January 16, 2010
Good morning, delegates and non-voting observers. Warm greetings also to our comrades across Japan watching the Congress live via the communication satellite broadcast and the Internet.
On behalf of the Central Committee, I am going to make the concluding remarks on the discussions.
Sixty-two comrades spoke from the podium during the three-day discussions. In this whole process, they contributed to a deepened and extensive understanding of the draft Resolution and the Central Committee Report. They shared their determination and enthusiasm toward acting on the decisions. The discussions were lively and fun, full of laughter and sometimes tears.
We have received as many as 259 requests by participants to take the floor during the discussion period. We would like to ask those who have written statements to submit them to the Congress secretariat. The new Central Committee will be responsible for making the best use of them in our future activities.
About 20,000 people watched the Central Committee Report on the first day of the Congress live via the communication satellite broadcast and the Internet, and more than 500 comments have been sent in. Let me report on the general trend of the responses from across the country.
In general, the Central Committee Report has been very positively responded to by many comrades throughout Japan. They particularly welcomed the answers in the Central Committee Report directly given to some of the questions raised during the pre-Congress discussions on the draft Resolution which required deeper analysis and detailed explanation. In the Central Committee Report, based on the pre-Congress discussions and subsequent developments, we came up with new analyses and proposals regarding the following points:
-- On measures to resolve U.S. bases issues, and on the Japan-US Security Treaty structure;
-- On the response to the current economic crisis and the significance of “an economy governed by rules”;
-- How to assess the present situation and future prospects of the labor movement;
-- How to evaluate the U.S. Obama Administration and how to respond to;
-- On the achievements of addressing global environmental problems and on its future prospects;
-- Why we proposed the “growth and development targets” based on a mid-term vision.
In particular, responding to the U.S. statement that the United States and Japan are “equal partners,” the Central Committee Report elucidated the real picture of the Japan-U.S. military alliance, and calls into question the U.S. description of “equal partners,” and demands correction of such an aberrant relationship. Very strong responses and support were sent in with regard to this proposal. The issues that we proposed in the Central Committee Report should have been raised by the Japanese government. However, even after the reins of government were turned over to the Democratic Party, it still cannot step out of the framework in which the “Japan-U.S. military alliance is considered sacred” and cannot raise any dissenting voice to the United States. In clear contrast to this government stance, the Central Committee Report sent the message to the U.S. government in the name of the Party Congress, the highest decision-making organ of the JCP, on the position of our party regarding an ideal future relationship between the two countries in the 21st century.
After the Central Committee proposed the draft Resolution, some questions were raised during the pre-Congress discussions that required further clarification. In response, the Central Committee Report to the Congress provided a deeper analysis of these questions. In this way, the pre-Congress discussions helped the entire party develop a deeper and greater understanding of many of these issues. Here, we can find the democratic process of interactive development of understanding, which is unique to our party, and the vitality of democratic centralism, a JCP organizational principle.
The statements delivered during the Congress discussion were rich and varied in content, all of which will be included in the Party Congress special issue of the “Zen’ei (Vanguard)” magazine soon to be published. These statements are all “treasure houses” consisting of numerous lessons that should be made best use of for the continued progress of party activities.
In my concluding remarks, I would like to touch on some of the characteristics of the discussions which many of you may have discerned.
First of all, this Congress heard many participants talking about the positive changes being witnessed in the current situation, demonstrating that people are seeking a new direction in politics.
Many delegates spoke on the widespread exchanges with people in the primary industry of agriculture, forestry and fishery in many parts of the country, where the support base of the Liberal Democratic Party is rapidly crumbling. We are pleased to hear comments by members of agricultural or forestry cooperative unions stating that “The JCP has the best understanding of farmers’ feelings.” A delegate who came to a local meeting was surprised to find a big sign at the entrance hall of the local JA office proclaiming, “Engage in dialogue with the JCP”. We really feel that the time has come for free and unreserved exchanges between the general public and the JCP.
For the first time, Senior Executive Director Fuji Shigeo of the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-Zenchu) joined our Congress as a guest and delivered a message from Moteki Mamoru, President of the JA-Zenchu, “The JCP’s policies toward securing fair prices and decent incomes for producers, maintaining and strengthening border protection measures, opposing a Japan-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and establishing food sovereignty are exactly what we aim for, and we are extremely heartened by your position.” His message was equally heartening and encouraging to us, and we sincerely hope that our exchanges and cooperation will develop further.
The changes witnessed in local municipalities are also dynamic, and were reported on by our local assembly member delegates. A delegate from Toyama Prefecture, who is the only JCP member in the prefectural assembly, spoke about how even her lone voice managed to move the entire assembly. She said, “A resolution to oppose a ‘Japan-US FTA,’ proposed by the JCP alone, was adopted unanimously by the assembly. We also persevered in persuading the Democratic Party members, who had been at a loss as to what to do, to support another resolution to oppose the construction of a new U.S. base on Henoko Beach in Okinawa. After a partial revision of the text, the DPJ decided to stand with us to support the resolution. In light of these achievements with the influence of only a single JCP assembly member, we decided to campaign for the second seat in the next election.” Even a single assembly member’s advocacy moved the entire assembly. It reflected the underlying popular demand calling for changes not only in national politics, but also in local politics.
Changes were also witnessed within among intellectuals. A delegate from a party branch of lawyers in Tokyo, for example, expressed his determination to stop any reverse currents in the present political situation. He also reported that during the last few years, young lawyers in their 20s and 30s have joined the party one after another, “a rare and pleasant phenomenon in recent years.” In joining, these newcomers said, “The JCP consistently fights for the weak and disadvantaged. I want to be a part of that.”
The guest greetings by Mr. Shinagawa Masaji of the Association for a Peaceful, Democratic and Progressive Japan (Kakushinkon) greatly encouraged and deeply impressed all of us in the Congress. He said, “Today’s turbulent situation provides an excellent opportunity for you. In the past, anti-communism was always at the base of the government’s insistence on the need to maintain excessive dependence on big business and the U.S. government. We are now clearly witnessing this structure crumbling. The JCP should be confident in projecting itself boldly as a protagonist representing the public interest.”
The crumbling of the “wall of anti-communism” was evidenced by statements. One delegate, a city assembly member of Kami-Amakusa of Kumamoto Prefecture, described the dramatic change in his local situation. He said, “In the previous city assembly election, I lost by 30 votes, but this time I was the top vote winner with three times as many votes as received previously. The situation has indeed completely changed. In the past, people often said, ‘Ms. Miyashita, I know you are a good person, but you are a communist. If you run as an independent, you will be the top vote winner. Why don’t you stand as an independent?’ Back then, people still held biases toward the JCP. But in the latest election, they said, ‘Only the JCP can represent us.’” Her statement eloquently depicted the collapse of the “wall of anti-communism” in Kumamoto, traditionally a bastion of conservatives.
We of course should not underestimate the moves underway trying to contain the growth of the JCP. However, we totally agree with Mr. Shinagawa who said, “Anti-communism can no longer be considered formidable. It is losing its power of persuasion on the people.” Let us be confident and continue our strenuous efforts in various activities.
These changes did not happen spontaneously. The new situation was opened through the joint struggles carried out by the general public and the JCP. Many of the delegates were proud of these achievements and explained how they were enriched as a party member through these struggles, which gave all of us great joy.
A 19-year-old delegate from Kyoto Prefecture, the youngest delegate at this Congress, spoke on her experience of achieving the school fee exemption program for students of low-income families in Osaka Prefecture. In her high school years, she was involved in the movement for an increase in subsidies to private schools, and she took part in a debate with the governor of Osaka on behalf of the student group called, “Give Smiles to High School Students in Osaka.” I myself read the minutes of the debate between Governor Hashimoto and the students. It was clear that the students won the debate. For a short while after she entered university in Kyoto, she became unable to find the meaning of learning, but after looking at students’ exhibitions on social problems and peace issues at her alma mater festival, she realized, “Learning is at the core of social and human activities.” And convinced that “The JCP is the place where I can be myself,” she joined the party without hesitation. She said, “The Democratic Youth League of Japan and the JCP provide warm spaces of support. Today I make a new start in my life as one of the members of these organizations.” Her statement gave us hope for a bright future for Japan. Let us congratulate this young comrade for joining the party.
Another delegate from Hiroshima, a member of Fukuyama City Assembly, spoke of young workers who were learning and growing through the struggle against Sharp Corporation’s dismissal of temporary workers. As the result of joint activities with the JCP and other democratic organizations to “support people’s lives”, one young worker who used to say, “I hate everyone” regained his trust in people and said, “I have come to believe in others. Now it is my turn to help temporary workers who lost their jobs.” He joined the party, wanting to change the current reality in Japan and is now making helping in election campaigns.
We are now entering an era of dramatic changes taking place throughout society where people are seeking a new direction in politics. This change was helped brought about by the struggles carried out jointly by the general public and the JCP. Through these struggles, the people themselves are changing their cultural value and increasing their political consciousness. Comrades, let’s have a broad view as well as high spirit and work together to create a better future for all.
Secondly, the discussions throughout were imbued with enthusiasm and determination to achieve a major advance in the House of Councilors election with the slogan “whole nation is one constituency” as the key concept.
Many candidates, both of proportional representation constituencies and of local constituencies, expressed their determination to win. We are proud of having so many wonderful, talented candidates; some are brilliantly sunny and cheerful, others are quiet but with burning passion inside. All of these delegates have the ability to begin their work as diligent Diet members as soon as they are elected. They are already playing a leading role in dialogues with the general public and in activities working for the expansion of party strength in order to obtain election victory. Uniting the strength of the entire party across the country, let us win five seats in the proportional representation election and a seat in Tokyo constituency without fail, and as many as possible at other local constituencies.
Listening to delegates’ statements, again I was convinced that the key to victory is to wage election campaigns based on the efforts of grass-roots party branches as our slogan proclaims that “branches are the main players.”
A delegate from Setouchi City in Okayama Prefecture said, “In the general election, we increased our votes by 6% and we are now working in an all-out effort to win the House of Councilors election. We have not taken a break since the end of the general election, as it would be difficult to start over again if we slowed down. Our ‘Branch Newsletter for Victory in the Upper House Election’ has now published its 22nd issue, and everyone is anticipating the release of the next issue. Our branch members join in campaigns with enthusiasm when called out on street campaigns or activities to increase Akahata readership. We set the goal of conducting street speeches at 1,800 locations in our communities -- targeting one out of every three households, and have already covered 900 spots since the end of the general election. All members of our branch are out on the streets to show the public our enthusiasm. Even a superman would need to show his face to gain support.” Her statement conveyed in a lively manner the way her branch members are carrying out their campaigns full of joy and cheerfulness, giving prove that our motto “JCP branches are the major players” is being put into practice.
A delegate from Ashiya City in Hyogo Prefecture spoke about the street speeches carried out by her branch members taking on the leading roles. She said that they made a point of identifying themselves by name and area of residence and starting their speeches from “Why I support the JCP”, giving reasons that people can relate to. One speech by a single mother was very moving. Using a bullhorn she said, “Through a dark tunnel, I have struggled to keep walking, leading my child by the hand. But I sometimes feel like letting go of it. It’s not money I want to have. What’s missing is hope for a better future.”An 84-year-old comrade returned to party activities after 4 years of rehabilitation from the aftereffects of brain infarction and he said, “My hands are shaking holding the microphone because I am extremely happy to be back. I feel elated and I am nearly weeping for joy.” Listening to this speech, I wondered if there were any other political parties having such inspiring activities carried out by their members at the grass-roots level. I was proud to confirm that there is no party like the JCP.
Many delegates expressed their determination to carry out activities in response to our call to “reach out to the majority of voters” as this is necessitated by the current political situation.
Some delegates reported that they had already started such activities. A delegate from Saku City in Nagano Prefecture, a candidate for the prefectural assembly election, said that he stood for the election 3 years ago but lost. Starting on New Year’s Eve, he has been trying to communicate with up to 100 people every day. Since then, all the members of a local fire brigade expressed their support to him and a warm response was given from a local commerce and industry association. He is also giving speeches and engaging in dialogues with people in front of local supermarkets. As he is attending this Congress for 4 days, he said, “To catch up, I need to talk with 400 people.” But I am sure he will catch up right away and engage in more dialogues. His statements made us firmly convinced that if we break all barriers and open ourselves up to anyone anywhere, the support base for our party will develop even further.
Responding to the call made in the Central Committee Report, “If we fail to build up our party’s strength, we will miss out on this opportunity. Let us make the next election one where we can say we have done what must be done, and achieve a well-deserved victory”, many delegates pledged to create a surge in party strength and to carry out the election campaign riding the high tide of that surge.
The Chair of the Shibuya District Committee of Tokyo said that his organization deeply regretted having lost in the previous House of Councilors election, and was determined to build a robust party organization that can win in the election. Since then, the Shibuya District achieved a 16-month consecutive membership increase of 10 new members each month and a 21-month consecutive Akahata readership increase. It also helped reconstruct the corresponding district committee of the Democratic Youth League after a lapse of 14 years, and with these achievements, they engaged in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election and the general election. As a result, the voting ratio gained in the general election increased by 23%, from 7.9% to 9.8%. He said, “In the end, if you have done what ought to have been done, you will definitely obtain a good result. There is no other way to win elections than to establish a more robust party organization.” His comment, out of his own experience of being the head of an organization that has actually tackled that task consistently, was understood by everyone. Let us share his words of encouragement with everyone throughout the party.
The Chair of the Tokatsu District Committee of Chiba Prefecture spoke on his district’s achievement of exceeding the level of the previous Congress in the party strength expansion before this Congress opened. He said that he and his organization adhered to the achievement of target votes in the elections and has put special and focused effort on the party membership drive. Since the previous Congress, the number of new party members has been increasing steadily: 32 new members in the first year, 50 in the second, 110 in the third, and 168 in the fourth year. As a result, the district has 23% more party members than at the time of the previous Congress, and they are assisting in the Akahata readership expansion efforts. He also said that local party organizations’ activities to relieve people’s sufferings through JCP consultation and advice services open to general public helped enhance the party’s credibility. People now often say, “In the event of need, turn to the JCP” and he said that he felt a dramatic change of attitude toward the JCP in the society at large.
Dear comrades, in order to make the upcoming House of Councilors election the one where “we have done what must be done and achieved a well-deserved victory”, let all of us attending this Congress take the lead in our drive for a major advance.
Thirdly, through this Congress discussion, we now have a deeper understanding of the proposal regarding the activities guided by “growth and development targets” based on a mid-term vision, and a clearer prospect for a democratic coalition government.
Delegates from “advanced” party organizations have expressed their resolve to reach highest-ever targets. The Chairman of the Osaka Prefectural Committee told us that while the JCP in Osaka surpassed 10 percent of the votes in the proportional representation section of the general election, this was far from the level of votes required under the present situation. He was determined to obtain 800,000 votes representing 17 percent of total votes throughout Osaka in the coming Upper House election, and futhermore, aspired to achieve 25 percent, the highest share of the votes as a goal in the “growth and development targets.” He said, “In the 1960’s, the Osaka JCP made a great advance with a determination to spearhead nationwide transformation. We are looking forward to help to create an even greater historical advance.”
The Chair of the Nara Prefectural Committee resolved to have the party emerge as the third largest party in the prefecture in the upcoming House of Councillors election. He told us that Nara’s “growth and development targets” included moving up to the position where the JCP would become the leading party by the latter half of this decade, saying that being the second largest party was not as exciting but pledging to secure the first place was overly ambitious at this time. He resolutely stated that Nara, being a place where “nation-building” started in Japanese history, would become a harbinger of a new nation-building paradigm where “the people are protagonists.”
Delegates from “less advanced” organizations also spoke. The Chair of the Kagawa Prefectural Committee said that he appreciated that the Central Committee Report clearly stated less advanced organizations were not destined to lag behind, but had greater potential for advance. He stated, “Kagawa is neither a place where a new Japan will emerge nor a cradle as Japan’s first capital, but we will strive further by being inspired by the Central Committee Report.”
The Chair of the Chiba Prefectural Committee reported that drastic changes were taking place in rural areas and that in some urban areas the party’s strength doubled since the previous Congress. With confidence in his grand vision, he expressed his determination to make the 2010s an era of significant advance for the JCP.
Many delegates talked about their experiences in bringing about major changes within a short period of time. A delegate from Kubiki-ward in Joetsu-city, Niigata Prefecture, told us that the party candidate’s bitter and close defeat in the election five years ago held after the merger of the neighboring municipalities had spurred a rapid and drastic change. Since then, the branch in the ward increased in membership from seven to 45 and the local JCP support association became connected with up to 80 percent of the households in the area. In the 2008 election, the party candidate gained the most number of votes in the two-member constituency. Although “growth and development targets” are set on a mid-term basis, their implementation should not necessarily be a slow and inching process. It is important to help create more and more changes and accelerate them further. Through the discussions, we learned much from the many successful experiences that were shared.
We were moved by remarks by a head of an organization in a difficult situation, who undauntedly kept trying to achieve “growth and development targets” with a scientific vision in mind. The chair of the Shizuoka Prefectural Committee was recently appointed to the post after her predecessor died of an illness. Though grief-stricken by his death, she took charge and was determined to overcome the various challenges by summoning the collective wisdom and power of the party. I respect her courage and resolve with a deep sense of solidarity. I hope the Shizuoka Prefectural Committee will overcome the difficulties and achieve success. The new Central Committee will certainly extend a helping hand to them.
I think this discussion showed the way to bring about a democratic coalition government. Let us strive to make the 2010s the decade of the JCP’s great advance, maintaining “growth and development targets” as the actual goals of the entire Party.
Fourthly, the discussion visualized how we can build a larger and stronger party. I will outline three points of agreement.
First, the road to a larger and stronger party is to build a party whose “branches are the main players.” Various experiences that have been shared regarding party-building have confirmed this to be key.
Ishikawa is the only prefecture where the party has achieved a net increase in party membership as well as the readership of both the daily and the Sunday edition of Akahata since the previous Congresses. The Chair of the Ishikawa Prefectural Committee spoke about the most important lesson we can learn from their success.
He emphasized that the party’s advance for the last four years drove home the fact that only through building a party whose “branches are the main players” was it able to invigorate itself and realize a significant advance. They took up local grievances and organized movements to realize their demands; tried to hold branch meetings once a week; and worked at strengthening its activity and organization through discussing the decisions of the Congress and Central Committee Plenums. Then, he said, after the great majority of party members understood and agreed with the decisions, the activities of the party bodies and branches were changed for the better.
He reiterated that through these efforts, the ratio of party branches able to acquire new readership every month increased from over 30% to over 40%, and rose again to more than 50% in the past two years. The entire party should learn from this experience in which concentrated efforts to build the party based on the principle of “branches are the main players” can change the party for the better without exception.
There were many other inspiring anecdotes regarding branch-level efforts to build the party whose branches are the main players
The delegate from Ohkaji branch in the Sendai-Higashi District of Miyagi Prefecture spoke about their tenacious efforts to build a stronger party within the prefectural-run apartment complexes. She said that the head of the branch, whose members’ average age was 77.6, was playing an important role in the local community, serving as a head of a neighborhood association, as a district social welfare council member and a volunteer visiting neighborhoods to prevent the solitary deaths of elderly residents. As commitment to these activities earned the trust of the people, new members entered the party. Their motto is, “No hurry, go slow and steady.” She became aware that all the elderly members had rich experiences, abilities and wisdom to share, and were well-prepared to play their part to work for a better society. They hold branch meetings twice a month without fail, with every member paying a party due. Many of the local residents are elderly and struggling to survive on pensions of less than \100,000 a month or on meager welfare benefits. Although activities under such circumstances are hard, the branch is engaged in forward-looking and joyful activities to realize their own “growth and development targets.” This branch, with its average age of 77.6, is still young in spirit and dynamic. We were deeply impressed by her remarks.
The next thing I would like to talk about is branch activities in workplaces. This is the first time in several Congresses that we have had such a lively discussion by delegates from workplace branches. The Workplace Seminars, which were held twice since the previous Congress, facilitated the progress of party activities in workplaces although they were in their early stages. This was reflected in the lively discussions that transpired at this Congress.
A delegate from Kanagawa Prefecture reported on their struggle at Isuzu Motors Limited. The party branch at Isuzu Motors has perseveringly and proudly raised the party flag at the workplace for 47 years. After the factory in Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture was closed and its workforce was transferred to two factories, one in Tochigi Prefecture and the other in Fujisawa City in Kanagawa, they established party branches from scratch in both the factories to continue their struggle. Because of their unwavering efforts, Isuzu was the first workplace in Japan where the struggle was launched against dismissing temporary workers. He spoke about the regular workers’ efforts to reach out to and work together with temporary workers to realize their demands. They tenaciously continued to hand out flyers in front of the factory gates and walk about the factory premises looking for temporary workers to talk to. When their struggle entered the second year, they began to receive e-mails or letters from those who read the flyers. They sent replies to each one of them, gradually developing a rapport with workers. At first, the branch members concentrated on listening to their grievances and demands, refraining from preaching the party’s position. Building on the party’s persistent struggle at Isuzu for years, a union of temporary workers was swiftly formed on the heels of the company’s dismissal of the temporary workers. Recruitment of new party members advanced in the process. He said that he was confident that in this way, we can build up a rapport based on trust and mutual respect with temporary workers anywhere.
The Chair of the Workplace Branch Assistance Committee in the Chosui District in Nagano Prefecture told us about their activities that were carried out persistently and systematically. The committee was launched after the JCP’s first seminar on workplace issues, and held monthly regular meetings and meetings for experience exchange among workplace branches for three years and seven months without fail. He was proud to say that even during election periods, they carried out these activities and achieved the highest number of support in the last 20 years, saying, “Thus, our new members are increasing ‘one by one’ although not ‘one after another.”’
The Chair of the Workplace Branch Assistance Committee in the Takatsuki Shimamoto District in Osaka Prefecture explained that they made every effort to keep in touch with workplace branches while squarely addressing the concerns of branch members. As part of its campaign, he handed out his profile that included information on his family life in order to convey the message, “I am neither a snake nor a devil but just a regular old guy.” Some branches, which had been unable to hold meetings for a long time, tried to hold regular meetings even when the participants were only the branch head and the chair. Through this effort, the percentage of branches holding regular meetings rose to 87 percent from 57 percent. For one and a half years, he kept sending letters to a member who insisted that he had quit his membership 20 years ago. The chair said, “In the end, we received a contribution and a greeting letter from him, saying that he is looking forward to keeping in touch in the new year.” I think talking about it for 8 minutes may be easy, but what they have done must be difficult to achieve. They are making changes due to their continued efforts.
In a word, something that is in common to workplace branches that has produced good results is their long-lasting, persistent and systematic efforts. Of course there are hardships and difficulties to surmount so we cannot improve overnight. However, it will definitely bear fruit if you continue with your persistent and systematic efforts, rather than just seeking immediate results. I believe this is the most important lesson we should learn from the speeches we have heard in the Congress. To help in this activity, the Central Committee pledges to continue to hold seminars on workplace issues on a regular basis in the new period starting after this Congress.
The third point I would like to emphasize is the significance of passing on our experiences in party activities to the younger generations. For this reason, the draft Resolution and the Central Committee Report focused on this issue. Younger delegates, who are carrying on with the activities, one after another expressed their great resolve, saying, “It is us who will lead the JCP in the future.” I think this is epoch-making.
A 33-year-old standing member of the JCP Fukushima Prefectural Committee referred to their slogan, “Let’s win a seat in the Lower House from Fukushima Prefecture with the strength of our generation.” He told us that under this slogan younger members of the JCP Fukushima were learning a lot and maturing as JCP members with aspirations, dreams and ambition to work together for a better future. He expressed his determination saying, “The draft Resolution calls for passing on the experiences gained in JCP activities down to the younger generation, and we are the generation that will carry the momentum forward. So everyone who is in our generation, let’s work to achieve the growth and development targets together.” It is certain that if we are able to win a Lower House seat in the local constituencies in Fukushima, we will be “close to achieving the establishment of a democratic coalition government.” So, comrades in Fukushima, keep up the good work.
The draft Resolution called for making the 2010s a decade of advance for the party. A 37-year-old delegate, who is a Lower House local constituency candidate in Hyogo Prefecture, seriously took this appeal as significant in his life and then started to ponder how to take up the valuable baton from JCP’s veteran members and what kind of life he, a man in his mid-30s, will have over the next 10 years. He showed his determination saying, “I am resolved to make a great effort so that the JCP’s advance will be carved in history and I can further develop as a JCP member.”
A 31-year-old delegate moved to Fujikawaguchiko Town in Yamanashi Prefecture and won a seat in the local assembly, where the JCP previously had no seats. He explained that he made strenuous efforts and played a role to move local politics in a progressive direction. He collected signatures to have medical fees for those up to the age of the third year of junior high school free of charge and submitted them to the mayor. As a result of that, the town introduced an ordinance to raise the age at which people can receive medical care subsidies to 15.
Another speech by a 31-year-old comrade, who moved from Takamatsu to Tonoshocho, Shodoshima in Kagawa Prefecture was touching. He was struggling to win a seat in the local assembly where JCP had no seats. With determination, he said, “I hope to report on my successful acquisition of the local assembly seat” at the next Congress. So everyone, let’s support his challenge in Tonoshocho, Shodoshima.
On behalf of the Fukui Prefectural Committee, a 31-year-old local council member in Fukui City confidently told the Congress that he was resolved to rid the JCP Fukui of the designation as “backward prefecture.” He said that he was selected by a local newspaper as “one of those young people who would play a major role in the next 10 years in the prefecture”. In addition to that sentiment, I would like to express my hope that he will also become a person to lead the JCP future.
A 28-year-old delegate, who is a city council member in Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture showed great determination to achieve an “Okinawa with no bases.” My heart was filled with joy, knowing that the traditional popular struggle with an “Okinawan heart” since the days of Senaga Kamejoro has been passed on to the younger generation.
Thus young people who will take up a leading role in the future JCP struggle expressed their great wishes enthusiastically, courageously, with dignity and confidence. I am sure this points to a bright and promising future for the JCP.
Let us try our best to make the 2010s a period of historic advance in many areas, including party building.
We have invited representatives of the diplomatic corps in Japan to observe this Congress, and delegates from 19 embassies attended. Among them, people from 10 countries participated in the JCP Congress for the first time. Of the four Congresses to which we have invited diplomatic corps representatives, the largest number of delegates from embassies took part this year. Reflecting the expansion of the JCP’s opposition party diplomacy, people from various continents attended the Congress.
On the first day, we had an opportunity to thank them and talk with them. The guests appreciated this chance for mutual exchange, which made us happy.
Now, I would like to convey to you some of their feedback. One member of the diplomatic corps told us that he was surprised to see that so many guests from embassies joined in the Congress. Another member thanked us for giving them the valuable opportunity to observe the Congress of a Japanese political party and learn more about the nation’s politics as neither LDP nor DPJ invite diplomatic corps to their party congresses. Also, another guest came to realize that the JCP was a well organized party with discipline, seeing over a thousand people sitting in the auditorium for more than three hours, concentrating on reports while taking notes. The guest told us that it was very impressive, compared to their congresses where people are drinking beer, walking around, and reading newspapers.
I was pleased to have received constructive feedback and offers of cooperation regarding the issue of elimination of nuclear weapons or the issues regarding the global environment that I mentioned in my report.
We invited guests from the diplomatic corps to gain mutual understanding and establish friendships, and this will be further pursued in the future.
I will now propose amendments and reinforcements to the draft Resolution based on the pre-Congress discussion, the Central Committee Report and the discussions we have had during the Congress. Please take a look at the distributed amended draft, where amendments and reinforcements are underlined. We have received 500 suggestions. Having examined each of them carefully, we are proposing amendments as in the amended draft.
Major amendments and supplementations are set out as in the following.
-- Section 4 (Part I): Based on the Central Committee Report, what is taking place now is described in relation to the contradictions from the viewpoint of the Party Program as follows: “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.”
-- Section 6 (Part II): Concerning agriculture, forestry and fisheries, we stipulated our demand to revise the Agricultural Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and stated in detail some measures to promote forestry and fisheries.
On the global environment, we stressed the need to substantially increase renewable energy use and to make clear our position of opposing the promotion of nuclear power generation under the pretext of tackling global warming.
Concerning the issue of U.S. military bases, we pointed out the problems in the government’s handling of the current situation, and called for a powerful nationwide movement to establish an “Okinawa and a Japan without U.S. military bases.”
As regards education, as the basic stance of our party in drawing up a new Fundamental Law of Education, we specified the ideal of “aiming for the full-fledged development of the humanistic character of each and every child as a sovereign.” This is the essential ideal of the Fundamental Law of Education before it was adversely revised. Education must be provided with the purpose of a full-fledged development of the humanistic character of each and every child. It must never be subject to any specific purpose of the state. This essential ideal was stipulated in this section.
Giving greater importance to the responsibility of government in promoting academic, cultural and sports activities, we have set up a separate section to discuss this question here, against a backdrop of the government’s “budget screening” process being carried out based on the current debate that only seeks short-term efficiency and is lacking in intermediate and long-term views for promoting these fields.
-- Section 8 (Part II): Based on the Central Committee Report, we reinforced this section by discussing the characteristics of today’s economic crisis, with reduced employee compensation, and the rapid increase in corporate internal reserves, the need for a policy change of returning corporate internal reserves for the benefit of society, and the significance of establishing “an economy with rules.”
-- In Section 9 (Part II), where we questioned the role of the mass media, we added the phrase, “cooperating with many conscientious mass media workers.” While we questioned in the draft Resolution various moves within the mass media, we are well aware that there are many individuals in the world of media who are working conscientiously and courageously. Thus, we specified the need to cooperate with these individuals.
-- Section 10 (Part II): Reinforcement was made based on the Central Committee Report on how the JCP views the current situation and the future direction of the labor movement.
-- Section 12 (Part III) has been revised to state the JCP’s position opposing the Obama administration’s policy of increasing its military presence in Afghanistan. Based on the Central Committee Report, it specifies straight how the future of Japan-U.S. relations should be.
-- Section 16 (Part III): A new section was added on the issue of tackling the issue of global warming. The draft Resolution lacked a sufficient examination of this issue as the COP15 was to be held in December 2009. In the Central Committee Report, in the light of the result of the COP15, we referred to the international achievements in regard to preventing global warming and our future tasks, and the core points were incorporated in the new section set up in the amended Resolution. Accordingly, other sections following this would bear new numbers, larger than before.
-- Section 19 (Part IV): The position of making proportional representation constituencies the axis for battles in the forthcoming House of Councilors election was made more clearly in the amended version. We added such essential points to achieve victory as fighting the election amid the rising tide of party strength, and reaching out with voters through the expansion of JCP supporters associations and distributing newsletters.
-- Section 21 (Part IV): Concerning the party building efforts to reach the “growth and development targets”, we need to hold onto the position of achieving “quality as well as quantity”, as we referred to in the Central Committee Report. The amendment here was made to that effect.
-- Section 22 (Part IV): Several reinforcements were made in this section. First, it outlines the achievement in the “special campaign period” leading to the Party Congress. And due to a recent important lesson, “Struggle is the driving force to help establish work rules as well as the source of the growth of class consciousness on the part of the workers” was added. The amended Resolution specifically emphasized that party bodies should regard the strengthened activities among youth and students as one of the central tasks in party activity and party building bearing upon the future of the party and the revolutionary movement, and party bodies should make utmost efforts to steadily try to take up this important task. Also, we specified that in exercising leadership, it is important that party bodies have the capability to “listen attentively to the general public.” Further, responding to the reports from the Disciplinary Commission and Petition Commission, the Central Committee decided to include a new paragraph discussing the need to respect civic morals and social ethics, establish a disciplined party life, and establish morals worthy of an organization struggling to promote progressive social progress.
-- Finally, in Section 25 (Part V), the statement made in the Central Committee Report was incorporated in the amended draft Resolution, saying that because the JCP has an outlook for the future incorporating a broad perspective, it can promote ways to solve pressing problems that demand an immediate solution.
In addition to the amendments and reinforcements explained so far, there are a number of modifications in wording, which we have made with careful and well-thought-out examination.
Our final task in this Congress has been to refine the draft Resolution based on which the JCP will work on various problems both domestically and internationally under the newly evolving situation. I am confident that the draft Resolution has now been completed, utilizing the wisdom of the entire party.
Dear comrades, with the Party Program and the Congress Resolution soon to be adopted, let us actively engage in discussions about the future course for Japan with a broad range of people. And let us work hard to achieve a major advance in the upcoming House of Councilors Election.
This concludes my Concluding Remarks on the Discussion.