(Adopted on January 18, 2014)
After the House of Representatives election held in December 2012, a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komei Party returned to power at the height of the public disappointment and anger at the breach of public promises by the Democratic Party of Japan.
In the House of Councilors election in July 2013, while the ruling LDP-Komei parties regained the majority in the House of Councilors, the Japanese Communist Party was the only opposition party that increased its seats. The JCP advance was of historical significance marking the third advance since the JCP established its programmatic line in 1961, following the first advance that occurred between the late 1960s and 1970s as well as the second in the latter half of 1990s.
Japan is entering upon what we can characterize as a new phase where the JCP-LDP confrontation has started in full scale.
Confrontation between the JCP and the LDP has always been an undertone of Japanese post-war politics and it has time and again surfaced as the main characteristic in varying political situations.
However, the current phase of the JCP-LDP confrontation, created through the recent two national elections, has distinct features that have not existed till now.
Various intermediate political parties that existed between the LDP and the JCP, which were there to absorb protest votes against the ruling parties, have now ceased to exist. With the attempt to create a "two major political parties system" failing, and the "Third Pole forces" losing momentum, the JCP has emerged as the only reliable party that can counter the LDP.
Such arrangement of political parties is unprecedented in Japanese political history. From the end of 1960s to 1970s and in the late 1990s, the periods when the JCP advanced in the national elections, the "JCP-LDP confrontation" was mooted. During these periods, however, there were intermediate parties that absorbed votes against the LDP. The ruling forces later co-opted those parties so that they formed a united anti-communist political formation. Now that there are no such intermediate parties, the present situation brings into sharp relief the correlation of political parties where the JCP-LDP confrontation is becoming more prominent than ever before.
Although the LDP and its auxiliary forces appear dominating at the surface of the political world, underneath the LDP politics characterized by two aberrations – i.e. extraordinary subservience to the United States as well as to the business circles – is on the verge of collapse.
Years of politics under the abnormal influence of the business circles has resulted in the continued decline in workers' income and stagnated or negative growth of the national economy. Japan's ratio of long term debt to the GDP has become one of the highest among the advanced capitalist countries.
The politics extraordinarily subservient to the U.S. has pushed contradiction between the wishes of the Japanese public and the continued existence of U.S. military bases in Japan beyond the limit of acceptability. It also threatens to completely destroy Japan's economic sovereignty including "food sovereignty," as demonstrated in the issues surrounding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations.
Japan has entered the historically strategic era in which the 60-year long LDP style politics can be liquidated. The Abe government has started to run wild as it attempts to overcome the serious crisis of the continuance of LDP politics in a reactionary direction. However, it is only plunging itself deeper into a stalemate and increasing further its contradictions with public sentiment. Should we continue the old-style LDP politics or drastically change our political course? This stark choice is what we are facing now.
With contradictions between the two aberrations of Japanese politics and the public interest intensified, various struggles bringing together movements based on single demands have grown and intensified.
An unprecedentedly wide range of people have been joining in these movements, and the JCP has been playing an important role by its participation and support. This is truly epoch-making. Any single demand raised by these joint struggles can be readily seen to clash with the basic framework of the LDP politics characterized by the two aberrations.
Behind the apparent dominance at the top by the LDP and its cronies, collaboration between the majority of the public and the JCP has been growing in influence at the grassroots level of society.
At the foundation of the newly opened era characterized by the "JCP-LDP confrontation" is the JCP's indomitable and persistent struggle against the system as it is. Since 2003, a massive media campaign began to encourage voters to elect a government led by either one or the other of the two major political parties – the LDP or the DPJ. Because of this campaign to exclude the JCP from the public choice, we experienced a series of setbacks and a sluggish performance in national elections. After every election, we learned sobering lessons and again challenged ourselves to do better in the next election struggle. Our persistent struggle has brought about a demise of the "two major parties" scheme and the advent of a new era in the direction of Japanese politics.
What enables us to maintain our indomitable struggle?
First, the power of the new Program adapted at the 23rd Party Congress in 2004. This Program served as a political compass to steer a correct course without being influenced by superficial developments in the political arena. Also, by publishing a 21-point list of democratic reforms that Japanese society needs at present, the Program laid a solid foundation for developing policies on various issues, which include: an alternative economic policy proposals for financial reconstruction without relying on the consumption tax; an appeal to the workers that proposed economic recovery through wage increases and more stable jobs; a proposal calling for immediate withdrawal from nuclear power and a shift to renewable energy; and a foreign policy proposal that outlined our vision for a future Japan as a leader of peace after getting rid of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
Second, our tenacious struggle was an expression of the JCP's founding spirit "to relieve people's hardship." The campaign to set up a "two major political party system" was not only intended to exclude the JCP from the political landscape, but also designed to systematically destroy the public's quality of life, peace and democracy. As the LDP and the DPJ vied with one another to promote the "structural reform" policy that serves the strong at the sacrifice of the vulnerable sectors of society, the public living conditions were getting worse in every aspect and poverty and the wealth gap between the rich and the rest became more acute ever. In this situation, the JCP and its members at the grassroots level have devoted themselves to help the public in need to overcome their hardships and realize their various demands. At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the JCP made a great effort in delivering relief and helping in reconstruction, resulting in an increased trust for the JCP among disaster-stricken people.
Third, our unrelenting effort to build and sustain our own party organization and finance. The JCP is now widely recognized as a principled, trustworthy, and reliable party. It is because it has ties with the public at the grassroots level, is an independent organization with independent party finance, and has a forward-looking Party Program. This is in a stark contrast with those political parties that have no roots in the public domain, waiting for a favorable wind to blow their way, and whose finances are mostly dependent on government subsidies. They set up, divide, and dissolve themselves one after another.
Under the present situation, the JCP takes up the following three postures to advance our struggle.
- CONFRONTATION: The JCP will wage a head-on confrontation with the Abe government to defend the public interest. In the current arrangement of the political parties, only the JCP is in position to do this. The public expects the newly-advanced JCP to stop the dangerous juggernaut by the LDP government. We will make all-out efforts to live up to public expectation.
- PROPOSITION: As a party promoting progressive change with a concrete Program that envisions a bright future for Japan, we will present the public with constructive policy proposals in every field, including the economy, energy production and use, and foreign policy, to overcome the outdated LDP policies. At the same time, we will inform the public of our bold vision that emphasizes the fact that only through a fundamental reform to correct the distorted old-style form of politics marred by the two aberrations, can we bring about a bright future for all. We will make the most of our right to submit bills which we acquired after the latest House of Councilors election.
- COLLABORATION: Every step that the Abe government takes to ram through its anti-people agenda would inevitably cause further conflict with the public and lead to increased popular struggles. The JCP will make every effort to develop a style of "joint struggle on a single point issue" united around an urgent demand, and eventually create a vast united front to drastically change Japanese politics.
The JCP will pursue these three postures in a combined and persistent way. Only with radical proposals clearly formulated can a party confront the ruling party head-on. Whether it confronts or raises alternative proposals with the government, only through collaboration with the majority of the public, can a party change the actual policies.
The most important changes in the 20th century were the complete collapse of the colonial system, the world-wide acceptance of the right of national self-determination, and more than 100 nations gaining political independence as sovereign states. These changes were what should be termed as a sea change in the world structure. An outstanding feature of current world affairs is that this shift is now showing great potential as a driving force to foster world peace and social progress.
The world is now breaking away from the era of great powers in which a handful of big powers dictated world affairs, heading for a new one in which every country, regardless of its size or power, participates in world politics on an equal footing. When the JCP delegation attended the Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 2010, we saw representatives from emerging and developing countries playing leading roles actively as the president of the Conference, the chairperson of the Main Committee I, the U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and so on.
There is a growing movement toward a realization of an international order of peace based on the U.N. Charter. In 2003, the U. S. and some other countries illegally went to war against Iraq without U.N. Security Council resolution to authorize the use of force. But ten years later, in 2013, the attempted military intervention led by the U.S. against Syria was thwarted by fierce international public opposition. As the matter was handed to the U.N., the Security Council finally adopted unanimously a resolution that required Syria to remove chemical weapons in the country and paved the way for a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Though the Syrian situation is likely to continue on a perilous course, the adopted resolution was "historic" as was described by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This has shown the reality of the current structure of international politics where even the most powerful is not allowed to openly defy the U.N. Charter to arbitrarily resort to the use of force.
The global economic order is also changing. With the framework of the summit of the major advanced nations, launched in 1975 as the G6 and developed into the G7 and later the G8, increasingly unable to address global issues, the global economic crisis in 2008 prompted the G8 to give way to the G20 incorporating emerging and developing countries. Moreover, the G20 itself is now said to have its own limitations. Even a G192 is advocated as a framework in which all the U.N. member countries participate. As emerging and developing countries have been increasing their share in the world's gross domestic product (GDP) year by year, a major shift in the balance of economic powers is underway. Such a trend has been pointed out globally in such reports as the "Perspectives on Global Development 2010 – Shifting Wealth" by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) or the "Human Development Report 2013 – The Rise of the South" by the U.N. Development Program. The era in which a small number of powerful nations dominate the world economy is over.
Based on the Party Program, the JCP 24th and 25th Congress Resolutions provided a multi-faceted analysis of U.S. strategy in various areas. We have paid close attention to two aspects of U.S. strategy: persisting in military hegemonism and placing new emphasis on diplomacy to address and solve international problems. This two-pronged approach is becoming more important to utilize in order to understand the current U.S. strategy.
Looking at the U.S. Obama administration's global strategy over the past 4 years, we clearly see that the U.S. strategy continues to hold those 2 aspects that were pointed out in our previous resolution, even though U.S. global influence is on gradual decline. While the Obama administration has inherited the military hegemonism as the basic strategic line of successive U.S. administrations, at the same time, it puts more emphasis on diplomatic negotiations to solve issues both bilaterally and multilaterally in its global strategy.
U.S. air strikes using armed drones in other countries have caused a serious international problem. In September 2013, the U.N. published a report for the first time concerning the U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and some other countries. Among others, Pakistan suffered at least 330 drone attacks causing more than 2,200 casualties, of which more than 600 were identified as civilians or probable non-combatants, according to the report. U.S. special operation forces have also intensified their extraterritorial activities, such as the assault on and the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden by the U.S. navy SEAL team on Pakistani soil. President Obama said, "The world is a better place because we have borne the burdens of leadership." The inclination to military hegemonism of the U.S. is deep-rooted.
The Obama administration, on the other hand, declared the end of the Iraq War in December 2011 and U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq. He has also made clear his policy to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. During the military intervention in Libya in 2011, the U.S. participated in the aerial campaign where most of the sorties were done by the British and the French. However, the administration chose to follow a path for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis through the U.N. Security Council. It now pursues a diplomatic solution as a serious and practical option for Iran's nuclear issues as well as North Korea's.
The dual features of the U.S. strategy adapting both military hegemonism and diplomatic efforts also appear in its so-called strategic "rebalance" toward the Asia-Pacific region.
The U.S. is trying to strengthen its military alliances with Japan, South Korea, and Australia as the first pillar in its Asia strategy. Its strategy continues to be based on the long-held assumption that a strong U.S. military presence is indispensable in maintaining and enhancing U.S. influence in the region.
At the same time, the U.S. has expanded diplomatic engagement as a basic component of its strategy to increase its influence in China as well as the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), which has been promoting and developing a regional community of nations for peace. The U.S. policy toward China is not the so-called containment policy that it had adopted against the former Soviet Union. The U.S. and China agreed at a summit meeting in June 2013 to develop their relationship by building "the new model of relations between great powers," bearing the two components of "competition and cooperation."
It is significant that regional communities of nations for peace have developed and evolved in Latin America and in Southeast Asia as bearers of an international order of peace based on the U.N Charter.
The Southeast Asian nations have made great efforts to develop the ASEAN after the U.S.-centered military alliance, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), collapsed.
The ASEAN has developed multi-layered frameworks to create peace and security and expanded them by including countries outside the region. These frameworks include the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). They have become important instruments working for peace in the region and beyond.
The TAC was signed in 1976 as a code of conduct governing relations among the states in the region with the goal of reaching peaceful resolutions to conflicts or tensions without resorting to the use of force. Since 1987, it has been open for membership of oth-^er non-Southeast Asian countries and it now has 57 member countries covering almost all of Eurasia and a large part of Americas representing 72% of the world population, becoming a huge current in world affairs.
Underlying concepts throughout these developments are following:
- An inclusive regional community of nations for peace having all nations in the region as its members, open to the rest of Asia and the world, and rejecting the concept of potential enemy that military alliances often incorporate;
- A concept of security through peaceful means such as dialogues, confidence-building and pursuing peaceful solutions of disputes, breaking away from the security concept solely dependent on military means and deterrence; and,
- A pursuit of cooperative development with diversity among nations, recognizing and respecting differences in political and social systems, in cultures, and in stages of economic development.
It is true that there exist a number of international disputes in the Southeast Asia. While the U.S. is trying to enhance its influence over the region, China is also making efforts to extend its influence across the region.
Even under such circumstances, the ASEAN has formed its own freestanding group that rejects hegemony by any big power. They are committed to peaceful means to find solutions and preventing disputes from escalating to war through dialogues that they hold more than 1,000 times a year. The ASEAN is now extending this current for peace beyond the region to the entire Asia-Pacific. This forward-looking effort has great potential to establish regional peace and provides multifarious lessons we can learn from.
In 2010, the heads of 33 Latin American and Caribbean states declared the creation of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC). After three years of preparation, the first summit of the CELAC was held in January 2013.
In 2010, the 33 countries agreed to act based on principles such as respect for international law, sovereign equality of states, renunciation of the use and threat of force, and dialogue that promotes peace and regional security as well as solidarity, social inclusion, complementarity and voluntary participation.
In addition, the first CELAC summit in 2013 put emphasis on embarking on a path of gradual regional integration based on pluralism and mutual respect for sovereignty.
It is also remarkable that the CELAC has been taking initiatives for global peace such as adopting in 2011 the special communiqué on the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which was reaffirmed at its first summit in 2013.
In addition, in 2012, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia withdrew from the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Pact), a military alliance that once served as an excuse for U.S. interventions in and invasions of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Having been dysfunctional since Mexico withdrew in 2004, it is now on the verge of total collapse.
The encouraging developments in this region testify that a regional community of nations for peace, pioneered by the ASEAN, has universal significance and is being watched in every part of the world.
The last JCP Congress Resolution proposed two core tasks in bringing forth a world without nuclear weapons, namely an immediate start of international negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and breaking away from the nuclear deterrence theory. These proposals have been proved correct and are now increasingly being brought forth as viable proposals in international politics in the last four years.
Now the focal point of international discussion is a nuclear weapons convention, which intends to totally ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. The commencement of international negotiations for such a convention is now recognized as a realizable goal.
The 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) affirmed that all states need "to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework" to achieve "a world without nuclear weapons." Review Conference President Libran N. Cabactulan pointed out that the conference has brought into focus a nuclear weapons convention hitherto hidden in the shadows.
It is also significant that the First Committee of the 68th U.N. General Assembly in 2013 adopted with overwhelming majority, i.e. more than two thirds of votes, a resolution calling for the swift commencement of negotiations for a comprehensive convention to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons, proposed by the Non-Aligned countries as well as one proposed by Malaysia and other countries.
There are two striking developments.
The first is the joint statement at the U.N. General Assembly First Committee in October 2013, signed by 125 countries on the humanitarian consequence of nuclear weapons. It pointed out that nuclear weapons bring about "unacceptable humanitarian consequences" by their "destructive capability and indiscriminate nature," stressing that "it is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances" and that "the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons will never be used again is through their total elimination." By agreeing on the statement that opposes the use of the weapons "under any circumstances" and calls for their total elimination, the international community is now paying renewed attention to the inhumane and atrocious nature of nuclear weapons, which hibakushas and the peace movement in Japan have been persistently pointing out to the world. This is a positive development towards a "world without nuclear weapons."
The second is that the recent move to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria has prompted an increased demand for outlawing nuclear weapons and concluding a nuclear weapons convention. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which opened for signatures in 1993 and entered into force in 1997, is now joined by 190 states, an overwhelming majority of the nations in the world, including Syria. The latest development in Syria has strengthened an argument that says "Now that we managed to ban chemical weapons totally, why can't we eliminate nuclear weapons that are the most destructive and inhumane of all weapons?" This logic is beyond dispute.
At the 2015 NPT Review Conference held 70 years after the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the JCP will make a determined effort in bringing about an agreement on starting negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention, as a political party in the country which once suffered the nuclear attacks, in solidarity with anti-nuclear weapons movements in Japan and throughout the world.
With the world changing structurally and the power of emerging and developing countries growing significantly, an era when the international economy cannot be controlled only by advanced capitalistic countries has emerged. A new democratic international economic order is keenly needed in tune with the drastically changing world.
What is most important at present is to establish an international economic order based on equality and mutual benefit, which respects differences in social systems and stages of economic development as well as socio-economic realities without imposing particular economic models such as so-called "American standards" from the outside. This now becomes the real agenda in world politics. The Leaders' Statement in the G20 Pittsburgh Summit in September 2009 noted, "We recognize that there are different approaches to economic development and prosperity, and that strategies to achieve these goals may vary according to countries' circumstances." This recognition is important.
In particular, democratic rules are urgently needed to govern the international economy and democratically regulate large multinational corporations on following points:
- Rules to stop abusive movements of speculative money. The money game operated by speculative capital has caused serious damage to the real economy in many countries and pushed up prices of crude oil and grains, putting heavy strains on people's lives. Since the global financial crisis of 2007-08, the G20 countries started considering various financial regulations, some of which have been already enforced. Moreover, 11 member states of the European Union have agreed to introduce a financial transaction tax. Such measures should be expanded.
- Rules to stop tax avoidance by multinational corporations. The G20 has given this issue a high priority, calling on the member countries "to ensure that international [tax regulations as well as domestic tax regulations] do not allow or encourage multinational enterprises to reduce overall taxes paid by artificially shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions."
- Rules to stop international competition in lowering corporate tax rates. Recently, many countries have cut corporate tax rates in order to attract foreign investment to such extent that governments' revenues dry up and amounts of sovereign debts soar. This situation can be described as "Multinationals prosper or nations perish." It has proven to be a myth that the more profitable corporations become with corporate tax cuts, the more prosperous nations become with increased tax revenues. This "harmful tax competition" among nations, as was repeatedly warned about by the OECD, was also a focus of discussions at the G20 summit in 2010 as a practice that needs to be reversed. Germany and France jointly proposed at the 2011 EU summit to introduce a minimum rate for corporate taxes. The international community should work together to urgently stop the corporate tax reduction competition and raise the present excessively lenient corporate tax rates.
- Rules to stop global competition in labor cost cuts. The fiercely competitive environment in a globalized economy fuels international competition to cut labor costs which undermine the foundation for a sound growth of the world economy as well as national economies. This "race to the bottom" in reducing labor standards world-wide triggers ruinous abuse of workers who are the actual source of economic growth, only to end up in a diminished industrial vitality. It is remarkable that the G20 Leaders' Declaration in September 2013 put emphasis on "growth through quality jobs," pointing out that "creating more productive and better quality jobs is at the heart of our countries' policies aimed at achieving strong, sustainable, and balanced growth, poverty reduction, and increasing social cohesion." The declaration also called for effective measures to ensure "a sustained decline in informal employment." It is important to have international rules strengthened to stop the competition to see who can cut labor costs the most.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in September 2013 a new report of the Fifth Assessment Report, summarizing the scientific opinions on global warming. It forecasts global temperature to rise by 4.8 degree Celsius and global sea level to rise by 2.82 meters at the maximum (both relative to 1986-2005). The world leaders already agreed to limit the rise in global temperature within 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial revolution level. If the temperature increases more than this limit, there will be serious adverse consequences to the ecosystem with threatened human survival. The latest report argues that climate change prevention is a pressing task for the survival of humanity. Japan has also experienced a series of global-warming induced phenomena, including new highs in maximum temperatures, frequent occurrence of unprecedentedly heavy rains and super-force typhoons.
With the First Commitment Period (2008-2012) under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions coming to an end, the international community gathered at the 17th and 18th Conferences of Parties (COP17 & COP18) held respectively in Durban, South Africa, in 2011 and Doha, Qatar, in 2012. Through these meetings, it was agreed that: i) a Second Commitment Period is set for the period from 2013 to 2020; and ii) a new international framework after 2020 under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be agreed upon by 2015. In addition, the developed countries agreed to contribute USD100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries to combat and cope with climate change.
However, Japan, Russia, and New Zealand have withdrawn from the Second Commitment Period, and the U.S. and Canada refuse to join as they are the non-signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. As a result, major emitting countries whose aggregate emission amounts to more than one fourth of the world total refuse to accept any reduction obligation during the upcoming period.
Moreover, although it was agreed that the new framework starting from 2020 be applied to all the signatories and that developing countries also be obliged to reduce their emissions, the developed and the developing countries continue to be at odds over the concrete targets.
The Warsaw Climate Change Conference (COP19) in November 2013 reach a "minimal" agreement that all countries, including developing countries, should submit reduction targets technically termed "nationally determined contribution" by March 2015. It was also decided that negotiations will continue in order to reach a new consensus by the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) in November 2015.
The JCP proposes as follows:
- Developed countries, which are historically responsible for global warming should bear the following "dual responsibility" under the principle of the "common but differentiated responsibility," – i) pursuing ambitious reduction targets themselves, and ii) demonstrating to developing countries alternative development paths with greatly reduced carbon footprints and providing them with adequate technological and financial assistance to pursue such paths.
- Given that emerging countries are becoming major carbon emitters, with that China emerging as the largest emitter with one fourth of the global greenhouse gas emissions and India emitting 5.4%, developing countries are expected to voluntarily join in a legally-binding international emissions reduction framework.
- Citing the increased dependence on thermal power in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese government has thrown away its target to reduce emissions by 25% by 2020 from the level of 1990. It has declared at COP19 the "temporary" target to reduce emissions by 3.8% by 2020 from the 2005 level. This is actually an emissions "increase" target if compared with the 1990 level. This is totally irresponsible for the 5th largest greenhouse gas emitting country. The U.K., EU, and developing countries criticize Japan's slashing of its reduction target and characterized it as "deeply disappointing," "backtracking" on its commitment, and "a huge step backwards." The increased use of thermal power stations during the emergency situation could not be avoided. However, the problem is that the Japanese government has put nuclear power at the center of its energy policy, neglecting to shift to renewable energies and a low-energy consumption society.
The government should make a political decision to immediately realize the goal demanded by citizens for "zero nuclear power plants" and make a rapid and massive shift to renewable energy. It also should set an aggressive emissions reduction target and fully implement it. We have to drastically overcome the present energy-wasting social norms accepting the continuance of "mass-production, mass-consumption, mass-disposal," extraordinarily long working hours, and the so-called "24-hour society."
In the past 4 years since the last Party Congress, the JCP has further expanded its diplomatic activities as an opposition party.
Our diplomatic contacts have expanded in East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and Africa, including many Islamic countries. The JCP sent a delegation to the U.S. in May 2010 on the occasion of the NPT Review Conference along with the representatives of the Japanese peace movement. We made our efforts to bring about a successful conference by requesting the U.N. missions of various countries to support and promote an initiative to start international negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention. The delegation also met with U.S. government officials to inform them of the JCP position regarding the U.S. military bases in Okinawa.
Another notable feature of our recent diplomatic activities is the significant expansion of our relationship with the South Korean government, its political parties, and South Korean people from various walks of life.
Our representatives attended the 6th and 7th General Assemblies of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) held respectively in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Dec. 2010) and Baku, Azerbaijan (Nov. 2012). The JCP made a positive contribution to the conference and had fruitful exchanges with other political parties in Asia. Our representatives also attended as observers at the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Tehran, Iran, in Aug. 2012 and its Ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, in May 2011.
Engaging in opposition party diplomacy, we have held high our demands to bring forth "an international order for peace as defined by the U.N. Charter," "a world without nuclear weapons," "friendship with Asian countries on the premise that Japan expresses remorse for its war of aggression and colonization," "a democratic international order based on respect for economic sovereignty for every nation," and "establishing dialogue as well as coexistence among various civilizations with different values" as set out in the Party Program.
It is of special importance that the JCP has engaged in diplomacy based on internationally recognized principles, contributing to world peace and social progress, in regard to nuclear weapons abolition and other issues that are under international scrutiny. Through our diplomatic activities, we have strongly felt that the international tasks as set forth in the Party Program have universal significance. We have also enriched our knowledge of the rapidly changing world through various diplomatic exchanges.
We are determined to strengthen our diplomatic activities in the future.
Although the ruling coalition of the LDP and Komei Party has a majority in both Houses, its political base is not so robust but quite vulnerable and full of contradictions.
The consumption tax hike, social security cuts, promotion of nuclear power generation, attempt to legalize Japan's exercise of the right to collective self-defense, and submission of a secrets protection bill to the Diet - as the Abe Cabinet takes such steps to realize its runaway policies which go against the will of the general public, the conflict between the two sides is stirred up.
More importantly, the Abe Cabinet has fallen into serious self-contradictions as it is unable to provide any coherent explanation, even from the ruling circle's point of view, as to its respective runaway policies which go back on its previous justification.
Generous corporate welfare combined with a consumption tax hike undermines its own argument that the tax hike is needed for better social security and financial reconstruction. While admitting to the need for a pay increase, the government is in fact further deregulating labor laws which lead to a pay cut. The government's attempt to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact completely denies its campaign promise to protect important agricultural products form trade liberalization. The LDP's move to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense is totally inconsistent with the traditional constitutional interpretations which LDP governments have maintained for more than half a century.
The Abe Cabinet's retrogressive and reactionary political stance, expressed in its justification and glorification of the past war of aggression and colonial rules, prewar-like denial of basic human rights which is highlighted in a LDP draft for constitutional revision, and a 19-century-like argument which denies the idea of social security in the modern era and puts emphasis on self-help and family-help, are causing flagrant contradictions both at home and abroad.
The actions of Japan's political leaders and their historical view that justifies the past war of aggression, such as Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, is totally unacceptable internationally as it discredits the basic framework of post-war international relations. It causes a serious diplomatic rift with China and South Korea. In addition, even the United States, which LDP politicians largely depend on for support, criticizes it as discord surfaces between such views and the U.S. strategy in Asia.
The fragility of the Abe Cabinet is evident in that the LDP is fast losing the popular base that it once had. LDP membership drastically decreased from 5.47 million in 1991 to 790,000 in 2012. Its promotion of TPP, a consumption tax hike, cutbacks in social security spending, and structural reforms in various fields are among the reasons why industrial and professional organizations alike stopped supporting it and business and local community leaders left the party. Its misrule has been badly decaying its organization. Those who left the party have started to cooperate with the JCP through various single-issue struggles. This is a significant change.
Though the runaway policies of the Abe Cabinet are dangerous, we do not need to fear because this situation cannot last long. His runaway policies will inevitably bring forth serious political turmoil, if not crisis, sooner rather than later.
The JCP will squarely confront the Abe Cabinet, propose countermeasures for every issue, and engage in wider cooperation with the general public to struggle against the runaway administration.
Nearly three years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake that brought catastrophic disaster to Japan. Despite the relief efforts in the disaster-hit area, around 90% of disaster-stricken people are still forced to live in temporary housing units with no hope for their future in sight. The government indifference and even merciless termination of public support for medical and nursing services to the victims, an inflexible stance at the government offices in providing relief, and massive public works projects undertaken along with various deregulations under the pretext of "reconstruction" hampers true reconstruction work in the disaster-hit areas.
Through the efforts of the victims and the wider public, however, some relief measures have been introduced, including a maximum 3 million yen grant for rebuilding a house and financial assistance to groups of disaster-stricken enterprises. The JCP has put forward three proposals on disaster reconstruction and has worked hard to help the victims. We demand that, first of all, the government should continue the support measures until victims' livelihoods, workplaces, and local communities are recovered and able to stand on their own feet. The government should overcome its refusal to subsidize the reconstruction of private houses, stores, factories, and medical facilities, which the government has hitherto made a rule for disaster relief because of its aversion to "helping to acquire individual private property." The JCP demands that the government provide public assistance necessary for the victims to rebuild their houses and their livelihoods as a matter of basic principle for disaster relief. In Fukushima Prefecture, the nuclear accident deprived many people of their very basis for living, and nearly 140,000 people are hopelessly taking refuge. The number of disaster-related deaths has reached 1,600. We strongly demand that the government should be responsible for having the damages thoroughly compensated and taking every possible measure to support and protect their lives, health, livelihoods, and the natural environment. We, as a national political party, put top priority on reconstruction from the Great East Japan Disaster. This is not only a struggle to help mitigate the public hardships incorporating the JCP's founding spirit but an endeavor to correct the distorted Japanese politics.
We must forge solidarity with movements waged by all disaster victims including the movement to prevent victims of the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji earthquake from being evicted from the social housing units which have been leased by the local governments and rented to the victims for rehabilitation purposes.
The Abe administration's economic policies dubbed "Abenomics" are nothing new. It is actually a conventional and failed "trickle-down theory," based on a false assumption that if large corporations make big profits through governmental preferential treatment, part of it would in time "trickle down" to the general public through increased employment, workers' wages, and household income. However, in reality the policy brought about a vicious, not virtuous, circle in Japan's economy. The JCP will fight against such wrong policies and strive to solve the economic crisis, creating a positive growth circle by directly backing support for family budgets.
The first pillar of the JCP's proposal is an economic reform to boost household incomes. To break out of the economic crisis is possible by raising workers' wages and creating stable jobs.
The JCP proposed in the 25th Congress resolution "to force large corporations to return their excess internal reserves for the benefit of workers, small businesses, and society at large." This demand, at first only put forward by the JCP and democratic trade unions and other organizations, is now supported by the wider public. The government and financial circles are now become unable to deny that the Japanese economy cannot come out of the prolonged recession without raising wages and increasing people's income. This fact proves that the JCP's reasonable proposal is the only way to solve the current economic slump.
However, the Abe administration is actually implementing a wage-reducing policy that would further destabilize employment and extend long working hours through such measures as unlimited expansion of temporary employment, liberalization of firing workers, and legalizing unpaid overtime work. While recognizing the necessity of pay raises, the government is working out policies for "pay cuts" one after another so that big businesses can earn short-term profits. The administration has come to a deadlock and fallen into serious self-contradiction.
The JCP will continue its utmost efforts in solidarity with labor and people's movement in mobilizing public opinion to have workers' wages increased and pull the economy out of recession.
- We demand that the government urge the business circle to increase workers' wages by using its accumulated internal reserves. Although wages are determined through labor-management negotiations, a government initiative will help strengthen public demand for pay raises.
- We will work to improve labor legislation, offer permanent positions to contingent workers, and secure decent jobs for all workers. We strongly oppose destroying labor legislation, such as the lifting of restrictions on job categories that can use temporary workers. We will help contingent workers get permanent jobs by drastically revising the Worker Dispatch Law and establishing rules to ensure equal treatment. We will create rules to regulate the so-called "black corporations" that continue to engage in oppressive and exploitative employment practices, impose a limit to the abnormally long working hours of many workers, and prohibit illegal downsizing and dismissals.
- We urge the government to immediately implement measures to increase workers' wages, including a substantial increase in minimum wages and the enactment of a public contract law or ordinance. The pay cuts for public workers should be stopped. There is no guarantee that corporate tax breaks will lead to pay raises. The most effective public spending to increase wages is the subsidies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them to pay their workers as per an increased minimum wage standard and the reduction and exemption of their social insurance premiums.
The second pillar is to oppose the consumption tax increase, and to improve the social security system as well as overcome the fiscal crisis by democratically reforming tax, fiscal, and economic systems.
If the government raises the consumption tax in April 2014 to 8%, the tax burden will increase by 8 trillion yen. If the planned social security cut and pension reduction are implemented, the total increase of the social security related burden will come up to 10 trillion yen. These will be the largest-ever burden increase imposed on the general public. The administration claims that its policies intend to both revive Japan's economy and rebuild state finances. However, if these policies are enforced, they would cause serious damage to people's lives and SMEs' businesses, ruining both the economy and finances.
- We will strive to block the consumption tax increase by promoting collaboration with the public based on the common demand that "we should stop the tax hike in April 2014" irrespective of differences in views on the consumption tax itself.
- The JCP puts forward in its economic policy an alternative way not depending on sales tax revenues. It consists of two components, namely, i) securing revenues by eliminating waste such as huge public works and military expenditures as well as reforming the tax system based on the principle of ability to pay; and ii) increasing tax revenues by getting Japan's economy back on a growth track through economic reform to raise people's incomes. If these two steps are implemented at the same time, it will improve both the social security service and the financial situation. This is the only solution to the current crises in the economy, finances, and social security.
The third pillar is to strike back at the Abe government's attempt to destroy the social security programs and to work to revive and improve them.
The basic idea of the government's "social security reform" is to confine the government's role to "supporting the moves for the public to help themselves or to be self-reliant." This is to effectively destroy the social security system based on Article 25 of the Constitution, eliminating public support for the vulnerable sections of society who will be forcibly driven to "self-reliance".
The present widespread poverty and hardships in people's lives are the result of the government's misrule. However, the administration leaves the problem up to "self help" and "mutual help within family members," abdicating its responsibility for providing social security. The cuts in social programs are forcibly increasing out-of-pocket expenditures and reducing benefits and subsidies in every field, including the public pension program, medical care, nursing care, support for child-rearing and support for the handicapped. We cannot allow the government to destroy the social security system in total disregard of Article 25 of the Constitution.
To promote such social security cuts, the ruling coalition of the LDP and the Komei Party has devised an unscrupulous strategy to bring division and discord among the public. Its typical example is a campaign of "livelihood protection-bashing" which is intended to deliberately provoke non-recipients to attack the recipients. To say nothing of the social security cut itself, the government intentionally creating and spreading sickness in Japanese society as a vehicle to destroy the social security system is an absolutely unforgivable conduct that any elected officials should have ever been allowed to do.
- We oppose the policies adversely affecting all social welfare programs including medical care, nursing care, national pension, child rearing support, support for the handicapped, and livelihood protection. In addition, we call on the public to promote solidarity to defeat the Abe government's onslaught against the social security program and to realize social security guaranteed as human rights.
- The JCP "economic proposal" contains a radical but realistic reform program to firstly "revive" the social security that has been undermined and as a next step to "improve" it to the higher levels among the advanced nations with its funding secured in each stage. This proposal presents both a solution to the present social security crisis and a vision for its future progress, which the ruling coalition government is now unable to talk about. It fully responds to the public's wish for a system in which they can live a decent life.
The fourth pillar is to change the industrial policy to one that brings a healthy growth of the economy led by domestic demand.
Under the slogan of "strengthening international competitiveness," large corporations have radically cut costs by reducing payrolls and the purchase price of goods in order to expand exports. They have reaped huge profits relying on overseas demand while sacrificing domestic demand. This economic distortion is the main cause of the current deflationary recession in Japan.
The JCP will work to fundamentally correct this distortion, turning the industrial policy into one to help bring about healthy economic growth driven by domestic demand. This policy shift will not only be effective in protecting workers and small business owners from abuses by big companies but also pave the way for healthy and steady economic growth by having a portion of the internal reserves of large companies flow back to workers, SMEs, and the local economy.
We will encourage Japan's manufacturing technology and industry to further develop by properly utilizing the skills of workers. The policy of treating workers like disposable items is depriving workers of motivation to work and degenerating the country's technological capability. To improve labor regulations and create a society where every worker is respected will strengthen the source of industrial development, stimulate personal consumption and demand, and thus lay a sound foundation for the economy.
We call for abandoning the "selection and concentration" policy that excludes most SMEs and implementing alternative promotion measures targeting all the SMEs. The JCP already put forward a drastic SMEs policy in April 2010 including: i) the "support measures" to help them to develop new products, markets, techniques, and to train their successors; and ii) the "regulations" to prevent large corporations and big financial institutions from abusing small business owners. These two measures are inseparable.
We should shift away from the industrial policy dependent on nuclear power generation to one to spread the use of natural energy. Renewable energy-related businesses are connected with so many industries that they have a great potential to draw out the strength of primary and secondary industries including the manufacturing industry. To drastically increase Japan's energy self-sufficiency rate from the current 4% would completely change the basic conditions for the Japanese economy and industries, which have been formerly considered as lacking in natural resources.
We will attach great importance to basic research and reinforce the research base for science and technology as well as academic studies. With the pressure mounting on universities and research institutions to achieve short-term results, the basis for Japan's robust basic research and wide-ranging academic studies are being threatened. It is necessary to increase state funding for research activities and secure stable employment for academics and researchers, establishing a system where they can advance their own research without receiving undue pressure to produce "quick results."
We will promote agriculture, forestry, and fishery as Japan's key industries and a main pillar to revive local rural economies. We oppose Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement that will destroy our food and agriculture. The government has decided to end the rice production adjustment within 5 years in anticipation of an increase in rice imports after Japan joins the TPP. It claims that Japan can compete by consolidating farmlands in the hands of corporations through weeding out small-scale farmers. However, Japanese agriculture would be unable to compete with the larges-scale agriculture of the U.S. or Australia where an average acreage cultivated by a farmer is 100 times or over 1,500 times larger respectively than that of a Japanese farmer. The JCP is absolutely opposed to any attempt to lower Japan's rate of food self-sufficiency and destroy its agriculture. One of the nation's most urgent tasks should be to set a goal of raising the food self-sufficiency ratio to 50% as well as to promote agriculture, forestry, and fishery by guaranteeing minimum prices for products, thus securing producers' incomes and supporting their successors as well as promoting collaboration between producers and consumers and the principle of local production for local consumption.
The nuclear accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant drastically changed the public perception of nuclear power generation. A "zero-nuclear Japan" is now urgently demanded by the general public.
Since the mid-1950s when nuclear power generation became a controversial issue in Japan, the JCP has continuously pointed out that the current nuclear power generation technology is flawed and hazardous, and opposed all construction plans of nuclear power plants. The JCP has waged struggles to oppose the building of nuclear power stations in various part of the nation. Also in the Diet, it has questioned the government pro-nuclear power policy pointing out the dangerous risks inherent in nuclear power plants. In doing so, it has raised such issues as the nuclear power promotion deeply relying on the "nuclear safety myth"; the lack of an independent nuclear regulatory body; the absence of a safe method to dispose of spent nuclear fuel; and the risk of a station blackout or meltdown in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.
The massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region in March 2011 vindicated the JCP's warning on the likelihood of a nuclear meltdown disaster in a most tragic manner.
Learning from the experience of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the JCP has made a series of proposals, developing its policies on nuclear power generation and energy.
In June 2011, the JCP put forward a proposal for a swift departure from nuclear power generation. The proposal pointed out that: when a nuclear power plant causes a serious accident emitting a vast amount of radiation, the human element is unable to bring it under control immediately and the damage continues to spread geographically, socially, and chronically without limit; these "extraordinary hazards" of nuclear accidents will become most serious in Japan, one of the most quake- and tsunami-prone nations in the world; there is no such thing as "safe nuclear power plants" and; it is impossible for "Japanese society to coexist with nuclear power generation." In August 2011, the JCP published a proposal on measures to protect the health of children and adults from radioactive contamination. It called on the state to conduct a thorough investigation of local radioactive pollution and take steps for immediate decontamination, drastically increase the support for evacuees, and introduce all possible measures to ensure availability to comprehensive medical check-ups that include measurement of exposure dose, both external and internal.
With the Fukushima nuclear crisis becoming ever graver and public opinion and movements against the restart of nuclear reactors hugely developed, a majority of the public have come to support the creation of a "zero-nuclear Japan." Meanwhile, the operations of nuclear power stations throughout Japan stopped for a significant period of time.
Taking into account these developments, the JCP in September 2012 published a proposal for "immediately realizing zero nuclear power plants." The proposal pointed out that Japan has no need to restart idled nuclear reactors and that reactivation of nuclear reactors will further increase "nuclear wastes" which we have no way to dispose of. The JCP proposed that the government "make a political decision to immediately shut down all nuclear power plants and realize 'zero nuclear power plants' now" and "cancel its policy of reactivating idled nuclear reactors, and begin the process of decommissioning reactors while suspending operations of all nuclear reactors."
The Abe government released in December 2013 a draft Basic Energy Plan which intends to maintain and promote nuclear power plants in the future as an "important base-load power source that serves as a foundation" and to reactivate idled reactors. It amounts to an affront to the majority of the general public which calls for a Japan without nuclear power plants.
- The government should make a political decision to immediately realize "zero nuclear power plants." The ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster is demonstrating the "unique risks" of nuclear accidents as the JCP pointed out. Far from being put under control, the disaster has been ongoing with radioactive water increasing. This massive amount of radioactive water is threatening to overflow and will seriously contaminate the ocean. Japan is facing a major emergency. The JCP urges the government to make a political decision to accomplish "zero nuclear power without delay" and simultaneously make all-out efforts to reconstruct Fukushima.
- Aiming to overcome the critical situation of the radioactive water leakage issue, the JCP in September 2013 issued an urgent proposal and demanded the government to implement all-out efforts. In the proposal, the JCP demanded the government i) to formulate a basic principle of "preventing the sea from being polluted with radioactive materials"; ii) to publish the results of investigations into the current status of radioactive water leakage, retract the "accident under control declaration," and create a public awareness of the emergency; iii) to cancel plans to reactivate or export nuclear power plants and concentrate all human and physical resources on solving the radioactive water leakage issue; and iv) to liquidate TEPCO which lacks the capability of coping with the accident and establish a structure in which the state directly takes charge of efforts to control the accident, compensate for damage, and decontaminate.
- The restart of suspended nuclear reactors and exports of nuclear power plants should be cancelled. The Abe government together with business circles began calling for the resumption of operations of offline nuclear reactors and are scrambling to sell Japan-made nuclear power plants to other countries. Under a situation where the nuclear accident is still in emergency state, resuming operations and exporting nuclear power generation is unacceptable. The "new safety standards" for nuclear power plants fail to set the numeric criteria for preparedness for quakes and tsunami at each nuclear power plant, allow construction of plant facilities on active faults if they are invisible, leave planning of evacuation to each municipality. It is unacceptable for the government to use such sloppy "standards" as an excuse to move forward on reactivation of suspended nuclear power plants. We categorically reject any plans for new nuclear plants to be built. Also, the already failed nuclear fuel cycle scheme should be scrapped.
- Massive introduction and development of renewable energy should be promoted. Without relying on nuclear energy, the government should formulate and implement a plan to expand energy saving efforts and drastically shift to renewable energy. During a transitional period of 5-10 years, during which we have to utilize thermal power to secure adequate energy, we will introduce renewable energy in a massive scale and promote the shift to a low energy society. Contrary to the claims by pro-nuclear power forces that renewable energy is "unstable" and "costly," its supply will be stabilized and its cost reduced as the usage expands and the variety of renewables on-line increases. As to the argument claiming higher costs, nuclear power generation is an ultimate example of expensive energy as amply shown in the Fukushima accident. Japan's potential output from renewable energy sources is 40 times more than the generation capacity of nuclear power plants in the country. A major shift to such energy would open the door for the bright future.
The struggle seeking a "zero-nuclear Japan" is a vital part of the struggle to dismantle the so-called "community of interest benefiting from nuclear power generation" and to establish an "economic society governed by rules." It also entails breaking Japan's energy subservience to the U.S. The JCP regards this as part of our struggle to end the adherence to the "two aberrations" stipulated in the JCP Program.
"Unique risks" of nuclear accidents are common to all other nuclear power plants in the world. Human history witnessed three major nuclear disasters - the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the U.S., the 1986 Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union, and the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan. We believe that a call for "zero nuclear power plants" will attract the majority of people on the earth in due course. The decommissioning of all nuclear reactors and the handling of "nuclear waste" will be a monumental project for human beings to tackle using all available knowledge and wisdom. Having experienced the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan should take the initiative in pushing forward an international project for a "world without nuclear power plants."
Sixty years after the Japan-U.S. security treaty entered into force, Japan's abnormal politics characterized by subservience to the U.S. underpinned by the treaty is facing a crisis of legitimation and creating a serious contradiction with the public.
Since 2010, virtually all the Okinawan people have voiced their opposition to the Futenma base relocation within Okinawa. Ignoring this, however, the Japanese and U.S. governments have been imposing the base relocation to Henoko as the only possible solution. Despite their lip-service to "relieving Okinawa from its base burden," they are actually pressing an array of measures to increase the burden. They include: building a huge state-of-the-art military base in Henoko; deploying the vertical takeoff and landing aircraft Osprey and letting them freely fly all over Okinawa; deploying stealth fighter jets to Kadena Air Base; and greatly increasing the numbers of Marine Corps deployed there. The contradiction between the Okinawan people and the U.S. military bases has long passed the limit of endurance. Removal of U.S. military bases is also indispensable to help revitalize Okinawa's local economy.
The Abe government put pressure on LDP lawmakers from Okinawa and the LDP Okinawa prefectural chapter to break their campaign promises and accept the plan to build a new U.S. base in the prefecture. Following that, the central government pressed Governor Nakaima into approving the landfill project for the base construction, resorting to the power of money which will be pumped into the prefecture through a so-called Okinawa promotion budget. Although those who canceled their campaign promises are also to blame, it is the Abe Cabinet that should be held most responsible for the treachery. It is naked despotism which should not be allowed in a country calling itself a democracy. The JCP will continue to struggle firmly in solidarity with Okinawan people who are determined not to give up their struggles.
Osprey issues are not limited to Okinawa. With the Osprey participating in the joint military exercises in Shiga Prefecture as a start, there are plans to conduct flight practices all over Japan, including low-altitude flight training along seven flight paths as well as plans for their additional deployment. If this comes about, its danger and damage will be immense.
The Marine Corps, the Carrier Strike Group, and other U.S. forces in Japan are not here to protect Japan but to project themselves quickly to hotspots using Japan as their forward base. The past U.S. Defense Secretaries and Japan's ex-Defense Minister admitted to this fact.
We will strive to put an end to the abnormal status of Japan as a U.S. forward base of operations by unconditionally removing the U.S. Futenma base; cancelling the Osprey deployment; stopping the outrageous low-altitude flight training of U.S. aircraft; sending back the U.S. Marines stationed in Japan; stopping the homeporting of the U.S. Carrier Strike Group; and fundamentally revising the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces of Agreement (SOFA).
The TPP is an agreement intended to impose U.S.-style liberalization in trade and investment along with market fundamentalist policies as the rule among its participants. It will bring about enormous damages to all aspects of the Japanese economy and people's lives, including agriculture, food safety, and healthcare, destroying our economic sovereignty. This amounts to an agreement that will ruin Japan by handing the country to the U.S. on a platter.
The Abe government has been pushing forward with the TPP participation by doubly breaching its public promises. First, despite its commitment to providing detailed information, it has plunged into highly secretive negotiations to conclude the deal. Second, even though it pledged to "protect what should be protected" and to keep import tariffs on "5 key farm product categories," it has started to consider removing tariffs on those very items.
Japan should immediately pull out from the TPP negotiations that are being held behind closed doors in breach of government promises. The JCP will work to build equitable and mutually-beneficial international economic relations based on respect for each other's sovereignty in regard to food and economy.
While we develop joint struggles fought around these highly contentious issues based on cooperation with members of various social strata, we, at the same time, work to create a majority opinion that supports the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. In this effort, it is important to inform the public about the positive changes that can be brought about by its abrogation, as shown in our "Diplomatic Vision" document ("Abrogation of Japan-U.S. Security Treaty Would Open Up New Horizon," May 12, 2012).
- When we get rid of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the Japanese people will be freed from the oppressive presence of the U.S. military. Under the Security Treaty, relocation of an individual base is possible only when both governments reach an agreement. However, we can end the Security Treaty by exercising our right under Article 10, giving notice to the U.S. of our intention to abrogate the treaty. A Japan without U.S. bases will stop serving as a launching pad for U.S. wars. We would be able to use the taxpayers' money and land that are now used by U.S. forces for the well-being of the general public.
- We can turn Japan from a launching pad for U.S. wars to a "launching pad for peace" based on Article 9 of the Constitution. Only by ending the Japan-U.S. military alliance will Japan be able to become a serious advocate for a shift away from a military build-up to disarmament in East Asia. Japan can emerge as a country that offers a positive contribution to establishing "an international order to create peace based on the U.N. Charter," achieving "a world without nuclear weapons," and other tasks to bring forth global peace through independent and peaceful diplomacy.
- In regard to relations with the U.S., the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty should be replaced with a Japan-U.S. friendship treaty to be concluded on a basis of equal footing. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) now has 138 member states (including the observer states) representing a population of 5.4 billion, and is developing as a major current in world politics. The goals of the movement are to reject military alliances while maintaining neutrality, establish peaceful international relations based on the U.N. Charter, abolish nuclear weapons, and make the international economic order more equitable and democratic. After abrogating the Security Treaty, Japan should join the NAM which has become a main current in the world history. It would be a great contribution to the peace and progress of the world.
In Northeast Asia, we are faced with the North Korean nuclear weapons issue, disputes including one over the Senkaku Islands, as well as confrontations and mutual distrust related to historical issues. Under the present situation, it is an urgent task to pursue diplomatic efforts to create a peaceful environment in this region.
The JCP proposal is for Northeast Asia to build a regional community of nations for peace which is already developing in Southeast Asia.
We propose that a movement for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia have the following goals and principles:
- Conclude a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Northeast Asia as rules for peace which member countries need to abide by, including renunciation of the use of force, peaceful resolution of conflicts, non-interference in internal affairs, and promotion of effective dialogues and cooperation for confidence building.
- Return to the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks issued in September 2005, create a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, realize a comprehensive resolution on nuclear weapons, missiles, and the abduction issue as well as unsolved historical issues, and develop this framework into one that can create and maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
- Stick to diplomatic negotiations in a calm manner based on historical facts and international law as means to solve territorial disputes existing in the region. Strictly refrain from actions that could escalate into conflicts, such as any forcible change in the status quo and use or threat to use force, and conclude a code of conduct for the countries concerned to solve conflicts through friendly consultations and negotiations in accordance with international law.
- Japan's remorse over its past war of aggression and colonial rule is the essential basis to develop amity and cooperation in Northeast Asia. Swiftly solve Japan's military sexual slavery issue and other unsolved issues and block the rise of adverse forces trying to falsify the historical record.
Recent international developments suggest that such a move for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia is realistically possible.
It is worth noting that South Korean President Park Geun-hye, during her speech in the U.S. Congress in May 2013, called for promotion of a multilateral dialogue process and building of a mechanism of peace and cooperation in her proposal for an "initiative for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia". In a joint statement published in the China-South Korea summit meeting in June, China commended and supported in principle the initiative President Park proposed. Leaders participating in the ASEAN Plus Three Summit Meeting in October also welcomed Park's proposal. Following this, in the speech delivered in Tokyo last December, Indonesian President Yudhoyono called for the conclusion of an "Indo-Pacific treaty of friendship and cooperation" which has among its principles the renunciation of the use of force and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
East Asia should break away from the security concept mainly depending on military means and deterrence and pursue a new concept on security that would be realized through peaceful means including dialogues, confidence building measures, and peaceful resolution of conflicts. We call on countries concerned to foster dialogue and cooperation, try to shift away from military buildup to disarmament, and create a regional community for peace in Northeast Asia based on this new security concept.
The Abe administration has been blatantly pushing forward the revision of Section 2 of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution to newly form the National Defense Force (NDF). This is not just an attempt to give a new name to the current Self-Defense Force (SDF). The removal of Section 2 of Article 9 of the Constitution means a new Japan that could wage wars overseas.
It is very alarming that the Abe administration is trying to change the long-held governmental understanding of the Constitution in order to exercise the right to collective self-defense, under a new banner of "proactive pacifism," even before the revision of the Constitution itself.
The Abe administration forcibly passed the National Security Council bill, which creates a Japanese version of the U.S. national security council, and the State Secrets Protection bill in the extraordinary Diet session at the end of 2013. Later, the administration made a cabinet decision on a national security strategy, the first of its kind, and set a new National Defense Program Guidelines and a new Mid-term Defense Program based on it. This is an attempt to put a more aggressive character to the SDF, discarding even its official position: maintaining an exclusively defense-oriented policy. In addition, they are aiming to pass a Fundamental Law on National Security in the ordinary Diet session in 2014 to enable the exercise of the right to collective self-defense.
The State Secrets Protection Law is a most despicable law that threatens the freedom of information, speech and expression of the public, which would undermine the fundamental principles of the Japanese Constitution. The purpose of the legislation is to impose harsh government control over information and severe restriction of the freedom of speech and expression. Japan is a state that is disproportionately secretive among advanced nations as is shown by the various secret agreements with the U.S. Introducing the State Secrets Protection Law into such a country means Japan again becoming a dark society.
Although the Abe administration railroaded through the State Secrets Protection Law, rapid expansion of the movements in opposition and the surge of public opinion against the bill confirmed the extent to which Japanese public demands peace and democracy. The JCP is determined to make its utmost efforts to help create a broad-based opposition movement against such an anti-democratic law among Japanese citizens in order to abolish it. The party will fight against the law by submitting to the Diet a bill to scrap it.
The issue of the right to collective self-defense is not a rhetorical issue. We need to deal with the issue on the basis of actual Japanese politics. It is very important to show the Japanese people the following points: i) The right to collective self-defense is irrelevant to defending Japan in any sense, rather it is an excuse historically used by the major powers to justify unlawful wars of aggression or military interventions; ii) In Japanese politics, the right to collective self-defense has been debated only in relation to dispatching the SDF overseas to support U.S. combat operations; and iii) The real purpose of the exercise of the right is to remove any legal constraints on SDF activities in order to enable the SDF to conduct operations with U.S. troops in combat zones worldwide.
Obviously, a very serious situation has been developing as the proponents for constitutional revision have taken the majority of seats in the Diet and the Abe administration has been rushing to change the constitution.
At the same time, we should not overlook the serious contradiction besetting the constitutional revisionist camp. It is important to counter their attempt by an aggressive mobilization of public opinion and popular movements.
First, their methods to get the constitution revised have been strongly criticized. Unable to openly propose the revision of Article 9, the constitutional revisionists now resort to changing Article 96 that provides for the amendment procedure as a first step so that they could change the constitution more easily. In addition, they have replaced the Chief of Cabinet Legislation Bureau in a coup-like manner to forcibly change the traditional official interpretation of the constitution that prohibits the government from exercising the right to collective self-defense. These blatant actions themselves have been widely resented as moves to negate modern constitutionalism by both opponents and supporters of Article 9 revision.
Second, their attempt to create a national defense force and rejection of the universality of human rights is now coming under fierce criticism. The LDP draft revised constitution changes Section 2 of Article 9 to create a "national defense force." It also deletes the constitutional guarantee of fundamental human rights as "eternal and inviolate rights" and puts "public interest and public order" above human rights. In addition, the State Secrets Protection bill, which is inseparable from the move to change the constitution, is also opposed by the general public as an attempt to destroy the democratic principles of the Constitution, including the protection of human rights.
Thirdly, the Abe cabinet's extremely military-leaning attitude, as shown in its obsession with constitutional revision and the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, has not only alarmed neighbors such as China and South Korea but also caused concern in the U.S. A senior official of the U.S. Department of Defense reportedly warned a LDP lawmaker that Japan should not make trouble with neighboring countries. A senior official with the U.S. Forces in Korea also raised doubts about Abe's remarks on constitutional revision, arguing that such moves would not be helpful in the region. While the U.S. is enhancing its military alliances as a top priority under its "rebalancing" strategy, the U.S. is now also putting more emphasis on diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region. The Abe cabinet's "all-military and no-diplomacy" stance is now causing contradictions and friction even with U.S. strategic considerations.
Let's make the utmost efforts to stop the constitutional revisionists' attempts by forming a major public opposition movement against them.
The JCP will exert great efforts based on our firm position stated in the JCP Program: "We will defend all the provisions of the Constitution, including the preamble, and in particular strive to have the provisions of the peace and democracy fully implemented."
The progressive nature of the Japanese Constitution is not limited to Article 9. Its human rights provisions which include as many as 30 articles are also what we Japanese people can be proud of. The problem is that the LDP-led politics has undermined such provisions. We must change the politics to put life into the Constitution.
- The Japanese education system is distorted in a peculiar way that is rarely seen in the rest of the world, such as extraordinarily severe competitiveness among students, the most expensive tuition fees in the world, and political and administrative interference into the freedom of education. The Abe administration has been pursuing the implementation of national achievement tests on school children, a tighter control of teachers, anti-democratic reform of boards of education, adverse revision of the government guidelines to approve textbooks, introducing history textbooks that glorify Japan's war of aggression, and teaching morality as a required subject. These are all coming from the undemocratically revised fundamental law of education. The goal of such moves is to create people who would obediently follow a national policy to build a war-fighting nation and a harshly competitive economic society. Such moves would further distort the education system. The JCP opposes this reckless education policy of the administration. The JCP makes efforts to correct distortions in education from the viewpoint of the Constitution and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. We must also drastically increase educational spending, which is now the lowest in OECD in terms of its ratio to gross domestic product. We also make efforts to combat school bulling as a serious social problem, in accordance with our proposal, "For bullying-free schools and society" announced in November 2012.
- The world is making efforts to reform society based on the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Japan is ranked 105th among 136 countries in the Gender Gap Index in 2013, the lowest among developed capitalistic countries. Based on the Convention, the JCP will demand to eliminate the inequality in the legally marriageable age between men and women, the legal limitation on women to remarry after the divorce, the ban for a married couple to have separate surnames, and discrimination against children born out of wedlock. We demand to close the wage gap between men and women and to improve the ratio of female managerial positions. The JCP has promoted the advancement of women in society. 35% of JCP local lawmakers and 47% of JCP members are women. We must lead the efforts to realize women's equal participation in political and social activities.
- The ongoing reactionary reforms being imposed on universities and colleges must be strongly opposed. We should defend university autonomy as well as freedom of academic and research activities. We also demand an increase in budgetary allocation for the basic expenses of universities, narrowing the gap existing among universities and colleges, and a drastic expansion of support for young researchers. Freedom of expression and cultural activities should be protected. The exceptionally low budget allotted for culture by world standards, which amounts to just 0.11% of the national budget, should be significantly increased to fulfill the state responsibility to support art and culture. Recognizing having access to sports as a basic human right, we will promote a multi-faceted development of government sports policies.
- We demand the elimination of the single-seat constituency system in the House of Representatives and have it replaced with the multi-seat, proportional representative system that which most accurately reflects the popular will. Our proposal is the introduction of a proportional representative system divided into 11 blocks. This can effectively eliminate disparities in the relative weight of votes. We oppose the attempt to reduce the number of seats in the proportional representation constituencies in the House of Representatives because it would further distort public opinion which should be more accurately reflected in the Diet. The House of Councilors should also be reformed into a system that reflects diverse opinions among the public while realizing equality in the weight of votes. We call for elimination of the public funding system for political parties which is unconstitutional and demand the total ban of political donations from companies and organizations because such donations are in essence bribes. These reforms are natural consequences from the principles of people's sovereignty, human rights, and parliamentary democracy that are stipulated in the constitution.
Since the Abe government was established, the retrogressive forces in its historical stance have been making a naked attempt to justify and glorify Japan's past wars of aggression and colonial rule, creating serious international controversy.
December 2013, Prime Minister Abe forcibly paid a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Yasukuni Shrine is a special institution that in the past played an instrumental role in mobilizing the Japanese public to support war and at present is propagating the past wars of aggression by Japanese militarism and defending them as "justified self defense in order for Japan to survive" or as "wars intended to liberate the rest of Asia." In addition, the Class-A war criminals who were charged with the crime of starting the aggressive war are also enshrined there as they are considered to be victims unfairly condemned to death by the occupying forces. The prime minister's visit to this shrine is declaring to the whole world that they support the shrine's position justifying the past wars of aggression.
His shrine visit was met with strong international criticism. The governments of China and South Korea fiercely protested and U.S. administration expressed its "disappointment." Criticism was also expressed by the UN secretary general, the EU, and various governments, including Russia and Singapore. If Japan continues on this course of militarism, it will become a pariah state in the world. We strongly demand that the prime minister and other cabinet members stop paying homage to the shrine once and for all.
Referring to the review of the Murayama Statement, Abe maintained that the definition of aggression had not been settled and stubbornly refused to admit to the essential part of the statement which referred to "a mistaken national policy" in reference to Japan's "colonial rule and aggression." The JCP is strongly against such currents that deny and glorify the past era of militarism.
In May 2013, U.N. human right treaty bodies, namely the Committee against Torture and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, published recommendations that criticized the Japanese government handling of the military sexual slavery practices during WWII, the so called "comfort women" issue, and demanded its redress. Moreover, the South Korean government has repeatedly requested the Japanese government to initiate an intergovernmental consultation based on the Japan-Korea Claims Settlement Agreement to discuss compensation for the victims of the military sexual slavery system. It is a very serious problem that the Japanese government refuses to engage in consultation because it considers the matter to be already settled. Article 3 paragraph 1 of the agreement states that any disputes concerning the interpretation and implementation of the agreement "shall be settled ... through diplomatic channels." The Japanese government should immediately and sincerely begin consultations with South Korea.
Prime Minister Abe advocates a "value-oriented diplomacy" or "diplomacy based on universal values such as freedom, democracy, and a market economy." There are two problems to this approach.
First, the present world is entering an era when various social systems and civilizations with different values are increasingly required to live together and respect each other. Imposing one's "values" or excluding others that have different "values" is extremely harmful.
Second, if one takes up the issue of "values" in international politics, there is one universal value commonly shared by humanity irrespective of difference in social systems. It is the idea that we should condemn the fascism and militarism of wartime Japan, Germany, and Italy and never allow them to rise up again.
No one who attempts to subvert such values and goes against the historical currents has the right to participate in international politics. As a political party that waged a life-and-death struggle against the aggressive war, while resisting the prewar and wartime oppressive regime, the JCP will make its utmost effort to eliminate any adverse currents in historical distortions that may emerge in the Japanese political arena.
The salient feature of the political situation since the previous JCP Congress is the extensive development of various "single-issue joint struggles," each of which is organized based on a single common demand. They include the struggle against nuclear power generation, Japan's participation in the TPP free-trade accord, the consumption tax increase, U.S. military bases, revision of the Constitution, and other issues of fundamental importance to national politics. Our cooperation with a broad range of non-party people and those who have considered themselves to be conservatives has increased in many fields. We have also seen that many intellectuals, cultural, and religious figures have started to participate in the joint struggles. This is a landmark development with a promising growth potential.
In developing such moves with the aim of establishing a united front to change Japan, we will make further efforts with the following points in mind:
- We have continued sincere efforts in each field to develop the unity in single-issue joint struggles, with priority given to agreed points. When necessary, we have made persistent efforts behind the scenes. We should maintain this position also in the future, which is more important than ever.
- At the same time, if we want to bring about a fundamental solution to problems, democratic change is necessary in national politics, as outlined in the JCP Program. Therefore, it becomes essential for us to make independent efforts to set this out in a bold framework. In this regard, the movement of the Association for a Peaceful, Democratic and Progressive Japan (Kakushinkon) is extremely important in that it promotes and supports a variety of grassroots joint activities based on people's demands, and that it has continued efforts to form the majority consensus needed for fundamental change in LDP politics upholding the "three common objectives": First, to transform Japan's economy to one reflecting the interests of the general public, and aim for a Japan with better living standards; second, to give the Japanese Constitution full play, and aim for a Japan in which freedom, human rights, and democracy will be promoted; and third, to abrogate the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and aim for a non-nuclear, non-aligned and neutral Japan. We will exert efforts to develop and expand movements suitable for any given situation. We anxiously expect the democratic forces that support the Kakushinkon movement to unite with a wide range of people, and further develop its activity and organizational strength.
- The labor movement has an extremely important role to play in the course of establishing a united front. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the two seriously divisive policies upheld by the leadership of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), namely, the policy to support a particular political party and the policy to promote labor-management collaboration, faces serious contradictions and is starting to change. Anger has been mounting among workers against the Democratic Party of Japan which has promoted a consumption tax increase, nuclear power generation, reductions in public workers' wages, and other adverse policies. Therefore, the leadership of the Rengo-affiliated unions is having increasing difficulties in imposing on its members the support of a particular political party, namely the DPJ. In fact, some of the most influential industrial unions are now unable to openly support the DPJ. We will build up cooperation from the workplace upwards based on common demands among unions with different national center affiliations, and promote our struggle to change the union policy of imposing support for a particular political party and overcome their policy of labor-management collaboration. We are concerned with the fact that the unionization ratio among the total workforce has fallen to 18 percent. We will cooperate with the democratic trade union movement to unionize the enormous number of unorganized workers. It is extremely important that Zenroren increases in strength and influence because it has an increasingly important role to play in promoting joint actions with other unions based on workers' common demands.
- The JCP aims at establishing, not a one-party government, but a democratic coalition government. With whom should we form such a coalition? The Kakushinkon type of cooperation, namely, cooperation between the JCP and people with no political affiliations will become the main component of such a coalition. We also expect that there will be coalition partners among those who are now fighting with us side by side on a number of single issues.
We firmly believe that along with such a move, partners will emerge among other political parties for the JCP to work with. In that case, it is fairly likely that they will be from the reform minded capitalist current including traditional conservatives. Although the JCP is a political party with a move toward socialism and communism in its future vision, it is determined that we should end the "two aberrations" within the framework of capitalism and remake Japan into a country where "people are the key players" as our immediate task in present Japanese society. Even though political parties may embrace different outlooks on the future, they will be able to forge a united front if they agree on the immediate task of ending the "two aberrations." We will make every effort to promote such cooperation.
That the JCP strengthens ties with people in all fields and develops its organizational strength will be a crucial condition for people's cooperation and for the united front movement to advance toward a new direction in politics. Here lies the guarantee to open the door to a new Japan, and with this in mind, let us make an all-out effort.
A JCP advance in the coming House of Representatives and House of Councilors elections will have great significance both for Japanese politics and the JCP's future development.
First, the coming elections will be held amid deepening contradictions in all spheres of life between the public and the LDP government that is mounting a reactionary onslaught. The elections will be fought with the LDP and the JCP confronting each other head-on over the question of whether to carry on with the deadlocked old politics or to drastically transform such politics to advance toward a new Japan. The JCP advance will be decisive to stop such attacks, and bring about a new politics where "people are the key players."
Second, a JCP advance will be an important contribution to developing people's struggles calling for a new direction in politics. This will be the best guarantee to encourage cooperation and build a new united front based on agreed points in wide-ranging fields.
Third, if we develop the "third tide of advance" into a full-fledged current through continuous advances in national elections, we can come closer to becoming a party capable of obtaining "10 percent or more of total votes" in every prefecture, municipality and administrative district as envisaged in our mid-term "growth and development targets," a milestone toward realizing the JCP Program. This will also open up a new prospect for a goal to "establish a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century."
In the coming general election and the House of Councilors election, we should make every effort to achieve the minimum target of "6.5 million votes and 10 percent share of votes" by holding fast to the policy: "proportional representation is the axis" and the "whole nation is one constituency."
We set the target of 6.5 million votes as one to be reached through repeated attempts (the decision of the Central Committee's 5th Plenum of the 24th JCP Congress). In the 2013 House of Councilors election, the share of votes we won was 9.7 percent, very close to achieving the 10 percent target, but the number of votes we obtained was only 5.15 million because of the low voter turnout. In addition, as the Central Committee's 8th Plenum decision stressed, this was "more than our actual strength" and we should not forget that this 5.15 million is not an established base figure. Based on these facts, we should continue to strive to reach the minimum target of "6.5 million and 10 percent."
In the House of Representatives election, we will work to win and increase JCP seats in each proportional representation block, and even in the single-seat constituencies we will make every effort to win seats. In the House of Councilors election, our goal is to win more than five seats in the proportional representation constituencies, and more than three seats in local constituencies.
In preparation for these national elections, we should decide on candidates for both Houses as soon as possible, and not lose time to begin working for election victories.
The Simultaneous local elections to be held in April 2015 are likely to be the most immediate political battle at the national level unless serious political turmoil in the national political scene takes place. These elections will not only determine the future course of the given municipality but also become an opportunity for the public to hand down a severe verdict on the Abe cabinet's reactionary onslaught. Whether the JCP will advance in the elections will be the key for the party to turning the "third tide of advance" into a full-fledged current.
The runaway policy of the Abe LDP government is destined to take a heavy toll on municipalities and their economies, either by the consumption tax increase, the adverse revision of social security services, or by passage of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement). Moreover, in recent years, the central government has promoted municipality mergers, cutbacks in funding for local governments, and the review of government regulations for local governments to maintain minimum standards of social security and other services which are delegated to local governments. These measures have been weakening the local governments' functions and role as the "institutions to promote residents' welfare," destroying the residents' welfare and livelihoods, and bringing down local economies. Thus, local governments are falling into a deepening crisis. Any attempt to introduce a regional system that would transform and destroy local self-governments must be opposed.
34 out of 47 prefectures are governed by the "all-are-ruling-parties" setup with the exclusion of the JCP, which has become the only opposition party that the people can depend on to realize their demands in these prefectures. Advancing the JCP in the local elections will be the surest guarantee to bring residents' voices to bear in the local governments and change local governments into ones that act on their demands.
Now that Abe government is intensifying its attacks on local residents, joint struggles based on pressing demands have been developing by overcoming differences based on political affiliation. This is shown in the All-Hokkaido struggle against the TPP, the All-Fukushima struggle to demand "zero nuclear power plants," the All-Okinawa struggle against U.S. military bases, and others. There have been increasing cases of local assembly members cooperating with each other to jointly take up citizens' livelihood issues, such as children's free medical care and lowering health insurance premiums. Increasing the strength of the JCP local assembly members will be crucial in promoting such cooperation.
As regards the targets of local elections, securing the current seats held and obtaining an increase in the number of seats is our priority. We also aim to regain the No. 1 position in terms of the number of seats held in local assemblies nationwide by the next JCP Congress.
The number of JCP local assembly members has fallen from the No.1 position to No.3 in the range of 2,700 at present behind the LDP and the Komei Party both in the 2,900 range. This is because the forced mergers of municipalities greatly reduced the number of town and villages where many of our assembly members had been elected and the party has suffered setbacks in the elections fought after the downsizing of local assemblies. Aiming to win back the No.1 position, we will set appropriate vote/seat targets with three objectives in mind: increase the share of seats; win the number of seats required to propose bills; and win seats in the local assemblies where the JCP has no seats at present. We will attach paramount importance to winning seats in the elections of prefectural assemblies and 404 municipalities (23% of all municipalities) where the party has no seats.
In the 2015 simultaneous local elections, we will attach importance to elections in prefectural assemblies, ordinance-designated city assemblies, Tokyo special ward assemblies, prefectural capital assemblies and major local city assemblies. In the last simultaneous local elections, we lost 190 seats in total: 16 in prefectural assemblies, 16 in ordinance-designated city assemblies, 9 in Tokyo special ward assemblies, 115 in other city assemblies, and 34 in town and village assemblies. We will focus on winning seats in the seven prefectural assemblies without JCP seats (Tochigi, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie, Shiga, Fukuoka), on winning prefectural assembly seats in ordinance-designated cities (13 out of 20 ordinance-designated cities) from whose constituencies the party failed to win a single seat, on winning city assembly seats in ordinance-designated cities without JCP seats, and on recovering the seats lost in the last elections. We should prepare early by immediately selecting candidates and organizing campaign teams because we are just a year and some months away from the coming simultaneous local elections.
Due to the mergers of municipalities, the dates of local elections are dispersed throughout the year. The reduction in the number of local assembly seats has created a situation where a candidate must get more votes from a larger constituency to get elected. This requires us to make preparations much earlier than before to decide on political goals and candidates. We should attach importance to the local elections held outside the simultaneous elections, and make a steady increase in the number of votes and seats, contributing to the current of nationwide advance.
In the near future, we will face many important elections to elect the heads of local governments, including ones to elect prefectural governors in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Okinawa, followed by elections of 11 governors, 6 mayors of ordinance-designated cities, and 13 Tokyo special ward mayors that will be held during the simultaneous local elections. We should take these elections seriously and fight them in a way that deserves our increased political role and weight so that we can strengthen cooperation between the JCP and non-partisan people and expand the numbers of progressive and democratic local governments. In the recent Osaka and Sakai mayoral elections, we "voluntarily supported" the incumbents to prevent the candidates of the Restoration Party from winning because they represent an extremely harmful and reactionary political current that must be blocked. This tactic should be applied in our future struggles.
The JCP has seats in more than 77 percent of local municipalities across the country. They work at the grassroots level to protect residents' livelihoods, playing an invaluable role in helping to realize people's demands and advance local politics. Article 44 of the JCP Constitution provides that municipal assembly members "shall without fail organize an assembly party group based on an appropriate unit," "All assembly members in principle lead their party life in the JCP assembly members' groups." Party bodies should establish the JCP assembly members' groups based on an appropriate unit, and all of them should raise the level of their activities through political discussion and study. They should respect civic morals and social ethics, and help realize residents' demands and advance party building in cooperation with party branches. At the same time, assembly members should also talk about any difficulties they are facing frankly with the party bodies, and make efforts to expeditiously resolve difficulties and problems. Assembly members and party bodies should be candid in their dealings with each other and establish a relationship in which they can discuss anything without hesitation.
The House of Councilors election taught us important lessons in dealing with public relations and organizational activities in the election campaign. It is important that we make the most of the ties party members and party organizations have among the public to win elections. This can be called an "election revolution," which should be further developed both in national and local elections.
- Every party organization and branch should carry out a campaign with its own target number of votes and with an increase in supporters, corresponding to the minimum national goal of "6.5 million votes and 10 percent share of votes." In the process of achieving these targets, each location should have its own "policy and plan" in their daily activities based on the "Four Basic Points."
- Regarding the Four Basic Points, we should attach greater importance, as the fundamental task, to the activities based on our ties with the public and addressing their demands. Shedding light on all the connections party members have with various people in everyday life, and always expanding new connections, we should make the most of them in our activities. Along with the struggle on urgent national matters, we should take up people's daily issues whether in workplaces, residential neighborhoods, or campuses. We should promote various activities, including consultations about everyday life concerns to help alleviate people's sufferings or on working conditions or employment issues.
- Regarding political publicity, we should establish a system to distribute party publications door-to-door in a manner suited to the lifestyles of voters. We will give priority to publicity targeting workers and the younger generations by systematically promoting activities in front of stations, workplaces, or universities and colleges where there are constant flows of people. Party branches should engage as key players in such daily grassroots activities as publishing local newsletters periodically for residential areas, workplaces, or campuses, regular street campaigns with speeches using hand microphones; and increasing the placement of bulletin boards.
- On activities to enhance the organizational capabilities, we will attach greater importance to dialogue and enlisting support, maximizing the connections party members have across the country, making use of individual "lists of acquaintances." We regard this as a central pillar of the organizational activity in the election campaign, and will develop it on a daily basis. Strategies of appealing to JCP supporters associations and party supporters for cooperation and of using postcards are also important tactics learned from recent election campaigns to be maximized in future struggles. We talked over the phone with a large number of the general public to ask for their support using the telephone number lists in what amounts to "door-to-door visits by voice." This turned out to be very effective in the present situation in which many voters have discovered a renewed interest in the JCP and have begun to include the JCP among their voting options. We will continue to use this strategy as a pillar in our future election campaigns. Through this work, we will arrange, enrich and utilize our list of supporters.
- As a means of two-way communications, the Internet serves as an important conduit to reach non-party people, the younger generation, and families with small children so they can feel closer and have more connection with the JCP. There are some party members who for the first time took part in election campaigning by using the Internet. This shows that the Internet is an important tool to use to increase participants in election campaigns. The utilization of the Internet has great potential for the JCP and we should make full use of this communication tool.
- Aiming for victories in the coming simultaneous local elections and other local elections, and aspiring to achieve the minimum vote target of "6.5 million and 10 percent" in national elections, all the party bodies and branches should have their own goals for expansion of party strength commensurate to the national goals. While creating an upsurge in party strength expansion, we should make utmost efforts to achieve advances in election campaigns.
- We will reinforce the activity of JCP supporters associations as the core of the everyday activities in the election campaign. Its membership has reached 3.64 million, the largest organization the JCP has. By regularly publishing supporters association newspapers, we will strengthen personal bonds as well as political connections. Every party branch should establish a supporters association in their area, engaging in a variety of activities in response to local needs and demands, and work on election campaigns together. We will also reinforce supporters associations in every field, which will increase the possibility of activating associations that have common demands to realize.
To build a bigger and stronger party in both number and quality is the most important guarantee to develop the fledgling third advance started in the House of Councilors election into a full-fledged advance, achieving our Growth and Development target, and establishing a democratic coalition government in early 21 century.
As regards the target for party building, the 26th Congress proposes to double the overall party strength so that our Growth and Development target be achieved this decade with 500,000 party members (one member for every 200 voters), the same level of readership of the daily Akahata, and a 2 million readership of the Akahata Sunday edition (one for every 50 voters). We will set ambitious incremental targets for each period marked off by four national elections for both the Upper and Lower Houses and 2 rounds of simultaneous local elections to be held during this decade in order to elevate the party to a higher stage of engagement.
We should also make all-out efforts to pass on the party organizations to the next generation as a strategic task that will have an important bearing on whether we can realize the goals stipulated in the Party Program. Each party body, branch, group, and assembly members' group should establish its own plan to recruit as many young people as possible into the party.
Especially important is to make all-out efforts in maintaining and developing branches in workplaces as well as building party organizations among youth and students and providing assistance to the Democratic Youth League.
At the 8th Central Committee plenum when we summed up the result of the Upper House election, we pointed out that our biggest weakness was the party's inadequate strength.
Recognizing this, the party has been engaging in the Campaign for a Successful 26th Congress and Building Party Strength. As a result of the efforts in the past four months, one in five branches have recruited new members and the total number of new members has now reached more than 5,400. We have increased the daily and Sunday edition of AKAHATA's readership by 12,400, adding 2,400 new subscribers for the daily edition and 10,000 for the Sunday edition. Through our interaction with the public, we have found that there are a vast number of people who are ready to join the party or subscribe to the AKAHATA. Therefore, if we can effectively exploit this objective condition, we will be well able to build a bigger and stronger party.
However, the present party strength is still considerably smaller than the level required in the present situation.
In spite of painstaking efforts to increase the membership, the present number of party members stands at 305,000. This reduced number resulted from the all-party effort to remove from the list those who have been long inactive and are no longer qualified to be considered party members. This effort has, in turn, aroused a renewed zeal to create an inner-party culture where every member takes part in day-to-day activities. The reason for rendering so many party members inactive and alienated from party activities should not be attributed only to the political situation having been unfavorable for a JCP advance due to the years of the attempt to create a "two-major- party" setup. It was rather an expression of our weakened effort in helping branches to become main players in overall party activities where every member willingly participates and is able to engage in formative experiences. Keeping this sad lesson in mind, we should determinedly set out to create a party made up of branches with a revolutionary spirit and a warm and humane atmosphere in order not to leave any of our colleagues behind.
Despite the persistent effort to increase the readership of AKAHATA with special emphasis on the daily edition, the total number of subscribers of both the daily and Sunday edition is now reduced to 1,241,000. The ratios of the readership of the daily and Sunday edition at present to one as of the last party Congress are 87.5 percent and 85.0 percent respectively. We have to strengthen the network for delivery and collection of subscriptions throughout the nation.
We should continue the momentum of the party building efforts, especially in recruiting new members, which has been created through the on-going Campaign. Any stagnation or setback should be remedied. Employing all our wisdom and energy, we must keep on until we build the party strength that will enable us to achieve the Growth and Development Target.
To popularize the party magazines and improve their quality is also necessary.
The basic policy of party-building has been set out clearly in the party constitution revised at the 22nd Congress, followed up by the successive Party Congresses as well as the decisions of the central committees held during the 25th Congress period. Keeping these in mind, we will place importance on the following points.
First, we must spearhead efforts to develop the popular struggles to resist the runaway policies of the Abe cabinet. At the same time, we must also promote the party expansion effort in its own right.
We will take part in and help develop the joint struggles waged on various "single issues" including opposition to the consumption tax hike, realizing zero nuclear power plants, opposition to the TPP, removal of U.S. bases, defending the constitution, and scrapping the Secrecy Law. In addition, we will organize multi-faceted activities, responding to various public demands and concerns.
The high road to build a bigger and stronger party is to drive the "two wheels" of party activities, namely engaging in social movements to realize popular demands and pursuing party-building efforts in parallel. We will make efforts to encourage every party branch to have a concrete plan to proactively implement these activities.
The 6th Central Committee plenum, drawing on lessons from the 2012 Lower House election, stressed that party members' ties with people around them can be an important source of energy for the party to engage in movements to realize public demands, party-building, and electioneering objectives. It called for pursuing three tasks, namely i) furthering party members' personal ties with people to gain their trust in the party, ii) establishing and expanding the ties in line with the changing trend of eligible voters, and iii) in parallel with these efforts, building up the party strength.
This approach helped to achieve the party gains in the Upper House election. In particular, making use of individual "lists of acquaintances" by party members was found to be effective in encouraging electioneering support among their circles of friends and colleagues.
Not only in elections but also in daily activities, we should make use of these lists to strengthen ties between the party and the general public. Thus, we can call on a broader range of people to join in various social movements, join the party, and subscribe to the AKAHATA newspaper. We should incorporate this activity at the branch level.
Third, we should promote public understanding of the policies, ideas, and history of the JCP on a daily basis in order to create a conducive environment for our party expansion efforts.
Among the 5.15 million people who voted for the JCP in the last Upper House election, many people did so based on a feeling of there being no other option without feeling fondness towards the party. There are also a vast number of people who have renewed their interest in and expectations of the JCP after its advance in the election. Let us promote a deeper understanding of the party among these people to bring forth a full-fledged advance.
In every corner of Japan, we should organize meetings to "discuss the JCP Program and Japan's future" in different venues as a core party activity so we can advance in our party-building efforts.
Fourth, we must stick to increasing the party's strength "both in quantity and quality" in our party-building efforts.
Studying the "Lecture Series on JCP Program and Classics" by watching the DVDs or reading the books should be promoted during the 26th Congress period.
All party members should take the time to study the JCP Program and the classic works of scientific socialism. It is essential for us to have a firm conviction of our political line however complicated political situations may become. Studying the lectures is also necessary for us to spread effectively the JCP's policies, ideas, and history among the general public.
To increase the quality of party organizations, we should focus on building a party organization with a warm and open heart. This means that we need to think of each member's original reasons for joining the party and his/her pride of being a party member, encourage active participation according to his/her social conditions, demands, and strong points, and offer humane and warm hearted support to help solve difficulties faced by our fellow members. The prerequisites for this are the full implementation of the "three principles to establish party life," namely, taking part in branch meetings, subscribing to the daily AKAHATA, and paying party dues. Among others, establishing the leadership of every branch first and foremost and regularly holding branch meetings in an uplifting and enjoyable atmosphere coupled with study activities and interaction between the members is the key. Caring about the members who have been absent from branch meetings due to various difficulties and maintaining a heartfelt connection with them is also important. Further efforts should be made to educate new members properly and hold lectures specially targeted for branch leaders.
Fifth, we should build a party that respects civic morals and social ethics. Article 5 of the party constitution states in its very first paragraph that a party member shall have a "duty to respect civic morals and social ethics, and discharge their responsibilities toward society."
Public understanding of and trust in the party are created not only through the party's policies and ideas but also through their contacts with party members' ways of life and their behavior. That a small number of party members have violated civic morals, affected by a decline of social morals, undermines public trust in the party and must be addressed
Every party body should make efforts to lead disciplined party lives through frank and vigorous self- and mutual-criticism based on the spirit of the party constitution and establish the morals worthy of an organization that works to advance human emancipation.
Passing down the party to the younger generation is the most pressing task in which we need to make a breakthrough.
The party's recent electoral advance has created new conditions and possibilities for this task to be successfully undertaken. We must make vigorous and bold efforts to recruit younger members by making the most of all the ties that the party organizations and members have among the broadest range of the public.
Every party body, branch, group, and assembly member group should set its own plan and target for generational succession. Getting this effort on track is of strategic importance in paving the way in this decade to establish a democratic coalition government.
Passing on the party branches in workplaces to the next generation and starting up new branches at workplaces is an essential task both to help develop both the labor movement and a united front in Japan as well as to create an economy governed by rules as set out in the JCP Program.
The present situation in workplaces, whether in large corporations, public service offices, or schools, is characterized by the disappearance of anti-communist sentiments and a new expectation towards the JCP. That the Rengo leadership is no longer able to impose the support for the DPJ on its union members as it was able to before creates a new opportunity for the party to develop its presence in workplaces. Party-building in workplaces is presenting a historic opportunity. Such a dynamic change is brought about partly by our recent electoral advance but also by the unyielding struggles waged by the JCP members and organizations fighting anti-communist discrimination at work while defending the rights and livelihoods of workers. We have to be confident in this.
In workplaces throughout Japan, we see examples of workers joining the JCP in increasing numbers when attention is paid not only to the demand to improve employment prospects and working conditions but to the workers' basic desire to be engaged in socially meaningful work and by fostering good relationship with the coworkers. Party members are gaining the respect and trust of an increasing number of young workers by being good companions as well as by working with dignity and confidence. Empowered by these examples, we should now make a bold attempt to recruit younger workers who will be able to advance party branches in workplaces.
With the contradiction faced by Rengo by their policy of imposing on workers their support for the DPJ increasing, now is the time to carry out the following decision at the 3rd Central Committee plenum of the 25th Congress: "To recruit workers into the party, we must take firm root among workers in all workplaces regardless of differences in trade union affiliation. We should help start up and develop party organizations in whatever workplaces that are affiliated to Rengo or Zenroren so that party members working there would foster a network of solidarity for all fellow workers to unite and cooperate."
Party building among workers should be considered not as a matter that only concerns the workplace branches but a task that the whole party should take on. Importantly, there have been successful efforts to recruit workers into the party and to pass on the party branches to the next generations or establish ones in workplaces hitherto without a party member, utilizing opportunities and ties that are with the party bodies, branches in communities, and local assembly members groups. Let us work to build the party which represents the interests of the working class which accounts for 80% of the overall class composition in Japan.
We have organized a series of meetings to exchange members' experiences in workplaces, including two rounds of the "Exchange meeting to study workplace problems" in 2006 and 2009, its third round that specifically targeted local government workers and teachers in 2011, and the "Activist meeting for workplace branches" in 2013. From these meetings, we have drawn abundant lessons to help develop party branches at workplaces, including the tactic, "Greet coworkers and start party building." These lessons learnt should be applied in our activities at workplaces, while similar "exchange meetings" can continue to be organized on a job category basis. Workplace branch assistance committees at the prefectural and district committee level must be strengthened and assisted in the promotion of their various activities.
There exist favorable conditions and possibilities to expand party organization among youth and students. Recently, we have engaged in various capacity building efforts for young leading activists, such as regularly-held study camps called "special party schools." Though these efforts, young leaders have been encouraged to take charge of various leadership roles at party bodies throughout Japan and even to become candidates in national and local elections. The latest House of Councilors election became a stage where young party members played an active role. This was an important first step toward party revitalization.
Faced by the reality of the present state of politics and society, many youth and students are increasingly joining in various social movements aspiring to help others by doing whatever they can. About half of the volunteers who responded to the JCP call to participate in 3/11 disaster relief projects were young people. There has been a surge of political participation of the younger generations in various social movements to demand nuclear weapon abolition, zero nuclear power plants, and the scrapping of the Secrecy Law. They are also eager to improve their work environments where many young workers are treated as disposable commodities and to solve the issue of high tuition fees at universities.
For those young people, the JCP is emerging as the party they can trust. When party bodies and party branches are sensitive to such changes and work to organize multifaceted activities that address the need of the younger generations, they are able to attract young people to the JCP and the Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ). It is important to be vigilent in organizing youth while placing trust in their sense of justice and courage to take action for social progress.
To successfully create an advance in this area, the party bodies must take initiatives to systematically pursue efforts to attract youth by putting issues that concern them on the table, making the most of the abilities of the whole party, and boldly get in touch with the needs and aspirations of youth. A prefectural committee was able to establish new student party branches and DYLJ branches and double the number of party members among university students. This was possible when the party leadership had intensive discussions on the issues concerning youth and students, focused on ties that the party organizations and members have among youth, and stood in the forefront of creating new connections with them through conducting public relations activities in front of universities and having interaction with students and organizing open talk events for youth.
Another merit of the successful party organizations is placing importance on helping young members and student branches of the party as well as the DYLJ to study the JCP program and the principles of scientific socialism. The party bodies should make arrangements for all youth and student members to study the "Lecture Series on JCP Program and Classics" and financially assist them if needed so they can subscribe to the daily edition of AKAHATA so they can learn more about the party.
The party should put further emphasis on preparing successors among young party members, with the party center continuing to hold "special party schools."
Improving the leadership quality of the prefectural and district committees and strengthening their organizational structures is the key to increasing involvement in social movements in each locality and in making a renewed advance of party activities in which party branches are the key players used to strengthen ties with the public.
The decision of the 2nd Central Committee plenum set out to reform the guidance provided by party bodies by "bringing party bodies down to the branch level" and "bringing branches to the people level." The party bodies that have implemented this policy have successfully advanced both in elections and in party building. We can elicit the following lessons:
- These party bodies are responsibly addressing the problems in local politics, organizing various political actions at the people level, having interactions with local organizations, standing at the forefront of social movements to realize popular demands, and placing importance on encouraging branch activities;
- Members of the party bodies are visiting branches to understand their situation and build rapport with the branch members through listening to their problems and sincerely trying to help to solve them.
- The party bodies are helping party branches to voluntarily draw up their "policy and plan" with an encouraging attitude and through friendly, open-hearted consultations. A priority is given to providing political guidance to party branches and party members so that they understand with conviction how the national political situation plays out in their communities or workplaces and what role the party should play.
-Attaching a high value to building and developing ties with the public, which is a source to empower all party activities, the party bodies are helping party members and branches to engage in various activities based on personal connections. This ultimately gives a boost to social movements, electioneering, and party-building.
-Efforts are persistently made to strengthen the structure of the party bodies through putting younger members into responsible positions and training them, enlisting veteran party members as part-time staffers, and trying to establish auxiliary party bodies.
We should emulate these successful strategies to further improve the political guidance provided by party bodies.
To improve their political ability, party bodies should first provide adequate time for discussion until they have a deeper understanding of the JCP program and the decisions of the Party Congresses and the Central Committee's Plenums. Only when they discuss everything and come to understand comfortably what these decisions mean in the efforts to realize the JCP Program, can they grasp the political situation, the role of the JCP, and its policy to develop party activities. This enables the party bodies to encourage party branches and motivate more party members to participate in party activities. The basis for this effort is to study both collectively in party bodies and individually by the members. "Party schools" should be held at the prefectural and district level.
The party center is to organize workshops for district committee chairs and convene a "National exchange meeting to improve the leadership of party bodies" for the members of prefectural and district committees so that we can learn from proven practices and seek ways to overcome difficulties.
Retirement of full-time standing committee members of prefectural and district committees has led to a weakening of the structures of these party bodies, creating a major challenge for the continuation of their activities as a whole. To systematically strengthen the party bodies, we must have full-timers in place who continue to accumulate wisdom and experience to play a core leadership role in guiding and assisting party organizations. We should try to assign at least seven full-time standing committee members to prefectural committees and three to district committees.
Having a sound financial situation in party bodies is essential to strengthening their structures and promoting their activities. The tried and tested way to do this is for the heads of the party bodies to take charge of this matter with a focus on increasing the ratio of party-due paying members while implementing every one of the "Four principles to establish party finance," namely party dues, subscription fees of AKAHATA and party periodicals, donations, and thrift. We will promote an inner-party culture where the whole party willingly supports the lives and health of the party full-time workers and their activities. The party center and local party bodies will make joint efforts to create a virtuous circle of improvement in the structure of the party body and its state of finance.
We have been frequently asked by the public whether the future society the JCP is aiming for is the same as the present Chinese society. It is a valid question and is important to outline how we view the current situation in China, Vietnam, and Cuba and how we envision the prospect for future society in Japan.
When we look at the present and future of China, Vietnam, and Cuba, the following two points are important.
The first point is that these countries are not "countries that have already reached socialism," but "countries aiming for socialism" or countries "beginning on a new quest for socialism" (JCP Program).
For example, China has become the world's second largest economy by overtaking Japan, and its influence in the world economy is growing year by year. At the same time, China's per capita GDP is still one eighth of the level of developed capitalist countries. The Chinese government recognizes itself as a developing country with a large proportion of its population remaining poor.
Thus, as for China, it is currently tasked with building a developed economy as a foundation for socialism before it enters a socialist stage. In building such an economic foundation, China has chosen to introduce a market economy. This reasonable approach has been vindicated by the economic development it has achieved since the beginning of its "reform and open-door" policy. With it, however, capitalist influence from both outside and within has increased to the extent that various negative social problems including corruption, income and social inequality, and environmental destruction has become widespread.
When we view the future of China, we must not ignore that this country will have to make efforts for a fairly long time in fighting poverty, narrowing the income gap, and protecting the environment in the midst of a growing economy, while searching for solutions to the question of its political system and form of democracy.
There might be various ventures searching for a new path, with trials and errors or even failures. There can possibly be a recurrence of past hegemonistic or great-power chauvinistic behaviors. If they commit such a grave mistake, it might be possible that they would be in danger of decisively straying from the path toward socialism. We hope that the "countries aiming for socialism" will never repeat such fatal mistakes as the former Soviet Union had made.
The JCP has had frank discussions with the leaders of those countries about their "political and economic problems" (JCP Program), while upholding a principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of others. We have conveyed to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party our candid opinions regarding a future political system in China, the "anti-Japan demonstrations" issue, the Tibet issue, the Senkaku islands question, and its "Air Defense Identification Zone" at the appropriate occasions.
The second point is that, even though they still belong to the category of developing countries in terms of their social developmental stage, the "countries aiming for socialism," with their political and economic influence growing in the world, are inevitably and increasingly put into contrast with capitalist countries on various counts, including:
- How is the concept of "the people are sovereign" realized socially and politically?
- How much priority is given to improving people's living standards in their economic policy?
- Do they make an effort in promoting human rights and freedom in accordance with international norms that they themselves have agreed to?
- How seriously are they pursuing the establishment of a world order that does not allow hegemonism to show its face in international relations?
- What positive contribution do they make to abolishing nuclear weapons, combating global warming, and solving other issues faced by humanity?
Regarding hegemonism, we should also remember how sternly Lenin warned the leaders of Soviet Russia after the revolution not to take a great-power chauvinistic attitude towards neighboring countries.
We earnestly hope that China, Vietnam, and Cuba as countries "beginning a new quest for socialism" will shine a light on the possibility of creating more advanced achievements in these problems in comparison with capitalist countries.
When Japan advance towards a socialist society, its given social conditions will open up grand possibilities.
China, Vietnam, and Cuba are beset with "political and economic problems to solve" because they started their nation-building in economically, socially, and politically backward societies. In addition to this, China and Vietnam were devastated during the wars of aggression by foreign imperialism, whereas Cuba has long been subject to the protracted unlawful U.S. economic embargo.
Japan's transition to future society will proceed under different conditions.
When Japan successfully completes a democratic revolution within the framework of capitalism and embarks on a path towards socialism, it will inherit the enormous economic strength created by its developed capitalist economy. Thus, Japan will not go through a rapid economic growth sequence accompanied by increasing social contradictions as is seen in China today.
The present Japanese economy is well able to afford to provide all the public with "the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living" as stipulated in the Constitution of Japan. One reason why it actually does not do so is that tyrannical rule of the business circles and large corporations is causing a widening of the socio-economic disparity. Another reason is that the present stage of capitalism is organized in an extremely wasteful way which is exemplified by repeated economic crises, the lifestyle of "mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal," and a bloated finance economy.
Socialization of the means of production will liberate the economy from the narrow framework of "profit-first approaches" specific to capitalism and redirect the "driving force for production and the economy" away from the "capitalist quest for profits" to the "development of society and of the material and spiritual life of members of society." This will lead to the abolition of exploitation and elimination of the wasteful components of the current capitalist economy. This process will enable the Japanese economy, with its present strength, to ensure "the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living" to all Japanese citizens, and to realize shorter working hours for all workers. Thus, it will lay the foundation for the human development of all members of society, and pave the way for a dramatic progress of the society and economy.
In terms of freedom, democracy, and political system, the road toward socialism in Japan will be different from the road taken by China and other countries aiming for socialism.
The political systems of China, Vietnam, and Cuba adopt a de facto single-party system and their constitutions set forth the "leadership role of the communist party." This is partly because the forces aiming for socialism in these countries came to power through non-parliamentary paths, fighting revolutionary wars. Even in the case of taking power through a non-parliamentary path, prohibition of opposition political parties is not a general principle of revolution, as was rightly demonstrated by Lenin in the early stages of the Russian revolution. At the same time, we should look at the current political system in these countries in the context that they started their revolutions in societies without parliaments or democratic experience.
In Japan, this would not happen. The JCP clearly states in its Program that whether in a democratic revolution needed at present or socialist transformation in the future, we will proceed step by step by seeking public consent through elections and receiving the backing of a parliamentary majority.
The JCP Program stipulates as follows:
- "A socialist/communist Japan will inherit and further develop all valuable gains of the capitalist era, including those of democracy and freedom;"
- "The freedom of various ideologies and beliefs as well as political activities, including those by opposition parties, will be rigorously protected;" and,
- "Giving privileges to a particular political party as the 'leadership' party in the name of 'socialism' or defining a particular outlook on the world as 'state-designated philosophy' is an act that has nothing in common with socialism and therefore must be categorically rejected."
This is our declaration to the Japanese people about the prospect for a socialist Japan as expressed in our Program. However, it entails more than that. If a future society is built on a society where popular sovereignty and fundamental human rights are enshrined in the constitution and where parliamentary democracy exists, as in Japan, it is a matter of historical certainty that any such future society will fully inherit and greatly advance on those democratic achievements.
The human race has not yet seen an economically powerful advanced capitalist country proceeding towards a socialist/communist society. Such a transformation of a society with a more advanced baseline will open up immense and grand possibilities. With a firm conviction of this future vision in mind, let us go forward!