August 2, 2011
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on August 1 delivered the commemorative speech in Tokyo at an assembly celebrating the 89th anniversary of the JCP founding. Chairpersons of the 3.11 disaster-hit JCP prefectural committees of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima also spoke at the assembly, which was broadcast live on the Internet.
Shii first expressed his determination to make his utmost effort to support the 3.11 disaster victims and help restore their lives. He said, “There has been a change in public opinion about politics and society since the occurrence of the disaster,” and that the change corresponds to the JCP founding spirit: Work to reduce people’s hardships.
He introduced various volunteers’ activities in the disaster region engaged in by rank-and-file JCP members and by JCP members of municipal assemblies. He especially focused on Oikawa Ichiro, JCP member of the Rikuzen-takata City Assembly in Iwate Pref., who died in the tsunami while he was evacuating his neighbors until his last moment of life. JCP members’ commitment in each community embodies the JCP’s founding spirit and pride, he said.
The JCP has so far sent more than 11,000 JCP members and supporters for volunteer work in the disaster areas and has collected more than 880 million yen in relief donations. He reported that some readers of the daily Akahata, the party’s organ paper, keep making donations while putting their trust in the JCP that the party will use the money for disaster relief. Making mention of young JCP members succeeding in having their town governments send relief supplies to the disaster areas after repeated requests, Shii called for wider JCP support actions.
When people are faced great catastrophes, the JCP’s members and supporters are always there to lend a hand. In the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, for example, leading JCP member at that time Kawai Yoshitora braved the fires to rescue a child and many other JCP members dedicated themselves to assist the quake victims, though some were arrested or killed by the authorities because the JCP was illegal at that time.
In the 1933 Massive Sanriku Tsunami, in the midst of fierce suppression, party members, mostly workers and farmers, worked tirelessly to save people. Shii read out the article of the party organ at that time, Sekki (currently Akahata), reporting on the JCP’s aid activities. He emphasized that the JCP’s founding spirit has been passed down to the post-war generation.
In regard to the 3.11 disaster reconstruction, Shii reported that the JCP Dietmembers’ effort is moving the government to do something to deal with the “double loan” problems, and that political discussions are intensifying in the Diet arena between “recovery initiated by business circles” and “recovery respecting local consensus”.
Sony is cold-heartedly downsizing its workforce in the tsunami-devastated prefecture of Miyagi. Shii reported on dismissed workers’ struggles against Sony and stated, “Now is the time for leading manufacturers to use their enormous internal reserves to ensure continued employment in the disaster region.”
The JCP’s proposal for post-disaster reconstruction is an important step needed to establish an economy governed by rules as the party Program calls for. He said, “Let’s work together to build a new Japan!”
With the public eager to gain knowledge about nuclear power generation, the JCP is attracting public attention due to its consistent criticism of the dangers associated with nuclear power plants.
Public voices against N-power generation are now affecting politics. The shutdown of reactors at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Shizuoka Prefecture marked the first step toward victory.
The revelation that Kyushu Electric Power Co. (Kyuden) instructed affiliate companies to send e-mails supporting the restart of its Genkai N-Power Plant to a local cable TV program has proved that the operation of N-power generation is impossible without unfair manipulation of public opinion.
The JCP policy proposal, “For an immediate break with nuclear power and toward an all-out promotion of renewable energy” published on June 13, shows that hazards associated with nuclear power plant accidents are of an extraordinary nature compared with those of other types of disaster. The damage spreads geographically without limit, and the duration of adverse effects and consequences of contamination cannot be restrained. Nuclear power generation at present is based on intrinsically flawed and hazardous technology, producing deadly nuclear waste with no way to safely dispose it.
The government kept secret for 39 years a study made in 1960 which estimated that 4 million people would be at risk of radiation contamination in case of a serious accident in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture where Japan’s first nuclear-power station was located. If that data had been made public at the time, it would have been impossible to build so many reactors in Japan. There is no other option but to shut down the nuclear power plants which were built by deception.
In 1955, when the first Japan-U.S. agreement on the use of atomic energy was concluded and the Atomic Energy Basic Act was enacted, only the Japanese Communist Party opposed them due to their dangerous nature. The JCP adopted a “Resolution on the atomic energy problem” at the Central Committee plenary meeting in July 1961, demanding that the construction of nuclear power plants be cancelled.
Because of grass-roots activities and Diet debate, the construction plans that the government and electric power companies pushed have not been fully implemented. There are now 54 reactors in 17 locations. These 17 locations had been decided on by the end of 1960s. No reactor has been put into operation at any planned sites since the 1970s. Struggles to make the government and electricity companies give up on the construction of new power plants have been fought successfully at 25 locations throughout the country. Thanks to these struggles, power generation by nuclear power plants was knocked down to about 48 million kilowatts, less than half of the initial plan of 100 million kilowatts. The JCP’s policy proposal for breaking the nuclear power industry is based on this history of enduring struggles at the grass-roots.
Underlying the existence of so many nuclear power plants in one of world’s most earthquake- and tsunami-prone countries are two political aberrations.
One is the nuclear power interest sharing community that includes business circles, political circles, bureaucrats, scholars toadying up to them, and the mass media. They have in unison propagated the “nuclear safety myth” to deceive the public in order to more easily promote nuclear power generation.
The other is that Japan’s nuclear energy policy from the beginning has been subordinated to U.S. nuclear policy. Under the agreement on atomic energy, the United States provided enriched uranium after which nuclear reactors were introduced to burn it. Reactors in Japan are also copies of U.S. nuclear reactors.
To break with nuclear power generation means to correct the two aberrations always acting at the U.S. beck and call and always acting in the interests of large corporations. This entails the need to struggle to change the political and social system.
Japan is now encountering a major crisis caused by the great earthquake and nuclear power accident. If we overcome this crisis, a new Japan can emerge.