the party banner for a long time under fierce attacks, and where they had shared the sufferings of contingent workers and strengthened their ties with them. We have to maintain the position that full-time workers must take on the difficulties of contingent workers as their own and struggle together with them.
We want to emphasize that now is a critically important period for securing the successors of the JCP workplace branches. Many of our comrades in their late 50s and 60s, including those in the so-called “baby-boom generation,” joined the party during the period of the JCP’s high growth in the 1960s and 1970s. Challenging the fierce anti-communist, anti-worker attacks by labor-management collaboration, they have undauntedly upheld the banner of the JCP and persistently struggled to realize workers’ pressing demands and to achieve a progressive change of government. Now that these comrades are entering the age of retirement, we must make sure to hand the banner of the JCP kept alive all these years in workplaces over to the next generations. Let us mobilize all our wisdom and energy to maintain existing workplace branches, and where there is none, establish a new branch.
It is essential that corresponding party bodies exert their best effort to support the activities of workplace branches, not leaving the task only to those directly in charge. The activities of workplace branch assistance committees can be effective and valid only when party bodies as a whole are willing to engage themselves in this task.
Only if we can become a majority force among the working class, who account for 70 percent of Japan’s population with a historic mission of leading the country into a socialist/communist society, can we open a path for establishing a democratic coalition government and secure the realization of the aims laid out in the JCP Program. We call on you to continue to seek to forge this path to achieve a better future for all.
The other important agenda item is to strengthen our activities among the younger generations. It is worth noting that new conditions for mobilizing a larger number of young people and students are developing when carrying out activities among them.
The draft Resolution describes the development of struggles by young people and students as offering Japan ‘‘great hope,’’ i.e. struggles over such urgent issues as employment, peace, and tuition fees. In fact, they have difficulties in forming solidarity among them in part because of the deceptive use of the concept of "self-responsibility," as seen in such phrases as “you cannot be a full-time employee because you are incompetent,” or “you cannot afford to pay tuition since your family is poor.” But the fact that their struggles are making an advance overcoming such difficulties is of great significance. As we feel sympathy for their aspirations and sufferings, we encourage their struggles and strengthen our solidarity and support.
At the same time, under the new circumstances, young people and students have growing interests in politics and a scientific outlook on the world and society. They are showing a growing interest not only in their own livelihoods or career choices, but also in wider issues facing humanity, such as the world economic crisis, global environmental problems, or the nuclear weapons issue. With contradictions of capitalism in Japan and the world deepening, their intellectual interest is being oriented to the JCP, scientific socialism and Marx. This is also a significant development.
The decision of the 6th CC Plenum held in July 2008, regarding “How to approach younger generations,” stressed that the party should “bend the mind to the ‘dual suffering’ younger people face” and promote the “effort to spread among them a scientific vision to make a breakthrough in the current situation, in accordance with their interests.” If the entire party holds on to these fundamental points and exerts its all-out effort to strengthen the party’s activities among young people and students, we can make use of the existing favorable conditions for a bigger and more active JCP.
A point of emphasis here is that party bodies should not leave this task only to certain sections or comrades directly in charge. This is a question bearing on the future of the party and revolutionary movement, which should be regarded as one of the central tasks in party activities and party building. Party organizations must exert their full energy to challenge the task, and persistently make systematic efforts to this end. In addition to giving close assistance to the Democratic Youth League of Japan in accordance with the decision of the 6th CC Plenum, party organizations need to recognize a strategic importance of party activities among university students, and to tackle, with a spirit of pioneers, the task of organizing students into progressive unity.
The best lesson learned from those party organizations that have recently achieved progress in party strength is that, without exception, looking five or ten years beyond, they have worked frontally on the task of establishing party branches or DYLJ groups among young people and students, with the head of the party organizations taking the lead in this effort.
We call on all the comrades to address young people’s financial difficulties in living, meet their intellectual demands, present them with the long-term future vision of the party and revolutionary movement, and drastically strengthen our activities among young people and students.
Part Five discusses the present and future of the world from the viewpoint of a systemic change from capitalism to socialism/communism. The draft Resolution explains that the “profit-first principle” and the contradictions of capitalism find expression in social injustices and catastrophes in the contemporary world such as: increase in poverty and widening gap between rich and poor; inability of capitalism to allow developing countries to achieve self-reliant development; current financial crisis and overproduction crisis; and global warming. In this situation, an increasing number of people are giving attention to scientific socialism and the writings of Marx both in Japan and elsewhere.
confronting the 21st century world, various moves toward creating a future society are taking shape in a variety of forms, and points to the fact that the JCP Program sets forth its outlook on world history in the 21st century as follows: “It will be inevitable in the long run for social development to be achieved through overcoming imperialism and capitalism and advancing toward socialism.”
The point of emphasis with regards to Part Five is the fact that the JCP can elucidate a breakthrough and its meaning for solving a pressing problem that needs immediate solution from a broad perspective and vision because the party has a concrete vision for such a future society.
On whatever world problem bearing on human survival that calls for urgent solution, the root-cause of the problem is found in the “profit-first principle,” i.e. the contradictions of capitalism. Only by recognizing this fact can we find reasonable measures to solve the problems.
For example, the principal cause of global warming lies in capitalism, which has put profit above anything and imposed on peoples of the world “mass production, mass consumption and mass disposal,” forcing them to lead a life within such a narrow and distorted framework. By facing this reality head on, we can make clear the responsibilities of the developed countries and open up a path to finding a fundamental solution to this problem.
In discussing future society, the JCP Program states that “securing the human development of all members of society” through “realization of shorter working hours” will be a major goal in society. This vision of the JCP Program is attracting many young people to our future outlook, at a time when they are seriously suffering from an inability of giving full play to their various possibilities for human development as well as suppressed hopes for growth in the contemporary world. Also, this vision of ours for the future explains the important meaning in human history of past and current struggles of workers demanding shorter working hours and decent and humane rules of labor, and is giving them immense encouragement in their struggles.
As set out in the JCP Program, the immediate task for reform in Japanese society is to achieve democratic reforms within the framework of capitalism, and in the area of the economy, it is to build an “economy governed by rules” that defends the people’s living standards and rights by overcoming the present state of “capitalism without rules.” Many of the fruits to be achieved through these reforms should be carried over to future society. The “economy governed by rules” as set out in the Party Program is a goal to be realized within the framework of capitalism. Why is it not described as a “capitalism governed by rules” in the Program? That is because in our vision, many of the achievements through reforms for an “economy governed by rules,” including drastic reduction of working hours, gender equality and equal rights, and a social security system to support a high quality of life, will be passed on to future society.
Thus, the vision for future society as envisaged in the Party Program is directly related to the contradictions and difficulties we are facing in today’s Japan and the world, and it points to a fundamental path as to how the human community in future society should solve these problems.
As stated in the draft Resolution, with the deepening contradictions in capitalism in today’s world, we are witnessing growing numbers of people seeking to overcome the current system. Further, under existing world realities today, various moves toward working to create a future society are taking shape in a variety of forms. In an age like this, among political parties in Japan, the JCP is the only party with a progressive vision for the future based on the belief that the history of humans will not end in capitalism and a historic era of overcoming capitalism will surely come. Only such a political party can open a genuine future of hope in the 21st century. And because the JCP is just such a party, it can firmly face and tackle with a broad perspective and vision the pressing problems in need of urgent solution. Let us be confident in and proud of this point, and wage our struggles with the full force of our convictions.
Let us hold up high the party’s name “Japanese Communist Party,” the name firmly connected with our future vision envisaged in the Party Program. Let us exert our wisdom and energy together, first to achieve advances in the upcoming House of Councilors election, and to make the 2010s a historic period for the JCP’s great advance.
With this, I conclude my report on behalf of the Central Committee.