Delivered on January 15, 2014
Adopted on January 18, 2014
Dear delegates, observers, and all JCP members watching the Congress on the live internet broadcast, Good afternoon.
Allow me, on behalf of the Central Committee, to make the Central Committee report to the 26th Congress.
This Congress is being held in a tense political situation where the Liberal Democratic-Komei government led by Prime Minister Abe pursues reactionary runaway policies in every field and the public movements opposing these moves are powerfully growing at the same time.
During the last two months since the draft resolution was published, party members have received it favorably and actively participated in discussions to enrich its contents.
The draft resolution's fresh analyses and proposals, which include the opening of the era of JCP-LDP confrontation, a change in the world structure and how the world moves in this decade, struggles against Abe's reactionary policies in every field, the JCP proposal for establishing a framework of peace in Northeast Asia, election and party buildup policies aiming to turn the party's advance to a full-fledged trend, and the party perspective for the future of Japan. These clarifications and proposals were evaluated with fresh insights and brought into the party new energy, perspectives, and confidence.
Each part of the Central Committee report focuses on issues that specifically need to be expounded on as a result of the inner party discussions and supplemented in light of the latest political development.
Diverse opinions expressed in the pre-congress discussions for amendments and reinforcements will be thoroughly examined together with opinions expressed during the Congress. After the Congress discussion, an amended and reinforced draft resolution will be proposed.
I'll begin with Part 1.
Part 1 describes the JCP's general ideas about how to grasp the characteristics of Japan's current situation and what role the JCP is playing. Section one states that Japan is currently "entering upon what we can characterize as a new phase where the JCP-LDP confrontation has started in full scale."
Based on the recent political developments and the inner party discussions, I will make some comments in this regard.
First, at the end of last year, conflicts broke out between the Abe administration and people's objections and the increase in opposition movements when the State Secrets Protection bill was being forced through in the extraordinary Diet session. This revealed the true stance of each political party and brought the current political map out for all to see.
Ignoring public opinion in which 50% opposed the bill and 80% favored further discussion, the LDP abused its majority in the Diet to bulldoze through this extremely oppressive law which tramples on all the basic principles of the Japanese Constitution.
The LDP secretary general even put public demonstrations against the bill on the same level with terrorism. His remark exposed the dangerous nature of the law and the arrogant and dictatorial stance of the ruling LDP which is openly hostile to public opposition movements.
When the Komei party formed the coalition government with the LDP, it had claimed that it would play a role as a "brake" on the excesses of the Abe government. However, it actually acted as a promoter and accelerator of maladministration. The Abe government can be described literally as a runaway vehicle with two accelerator pedals without a brake pedal. The steering wheel of this car turns only to the right.
What about the opposition parties? In the Diet, there was a phase when opposition parties jointly requested a thorough discussion on the bill pressed by public protests. However, what role did each party actually play in these developments?
The Japan Restoration Party and the Your Party agreed with the ruling coalition and became cosponsors of the secrecy bill with some "modifications". This disclosed their role to accept and support the government. Even some mainstream media severely criticized them by saying, "We do not need such obedient opposition parties."
The Democratic Party of Japan was also poised to join in the amendment negotiation process with the ruling parties and did not call for the scrapping of the bill until the last minute. Thus, the DPJ failed to play its role as an opposition party.
The JCP, in unison with rapidly growing people's movements, stood opposed to the bill in deliberations in both Houses of the Diet. At the House of Councilors plenary session where the law was forcibly adopted, while lawmakers of the DPJ, the Your, and the JRP left the session and gave up their time for offering any arguments, only the LDP and the JCP lawmakers took to the floor to support and oppose the law respectively. This was a symbolic scene in which the JCP-LDP confrontation clearly manifested itself.
During the JCP legislator's speech, citizens surrounding the Diet building chanted a chorus of "Ganbare!(Keep on fighting!)", encouraging the JCP. Many people twittered in sympathy, "The JCP's speech in the Diet pointed out that the streets outside the Diet building were filled with protestors. Even though our voice did not go through the thick walls to reach the ears of lawmakers in the chamber, Diet members in opposition spoke out in our behalf."
Struggle over the secrecy law highlighted the beginning of the era of "JCP-LDP confrontation".
Section Two states as a new feature of the current "JCP-LDP confrontation" that "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." This point was discussed in depth in the inner party discussion. We also received opinions that stated, "Although the draft resolution states that intermediate parties 'ceased to exist,' there do exist the DPJ, the JRP, and the Your party."
What the draft resolution means by stating that they "ceased to exist" is that between the LDP and the JCP, "there is no reliable party that can counter the LDP." In addition, it is unprecedented in Japan's post-war political history that such a political map has emerged.
From the end of the 1960s to the 1970s, the period when the JCP advanced in the national elections, there were many intermediate political parties between the JCP and the LDP, such as the Social Democratic, the Komei, and the Democratic Socialist parties. They respectively set out their own policies that had more or less anti-LDP positions.
In the late 1990s, when the JCP again achieved an advance in the national elections, there were only the DPJ and the Liberal Party existing between the JCP and the LDP. At that time, these parties also took on an anti-LDP mantle.
However, at present, there are no such political parties. The former ruling DPJ is incapable of criticizing the Abe government's runway policies on the consumption tax hike, promotion of nuclear energy, participation in the TPP, and the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa because these are policies they themselves initiated when they were in power. If they criticize these policies, it would come back to hit them like a boomerang. Unable to carry the anti-LDP banner, the DPJ has already lost its meaning to exist as an opposition party.
Far from opposing the LDP, the so-called "third pole" political parties openly support the LDP policies ranging from constitutional revision to structural reform.
As the draft resolution states, the JCP has emerged before the public as the only party that can stand up to and oppose the LDP.
What will become of this arrangement of political parties in the future? The power elite will certainly attempt to create new "intermediate" parties to block the JCP's advance. We need to keep in mind that the road ahead of us is not going to be an easy one.
However, one thing is clear. Whatever political parties are born through splits or mergers, as long as they stand within the framework of "two aberrations," i.e. the extraordinary subservience to the US as well as the support for tyrannical rule by large companies, they cannot help but be complementary to the LDP. They will never be able to bear an anti-LDP flag. This has been proven by the failure of the attempts to create "two major parties" and the downfall of the "the third pole" parties.
I'd like to stress that it is only the JCP that is determined to fight against and overcome the "two aberrations" and becomes the force that can truly confront the reactionary form of LDP politics.
In the inner party discussion, some members argued that proclaiming a "JCP-LDP confrontation" is an overstatement given the huge gap that exists between the two parties' strength. Through the discussion over this question, we have reached a deeper understanding. Regarding this, I'd like to stress the following three points.
First, let us not treat this question solely in terms of the numbers in the Diet but consider the power balance in the whole of society. The rapid development of opposition movements and public opinion against the State Secrets Protection Law confirmed the extent to which the Japanese public calls for peace and democracy. From the attempt to build a "nation capable of fighting wars abroad," to the official visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, U.S. military bases issue in Okinawa, nuclear energy promotion, consumption tax hike, and joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the Abe administration's runaway policies go directly against the wishes of the general public in Japan and global public opinion. Everyone, let us wage our struggles with the firm conviction that the JCP stands on the side of the majority of the public on every major issue.
Secondly, we need to look at the changes being created by the JCP advance in the House of Councilors election. The advance has brought about a qualitative change to our Diet activities. During the extraordinary Diet session, the JCP delivered speeches 15 times in the House of Councilors plenary sessions. This could never happen without the advance we achieved in the election.
Using the right to submit bills, we submitted to the Diet a bill to regulate so-called "black corporations." This has received a very positive response from the general public. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare was thus pressured to strengthen the enforcement of the regulations on illegal labor practices and to have companies release their labor turnover rate. The original intent of the bill has been partially fulfilled. Thus, our efforts have begun to push forward policy changes. Let us gain further confidence through the changes being achieved by the party's increase in strength in the Diet.
Thirdly, a large gap certainly exists between the LDP and the JCP in terms of the overall strength in the Diet and political influence in general. Through the discussions in Part 1 of the draft resolution, many party members have come to be determined to build a bigger and stronger party. This is an important achievement.
The draft resolution states that the LDP politics characterized by the "two aberrations" is "on the verge of collapse." This indicates that if the form of Japanese politics continues to be shackled by the old LDP-style framework, Japanese society will not be able to sustain itself and will collapse as we know it. We should note that the LDP-style politics will not fall apart automatically however serious its crisis of legitimation may become. Only when citizens, the agents of change in society, develop their political awareness and the JCP achieves continuous advances in national elections, can we open the way towards a progressive change in Japanese society.
We need to maintain three political stances in our struggles: to wage a head-on "confrontation" with the LDP politics, present a constructive "proposition" to meet public demand, and develop "collaboration" with popular movements. Let us open a new era in the "JCP-LDP confrontation" by building a bigger and stronger party.
I'd like to move on to Part 2 of the draft resolution. It states that the "sea change in the world structure" that occurred in the 20th century "is now showing great potential as a driving force to foster world peace and social progress."
The JCP Program sheds light on the "enormous historic changes" in the 20th century from three angles: the complete collapse of the colonial system, the move toward democracy embracing popular sovereignty, and the building of an international order for peace. In particular, the collapse of the colonial system and the achievement by more than 100 countries to become politically-independent sovereign countries enabled the creation of the largest changes that should be recognized as a fundamental "change in the world structure."
Although the change took place in the 20th century, it is in this decade of this century that has begun to show this "great potential" to be a driving force in international politics. This is how the draft resolution describes the present world.
If we look back on the world that existed 10 years ago, we can clearly recognize the sea change that has taken place. I'd like to discuss this point from five different angles.
First of all, a global movement has developed working toward a realization of an international order of peace based on the UN Charter.
In 2003, the U. S. and a select few allies launched an illegal war against Iraq without any authorization by UN Security Council resolutions. However, this lawless action turned out to be an opportunity to further the effort to develop a world order demanding peace. An unprecedented number of people throughout the world stood up to raise their voices against the illegal U.S. war on Iraq. About 70% of the nations of the world expressed their opposition to the military attack. They even included strong allies of the U.S, such as Germany, France, and Canada. A common thread in these voices was a fundamental demand that the internationally-recognized rules enshrined in the UN Charter be abided by.
Ten years later, in 2013, an attempted military intervention led by the U.S. against Syria took a different path. The attempt to attack Syria was thwarted in the face of international public opposition. The matter was handed to the UN which paved the way for a diplomatic solution. This clearly demonstrated the reality of the present world where even the United States can no longer openly defy the UN Charter to wage a war of aggression.
Measuring the difference brought about in the past 10-year period, it is clear that the movement to establish a world order for peace has made steady progress. This is the result of the persistent struggles of peoples throughout the world. Having an important role to play in this struggle based on our fundamental principles, let us strive to further promote the global movement calling for peace.
Second, certain changes have appeared in U.S. foreign policies.
In early 2002, then President George W. Bush, in the first State of the Union address after the September 11, 2001 attacks, labeled North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as an "axis of evil," and threatened to attack them preemptively.
At that time, U.S. global strategy was caught up in military hegemonism. It advocated unilateralism in defiance of the U.N., a preemptive attack strategy, a renewed form of neo-colonialism to create client regimes by military might, and a policy to use nuclear weapons unilaterally. Ten years ago, the JCP's 23rd Congress resolution stated as follows:
"The United States is now trying to force the world to accept 'a world order in which war and oppression are predominant'. This represents the blatant ambition of the United States to dominate the world by imposing its hegemony. However unrivaled the U.S. military strength is, it cannot create an international order based on military strength alone. A country may be able to be victorious in war, but one country alone cannot build peace. The U.S. attempt to establish its hegemony has no future."
Ensuing developments vindicated the JCP's view. The Iraq War ended up in complete failure leaving behind tremendous human loss and property damage. Under such circumstances, the Bush administration modified the U.S. strategy during the second term in office. While maintaining military hegemonism, it became more inclined to solve international issues through diplomatic negotiations. In the past two party congresses, the JCP analyzed these policy changes in light of the Party Program.
Regarding the global strategy of the Obama administration, Section 6 of the draft resolution states as follows:
"Looking at the U.S. Obama administration's global strategy over the past four years, we clearly see that U.S. strategy continues to maintain the two aspects that were pointed out in our previous resolution, even though U.S. global influence is in gradual decline. While the Obama administration has inherited military hegemonism as the basic strategic line of successive U.S. administrations, it puts more emphasis on diplomatic negotiations to solve issues both bilaterally and multilaterally in its global strategy."
The Obama administration still sticks to military hegemonism and is open to the preemptive strike option. From a broader perspective, its current diplomatic pursuit is considered as part of the hegemonic strategy to maintain its influence in the world. We must recognize that U.S. imperialism has not changed in essence.
On the other hand, during the past 10 years, even the U.S. became unable to continue with its military-only approach. I would like to emphasize that it is global peoples' struggles demanding peace and social progress that have helped to bring about these changes.
Third, regional communities for peace have developed in the past 10 years.
One such community is the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It has been building a framework for peace based on the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). This treaty was concluded in 1976 to maintain peace among the countries in the region, upholding the principle of non-use of military force and peaceful resolution of international disputes. In 1987, they decided to encourage countries outside Southeast Asia to ratify the treaty as well. This effort has taken a giant step forward in the past 10 years. In 2003, the number of parties to TAC totaled 11 with a combined population of 540 million, 8.5% of the world population. In 2013, the number of signatories has reached 57 with a combined population of 5.15 billion, 72% of the total global population, which includes countries from the Eurasian Continent, Oceania and North America. Southeast Asia has become a springboard for world peace.
In addition, the establishment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is another historic event. In 2010, heads of all the 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations gathered at a meeting to declare the establishment of the CELAC. The first CELAC summit was held in January 2013.
In November 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, referring to the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. policy justifying intervention in Latin American affairs. Admitting that successive U.S. Presidents have followed that doctrine, he declared that "the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over" and stressed his intention to foster a relationship where all of countries in Americas "view one another as equals." This is the first time for the U.S. to proclaim the end of the doctrine which had treated Latin America as its "backyard" in which it has freely intervened and interfered without restraint.
In various parts of the world, regional communities of nations to create peace have been developing which do not create imaginary enemies that require military alliances and which are joined by all the countries in the region. This provides great hope for achieving true peace and social progress in the world.
Fourth, I will move on to a major change in the global economic order.
In the past several decades, there existed the old-style economic order where the United States, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank exerted control over the world economy, using the G8 Summit as their main stage for their domination.
The IMF and the World Bank took a lead in fiercely imposing on other countries the so-called "Washington Consensus." This neo-liberalistic policy prescription included capital liberalization and structural reform which sets austerity policies and large-scale privatization as loan conditionalities.
However, such attempts finally backfired in Southeast Asia and Latin America, spurring the movement in those regions to build freestanding regional communities free from external economic domination.
This out-dated economic order dominated by a handful of advanced nations was finally dealt a fatal blow by the 2008 global economic crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Robert Zoellick, the then World Bank president, stated in September 2010 that the global economic crisis had made the need for a rethink of development economics even more compelling. He said in the lecture, "A new multi-polar economy requires multi-polar knowledge… We need to democratize development economics." That the head of the global economic enforcing agency of the "Washington Consensus" made such a confession illuminated a very significant change in the prevailing economic order.
With the life of the "G8" having expired, the "G20" appeared as a main stage actor to discuss international issues, incorporating some emerging and developing nations in its framework. However, as the "G20" has been increasingly recognized as not being the appropriate vehicle, some have floated the idea of a "G192," suggesting that we should respond to global economic issues through the United Nations, an institution with "the highest degree of global legitimacy."
These changes are taking place in the backdrop of the "structural changes of the world" in the 20th century and the increasing economic weight of emerging and developing countries in the world economy. According to an IMF estimate, the GDP on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis of some 150 emerging and developing nations for the year 2013 totaled 43.7 trillion dollars, for the first time surpassing the total GDP of the 32 developed economies which amounted to 42.9 trillion dollars.
The era in which the world economy was monopolized by a small group of highly developed capitalist nations has ended. Today, as our draft resolution points out, we are entering a new era in which the world is working to create for democratic rules to govern the international economy and to regulate large multinational corporations, and the people in the world are increasingly engaged in waging a spirited struggle to urgently realize these goals.
Fifth, I will speak on the ongoing efforts to seek a "world without nuclear weapons".
There have been positive changes in the course of a fierce battle between pro-nuclear states and the world community calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons during the past decade.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference held in 2000 called upon "the nuclear-weapon states to demonstrate an unequivocal commitment to the speedy and total elimination of their respective nuclear weapons."
However, at the next Review Conference in 2005, the then U.S. Bush administration ignored this agreement and refused to discuss how to move the nuclear disarmament agenda forward, trying to limit the scope of discussion to nonproliferation. The U.S. retracted its prior agreement to an "unequivocal commitment" to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Finally, the 2005 Conference ended in failure, unable to even produce a final document.
Hibakusha-led anti-nuke movements at home and abroad, however, have successfully created positive changes. The 2010 NPT Review Conference affirmed that "all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons." This has opened the way to international negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
International opinion and social movements succeeded in bringing all countries, including nuclear states, together to work for the common goal to establish "a world without nuclear weapons". Whether to immediately launch negotiations on a Nuclear Weapon Convention or to postpone the no-nuke effort forever in the name of a "step-by-step approach" is emerging as a fiercely contested fault line.
The UN General Assembly last year provided the stage for such a showdown.
Focusing on the inhumane and cruel aspects of nuclear weapons, the non-aligned countries submitted to the Assembly a draft resolution calling for the "urgent commencement" of negotiations for the "early conclusion" of a comprehensive convention banning nuclear weapons. The resolution was adopted in the UN General Assembly in December with overwhelming support from 137 countries or more than two thirds of the State Parties.
The U.S., the UK, and France, however, opposed this resolution and issued a joint statement saying that "a practical step-by-step process is the only way to make real progress in our disarmament efforts while upholding global security and stability". A "step-by-step approach" is the latest logic that nuclear states have come up with to resist the call for immediate nuclear abolition because now that they are being forced by world public opinion to talk about a "world without nuclear weapons," and are no longer able to argue that the elimination of nuclear weapons is a distant "ultimate" goal.
As Philippine Deputy Foreign Minister Evan P. Garcia countered by saying that "the refusal of some States to set a definitive timeline for the total elimination of nuclear weapons in favor of a 'step-by-step' approach has become synonymous to foot dragging," their gradual approach goes totally against the vast majority of world opinion aspiring for the urgent start of negotiations on a Nuclear Weapon Convention.
In a broader perspective, nuclear-weapon states are being cornered because they already made an "unequivocal commitment" to abandoning their nuclear stockpiles after they had found putting off nuclear disarmament to the eternal future no longer possible.
Under this circumstance, the government of Japan agreed to go along with the "step-by-step process" and abstained from voting in the affirmative on the UNGA resolutions that called for starting to negotiate a non-nuke convention. I must say it is shameful for the country which suffered from nuclear bombings to be "dragging its feet".
The NPT Review Conference in 2015 will be held in the year that will mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings. The JCP as a political party of the atomic bombed nation will make its utmost effort to help the Conference reach a consensus to begin negotiations on a Nuclear Weapon Convention in cooperation with anti-nuke movements in Japan and throughout world.
I looked back on the changes which transpired in the past decade from five angles. Of course, the world is moving with trials and errors and full of twists and turns. However, looking at the past decade with a bird's-eye view, we can clearly see that historical change is heading the world toward peace and social progress.
Given these changes, we can understand that the Abe government's attempt to change Japan into a "war-capable nation" is an outdated move that is diametrically opposed to the world trend.
The JCP always works for a better future for all keeping with the current of world history. Let us be confident and work even harder for world peace and social progress!
Now I report on the part 3 of the draft resolution.
It calls for vigorous struggles to confront the reactionary onslaught by the Abe government and to create a new Japan.
Section 12 of the draft resolution states that the political base of the Abe cabinet of the LDP and Komei Party coalition is "quite vulnerable and full of contradictions" and that every step the Abe cabinet is taking to realize its anti-people runaway policies is stirring up conflict between the government and the public.
Since the draft resolution was released 2 months ago, the situation has been unfolding exactly as we have predicted. Since the end of 2013, the Abe cabinet has forcefully implemented reactionary policies one after another, causing ever more serious contradictions with the Japanese public as well as with the rest of the world.
By railroading through the State Secret Protection Law in the Diet and ignoring the public opposition, the Abe cabinet aroused strong popular anger, marking the beginning of the end of its existence.
It seeks to allow the use of the right to collective self-defense to create a war-fighting country. It is imposing a new U.S. base on Okinawa by enticing and pressuring the governor and the locally-elected LDP Diet-members to sell out. It is moving to restart nuclear power plants and increasing the nation's dependence on nuclear power. In addition to the consumption tax hike and the cutbacks in the social security programs, these moves all go against the public will.
According to the recent opinion polls, the government approval rating was overtaken by its disapproval rating in the prefectures of Hokkaido, Okinawa, and Fukushima, the areas most affected by Abe's runaway policies. This gives a glimpse into the Abe cabinet's doomed future.
This cabinet takes an extreme reactionary position which even goes back on the principles upheld by the post-war conservative governments.
In order to change Japan into a war-fighting country, it is trampling on those principles by enacting the State Secret Protection Law denying the constitutional principles, allowing the use of the right to collective self-defense by changing the official understanding of the constitution, and sending the self-defense forces abroad by throwing off the exclusively defense-oriented policy in addition to drawing up the LDP draft constitution which fundamentally denies the constitution's pacifism and fundamental human rights.
One author with a conservative political perspective criticized the present LDP government as a degenerated totalitarian party, not a conservative party. Former LDP heavyweights and its traditional conservative supporters are also rejecting the path being taken by the present LDP.
The foreign media also criticize this government's rightist and reactionary posture. After the State Secret Protection Law passed in the Diet, the New York Times commented editorially on "Japan's dangerous anachronism." A British newspaper, the Guardian, wrote about "a throwback to Japanese imperialism." The German "Tages Spiegel" newspaper even commented on this as "a revival of the samurai era." The Abe cabinet's reactionary move is not only going against the will of the Japanese public but also represents an anachronism to international public opinion.
More seriously, the Abe cabinet revealed its true nature as a glorifier of the past war of aggression by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine on December 26th last year.
The Yasukuni Shrine in the past played an instrumental role in mobilizing the Japanese public to support war. Soldiers were made believe that if they were killed in the war, they would be enshrined as gods at the Yasukuni Shrine, the greatest honor for military personnel.
Still now, this shrine continues to be the special institution that works on perpetuating the notion that past wars of aggression by Japanese imperialism were justified self defense for Japan to survive or that those wars were waged with the aim of liberating the rest of Asia. 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 tantamount to declaring to the world that his cabinet supports the shrine's position justifying the past wars of aggression.
He claimed that his visit was intended to "uphold the pledge never to wage war again." But this shrine is the least appropriate place to make such a pledge.
The international order established after WWII stands on the common understanding that the war waged by Japan, Germany, and Italy was a criminal war of aggression. The prime minister's action was a blatant challenge to the post-war international order that cannot be condoned.
The prime minister's shrine visit was met with strong international criticism. Beijing and Seoul fiercely protested and Washington expressed its "disappointment." Criticism was also expressed by the UN secretary general, the EU, and various governments, including Russia and Singapore.
By pandering to his ultra rightist support base, the Prime Minister made an enemy out of the whole world. He also undermined Japan's national interest by harming our friendly relationships with the neighbors.
As a party having waged a life-and-death struggle against the aggressive war and colonialism, the JCP will continue to make its utmost effort to eliminate the historical distortions that are emerging in the Japanese political arena.
The draft resolution states as follows:
"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."
This prediction is now coming true.
Turning its back on the people's will and on world opinion, the Abe cabinet has no future.
Everyone, we must squarely confront it, present counter-proposals, and develop joint struggles with various social movements to put a stop to its runaway policies.
Section 13 of the draft resolution is about reconstruction efforts on the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster.
Nearly three years have passed since the unprecedented earthquake disaster. Painstaking efforts have been made for recovery in the disaster-hit regions. However, a lot of displaced people in the hard-hit region are still forced to live in temporary housing units without having any prospect for their future. The decrease in the local population is also a serious problem. The draft resolution outlines our policy to promote reconstruction efforts, giving disaster relief top priority in the national agenda with the aim of correcting the distorted form of Japanese politics.
The point is that only through joint struggle by the disaster-stricken people and the Japanese public as a whole can we create an effective and pro-people mechanism for disaster relief. The victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake stood up together, finally bringing forth a new subsidy to help victims rebuild their houses. The people hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake also organized a movement and had the government introduce new relief measures such as providing direct financial assistance to help hard-hit local enterprises rebuild their businesses. Although these measures are still insufficient, I would like to emphasize here that the united movement of disaster-stricken people and the Japanese public is the ultimate guarantee for blazing the trail to recovery.
The draft resolution states, "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.'"
We need to fight the stubborn attitude of the government and have it work out-of-the-box and establish effective rules for disaster relief, such as increasing the subsidy for house reconstruction, solving so-called "double-loan" problems, and creating special measures to facilitate land acquisition for relocation purposes. This would not only help solve some of the urgent problems faced by the disaster-stricken people, but would also be highly significant for ensuring the safety of the entire Japanese public living in this disaster-prone nation.
The JCP demands the government change its out-dated disaster relief policy. In addition, the JCP itself continues its own activities to help the local communities. In this regard, I would like to express my appreciation for relief efforts made by the party members and other democratic organizations all over Japan, and ask them from my heart to continue to provide such efforts among the disaster-stricken people.
Section 14 of the draft resolution is about the struggle to improve the livelihood of the people and Japanese economy.
The draft resolution makes a critical case about the Abe administration's economic policies, so-called Abenomics, stating that, "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."
Then, it points to the 4 pillars of our party's radical economic proposal:
1 - Solve economic crisis by increasing workers' wages;
2 - Oppose consumption tax hike and secure financial resources by democratic reforms of the tax, fiscal, economic systems;
3 - Fight against attacks on social security and strive for its improvement;
4 - Change industrial policy to bring about growth led by domestic demand.
In my report today, based on those proposals, I would like to focus on some hot issues in the current struggle to improve people's livelihoods and the economy.
First of all, I would like to report on the struggle against the consumption tax hike.
The draft resolution points out that if the tax hike is implemented, it "would cause serious damage to people's lives, ruining both the economy and finances." Recent developments have proven clearly that our argument is valid.
Abenomics has already revealed its true nature by throwing the Japanese economy into a dangerous zone. Although the massive monetary easing policy boosted stock prices, there have not been any benefits from the policy for ordinary people. Instead, households and mid- and small-sized businesses are now suffering from high prices of fuels, raw materials, and necessities of life caused by a weaker yen.
The annualized real GDP growth in the July-September period of 2013 was just 1.1%, down from the 4.5% rate in the January-March period and the 3.6% rate in the April-June period of the same year. This clearly shows the trend of continuing economic downturn. Looking into the figures more closely, the levels of household consumption and capital investment are stagnant. In addition, the minuscule GDP growth is only sustained by the last-minute spending in the housing sector before the consumption tax hike in April this year, as well as additional public works projects funded by the supplementary budget for the end of the current fiscal year. Above all, the workers' wages have been steadily declining.
Under the current economic circumstances, what if the government brazenly raises the consumption tax from 5% to 8%, increasing the tax burden by 8 trillion yen? What if the planned social security cuts by 2 trillion are also implemented, increasing the total public burden by an unprecedented 10 trillion yen? I strongly warn the government that it will inevitably bring about an economic catastrophe with devastated people's livelihoods, a destroyed Japanese economy, and bankrupt government finance.
While imposing the massive tax hike on ordinary people, the Abe cabinet is planning huge tax cuts for large corporations. The government has already eliminated the special corporate tax for reconstruction one year before the scheduled date. It is now planning further cuts on corporate tax rates. In the name of "enhancing national resilience," it is also planning to pour huge amounts of taxpayers' money into mega-public works projects, such as huge networks of ring roads in the three major metropolitan areas (Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya) and large-scale "strategic international container ports." Further, a rapid military expansion is about to start with a budgeted expenditure of 24 trillion 670 billion yen next 5 years.
The consumption tax hike is neither about restoring fiscal order nor for securing resources for social welfare. Obviously, the real aim of the tax hike is taking money away from ordinary people for realizing corporate tax cuts, mega-projects for big businesses, and military expansion. That is very clear now to anyone paying attention to where the money is going.
Every reason for increasing the consumption tax has fallen apart.
Let us make utmost efforts to block the planned consumption tax increase by building a nationwide struggle joined by the broadest possible coalition of forces from all spheres of life who agree on the common demand that the government should not raise the consumption tax this April in this economic situation.
The JCP has put forward a comprehensive economic proposal to break through the crisis in the economy, finances, and social security without depending on consumption tax revenue. We are determined to do our best to achieve our policy objectives which are based on reason.
I'll now report on the struggles opposing the move for regressive labor reform which amounts to the total destruction of decent employment and the weakening of movements working for wage increases and an increase in stable jobs.
Under the slogan of "Change Japan into the most business friendly nation in the world," the Abe government intends to impose a massive adverse makeover of labor laws which would increase unstable employment and bring forth further wage cuts and declining working conditions both for full-time and non-regular workers. Here are some of its features:
First, it intends to increase and perpetuate non-regular employment. Overturning the recognized principle prohibiting the use of agency workers as an alternative to full-time workers, the government intends to drastically revise the Worker Dispatch Law so that corporations can use agency workers on a regular basis. The outrageous revision would create a system where agency workers would be forced to endure their positions as "lower paid temps for their entire working life".
Also on the reform agenda is the legalization of overtime without pay. The government plans to expand the use of the discretionary working scheme which will record a worker's working hours as 8 hours no matter how many hours workers may actually work and introduce a white-collar exemption system which eliminates overtime pay for workers whose annual incomes are more than a prescribed minimum.
Third on the reform agenda is the relaxation of rules regarding dismissals. There is a move to legalize "limited regular employees" who are easily fired because they are employed on condition that their jobs and locations are specified and introduce a system of settling unfair dismissals by providing monetary compensation in defiance of workers' demands for reinstatement.
The Abe government labor deregulation policy contradicts his rhetorical remarks on the need for wage hikes and opens the way for further wage reductions. Let's block this backward policy which will further undermine workers' livelihoods and rights and turn Japan into a nation forcing all workers to work under sweatshop-like conditions with no way out.
A pay increase is what workers earnestly demand and also what Japan's economy desperately needs to overcome its crisis. This fact is recognized by all quarters, including the government. An increase in stable jobs is all the more important for the healthy development of the Japanese economy and society, which should be pursued as a national challenge.
It is significant that workers' protests against the drastic relaxation of labor laws and movements to demand higher wages and more stable jobs are uniting with each other regardless of differences in affiliation with national trade union centers. Last December, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) hosted a protest rally against the moves for labor law deregulation. It was attended by all the major trade union centers including the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo), and the Independent Trade Union (Junchuritsu), for the first time since Zenroren and Rengo were founded in 1989.
Now is the time to create strong united efforts by all national trade union centers in order to foil the attempt to introduce such regressive labor reform and move forward toward wage hikes and more stable jobs. Let us forge a unity between full-time and non-regular workers as well as between private and public sector workers and work to strengthen solidarity with people in various strata until we win in this struggle.
I'll report now on the struggles to defend social security programs against the attempted destructive reform and work to revive and improve them.
The LDP-Komei government in the latest extraordinary Diet session forcibly enacted the Social Welfare Reform Program Law. Based on the "schedule" starting from this year set under the program law, the government will implement adverse reform of a whole range of social security programs, including medical care, nursing care, pension, and childcare. This will provoke severe conflicts with the public interest.
Regarding the Abe government's social security program reform, the draft resolution states that the basic idea of the reform is to confine the government's role to "supporting the moves for the public to be self-reliant", and criticizes the reform for destroying the social security system based on Article 25 of the Constitution and eliminating public support for vulnerable sections of society who will be forcibly driven to so-called "self-reliance." The law includes a long list of revisions in all social and welfare fields.
In the medical care field, the general public will have to shoulder further financial burdens such as a doubling in medical fees at hospitals for the elderly aged between 70 and 74, and a drastic increase in national health insurance premiums under the name of consolidating the municipality-based insurance system into a prefecture-based insurance system. In addition, other measures are being planned to cut down on hospital care, including an increase in charge for hospital meals for patients, and a cut in the total number of hospital beds. This will further aggravate the crisis in medical care and threaten the public's lives and health.
As regards nursing-care services, the government policy will leave more and more aged people without adequate nursing-care, creating a massive increase in so-called "nursing care refugees." It includes a plan to revise the nursing-care insurance program in which elderly people whose level of need for nursing care is regarded as low would have to endure limited services and be prevented from entering special care facilities, and the fees for nursing-care services will be increased.
As for the pension program, in addition to the cut in pension benefits by 2.5% in three years starting from 2013, the government plans to implement a so-called "macroeconomic slide" mechanism, a formula to automatically reduce the benefits according to the increase in the aged population, thus imposing a continuous reduction of the total pension payout at an annual rate of 1% or 500 billion yen per year. Furthermore a rise in the pension eligibility age from 65 to 68 or 70 is coming up for discussion.
The government intends to change the public child-care service into the profit-oriented business and further deregulate it, through such measures as promotion of corporate entry into the childcare service sector and relaxation of national minimum standards for the facilities in regard to the number of staff members required, space, and safety measures. This ignores parents' demand for "more publicly authorized childcare centers" and allows the government to neglect its financial responsibility to provide childcare.
The increase in financial burdens through the measures listed in the Social Welfare Reform Program Law amount to more than 3 trillion yen. This is the largest-ever attack to date on the social security programs.
The public have begun to counter the attack. The JFBA, the Japan Federation of Shihoshoshi Lawyers' Association, and the Japan Association for Social Workers expressed their opposition to the revision of the livelihoods protection program. The plan to revise the nursing-care insurance program has received mounting criticism from organizations representing nursing-care facility interests as well as NPOs and academics that have cooperative ties with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. In protest against cuts in pension benefits, a movement has launched to organize 100,000 elderly to file complaints against the government. Opposing the reduction in livelihoods protection benefits and pushing back against the recipient-bashing, 10,000 welfare recipients filed complaints with the authorities
As the draft resolution states, to promote social welfare program cuts, the LDP-Komei government has devised a tactic to "create division and discord among the people" which is intended to deliberately provoke conflicts between elderly and non-elderly or between welfare recipients and non-recipients.
Let's defeat this shameful government tactic by increasing social solidarity so that we can revive and improve the social security programs by demanding adherence to Article 25 of the Constitution.
Section 15 of the draft resolution touches on struggles to achieve a "zero-nuclear Japan." Whether to allow nuclear energy promotion or to pave the way for a "zero-nuclear Japan" is a hot national topic.
The government released a new draft Basic Energy Plan in last December and is scheduled to approve it. This plan proposes 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 abandons the previous DPJ government's stated goal of realizing a "zero" nuclear power society by the 2030s. This is a blatant declaration promoting nuclear power generation.
Encouraged by this announcement, power companies applied for the reactivation of 16 out of 48 nuclear reactors nationwide, and the number is expected to rise. An application has recently been submitted for the renewed operation of the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho Village.
Above all, this goes totally against the will of the majority of the public.
In every opinion poll taken recently, 70 to 80% of respondents say that Japan should scrap nuclear power plants immediately or sometime in the future. The Abe Cabinet is trying to restart offline nuclear reactors, promoting the export of nuclear energy technologies, and intends to continue to rely on this energy source in the future. This poses a challenge to the majority of the public who are calling for a "zero-nuclear Japan" after the tragic experience of the on-going Fukushima nuclear accident.
Firstly, it should be out of the question to restart nuclear reactors while the cause of the accident has yet to be fully revealed and the accident is far from being brought under control. The "new safety standards" for nuclear power plants fail to set numeric criteria for proper preparedness for quakes and tsunami, allow construction of nuclear reactors on active faults if there is no exposure of the faults on the ground surface, and leave the planning for evacuation to local governments. It is unacceptable to use such sloppy "standards" as an excuse to move forward to reactivate nuclear reactors. Operations of all nuclear reactors in Japan are currently suspended. The most responsible course of action to take is to keep them offline and start the process of decommissioning them.
Secondly, promotion of nuclear energy is the most irresponsible stance that will further increase "nuclear wastes" which we have no way to dispose of. The Basic Energy Plan states that final disposal of nuclear wastes should not be left to future generations. However, technology does not exist to safely reprocess spent nuclear fuel or to permanently dispose high- and low-level radioactive wastes produced by reprocessing process. Storage pools for spent nuclear fuels at many power plants are almost at full capacity. The situation urgently calls for a decision to swiftly put an end to nuclear power generation.
Thirdly, the Basic Energy Plan claims that the most important reason to maintain nuclear energy is its low price and stable supply, but this is a false argument. While we experienced two summer peak seasons since the nuclear disaster, we have not experienced any energy shortage. Japanese citizens have come to know through that experience that the society can be sustained without nuclear energy. Nuclear power generation is the ultimate example of expensive energy as demonstrated by the incalculably huge costs needed to deal with the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown accident.
The government should immediately depart from nuclear energy and at the same time make efforts to develop renewable energy sources and achieve a low-energy society. I'd like to stress that this is clearly the most realistic and responsible policy to be implemented.
It is important to integrate the movement to achieve a "zero-nuclear" Japan with efforts to promote Fukushima's reconstruction while extending assistance to alleviate the suffering still being endured by the people in Fukushima.
The nuclear accident is far from being brought under control. As the amount of radiation-contaminated water increases, the emergency situation continues to be out of control. The JCP on November 21 hosted a symposium to discuss ways to overcome the contaminated water crisis. The discussion revealed that in order to solve the crisis and bring the accident under control, a long-term effort is necessary and wisdom needs to be gathered from experts both inside and outside the country. The JCP urges the government to take drastic measures in accordance with its "Emergency proposal for overcoming the radiation-contaminated water crisis." We propose that the Diet create a forum that would bring together the expertise of Japanese scientists, engineers, and relevant industries. The JCP is determined to work to solve this issue.
For nearly three years since the accident, nuclear radioactive contamination issues have increased. About 140,000 Fukushima residents have been forced to evacuate. The number of people who lost their lives due to indirect effects of the disaster exceeded the death toll directly linked to the quake and tsunami. Having experienced severe living conditions and anxieties concerning the future, victims' lives and health are being threatened.
The government on December 20 approved the reconstruction guidelines for Fukushima. This problematic policy imposes a top-down decision on the scope and the amount of compensation in an attempt to terminate compensation as early as possible, creating divisions among the disaster victims and the affected municipalities. It also gives relief to TEPCO by using tax revenues and allowing it to raise electricity rates. Heads of disaster-hit municipalities have expressed concerns that it may create rifts between local communities and have argued that there should be no discrimination in relief measures.
Support measures should not in any way work to divide the victims or exclude any of them. The government should not terminate the ongoing support by using the expiration of the initially-set period for assistance as an excuse. Regardless of where they lived before the accident, whether or not they evacuated, and whether they want to go back to their hometowns, the government and TEPCO should be responsible for supporting all victims until their livelihoods are revived. This is our strong demand.
The movement for a "zero-nuclear Japan" has been growing. Since its start in February 2012, the weekly Friday protest in front of the prime minister's office has spread throughout the nation. In Tokyo and other places, large rallies are regularly taking place. This creative and revolutionary movement is unprecedented in the history of people's movements in Japan.
It has led to a change in public opinion, put pressure on the pro-nuclear power forces, put a brake on the move to restart idled reactors, and created the present situation where there are no operating nuclear reactors in Japan. We need to take pride in this achievement.
The JCP firmly stands in solidarity with this movement. The JCP will continue in its all-out efforts to encircle and isolate the pro-nuclear power force with the power of the majority public opinion demanding "zero-nuclear" power in order to pave the way for a Japan without nuclear power plants.
Section 16 of the JCP draft resolution calls for stepping up efforts to end Japan's subservience to the U.S. as well as to create an independent and peaceful Japan.
Since the draft resolution was released, there has been a negative development in Okinawa regarding the new construction plan for the U.S. base. The Abe government put pressure on the LDP lawmakers elected from Okinawa and the LDP Okinawa prefectural chapter to cancel their campaign pledges and accept the plan to build a new U.S. base in the prefecture. Following that, the central government pressed Okinawan Governor Nakaima using the power of money to approve the landfill project to initiate the construction.
Not only those who broke with their campaign promises but also the Abe Cabinet should be held responsible for the treachery. It is naked despotism which should not be allowed in a country calling itself a democracy.
The people of Okinawa are dealing with this betrayal calmly and resolutely. A recent opinion poll by a local newspaper shows that more than 70% of respondents say "no" to the national government's actions. To the question about how to resolve the issue of the U.S. Futenma base in Ginowan City, 73.5% of respondents seek the removal of the facility from the prefecture, while only 15.9% support its relocation to the Henoko district in Nago City.
Voices of Okinawans demanding the removal of the Futenma base and opposing its relocation within the prefecture will never be shaken by such pressure or betrayal. The governor's endorsement of the reclamation project is no more than one procedural step, so the construction plan will not go ahead as easily as they think.
Since the end of World War II, the U.S. military and the Japanese government have employed a strategy to divide the people of Okinawa. Whenever Okinawan people united as one, however, they could overcome any strong pressure from the authorities. This was clearly shown when they won the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972 by waging an island-wide struggle. In addition, their struggles have stopped the government from driving in a single stake in the beautiful coastal area at Henoko.
Recently, a group of 29 famous world figures, including U.S. film director Oliver Stone, released a joint statement, saying, "We oppose construction of a new US military base within Okinawa, and support the people of Okinawa in their struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment." Based on the recognition that Okinawa has long been placed under military occupation, they demand the unconditional removal of the Futenma base. Pointing to the fact that the U.S. Forces "simply usurped the land from local residents," the statement points out, "any conditional return of the base is fundamentally unjustifiable." This indicates that Okinawans' struggles have the cause of world peace behind them. The Japanese and U.S. governments are being driven into a corner by people expressing sound judgment around the world.
Let's respond to Okinawans' resolution to never surrender. The JCP will struggle to oppose the base construction project as well as to have the Futenma base unconditionally closed and removed. I call on peace-loving Japanese people to support incumbent Nago City Mayor Inamine Susumu, who is running in the mayoral election to be held on January 19. By increasing the unity of people in Okinawa and on the Japanese mainland, let's create an Okinawa free of U.S. military bases.
Last December's ministerial meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact failed to even reach a general agreement. Differences of opinions remain unresolved in regard to the issues of eliminating tariffs, intellectual property rights, and state-owned enterprises. The negotiations are faced with many difficulties, and no one can predict how the talks will go.
Turning its back on its campaign platform, the Abe administration began to negotiate with other parties to lift the tariffs on some items included in what it calls the "key 5 items." The U.S. responded by insisting on removing tariffs on all Japanese products. When Prime Minister Abe decided on Japan's joining in the free trade talks, he claimed that President Obama had allowed Japan to exempt some agricultural products from tariff cuts at the bilateral summit meeting in February 2013. However, his claim was just empty rhetoric. It has turned out that the TPP's ultimate goal is to eliminate all tariffs without exception.
It is absolutely intolerable for the government to hide this fact from the Japanese public and to make such a serious concession in secret negotiations. If the Abe administration means to keep its promise, it should remove itself from the talks immediately.
The JCP is determined to do its utmost to increase joint efforts to oppose the TPP, as well as to develop equal and mutually-beneficial economic relations with other nations on the basis of mutual respect for economic sovereignty as well as "food sovereignty."
The draft resolution underscores the importance of efforts to form a majority opinion among the general public supporting the abolition of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
Since the conclusion of the treaty 62 years ago, Japan has continued to serve the interests of the United States. However, this policy has come to a dead end in every field with its contradiction with the public mounting. Problems arising from U.S. military bases in Japan have pushed past the endurance limit of the population, Okinawans in particular. The security pact is increasingly being seen as incompatible with the Japanese Constitution. Japan is also facing a crisis of losing its economic sovereignty through the TPP negotiations.
While developing various forms of cooperation to solve every hot issue in politics, now is the time to call the treaty into question on a nationwide scale as the treaty is the source of all those problems. Let's force a national discussion on the security pact and work to inform the general public that abrogating the treaty would open up a new horizon for a truly independent Japan, as shown in the JCP's diplomatic vision.
Section 18 of the draft resolution calls for struggles against constitutional revision and the attempt to build a "nation capable of fighting wars abroad."
The Abe government, in the extraordinary Diet session in 2013, forcibly enacted the National Security Council Law to create a Japanese version of the U.S. national security council as a "control tower" to deal with foreign and security affairs, in addition to the State Secrets Protection Law. Subsequently, his cabinet approved the new "National Security Strategy," the new "National Defense Program Guidelines", and the "Mid-Term Defense Program."
These moves taken together highlight his three ambitions for building a "nation capable of fighting wars abroad."
The first pillar is to revise Article 9 of the Constitution and remove all existing provisions to restrict sending the SDF troops abroad so that they can engage in action along with U.S. troops. The Abe government places "proactive pacifism" in the new Security Strategy as its basic principle. The contents of "proactive pacifism" are not specified but are certainly oriented to allowing Japan to use the right to collective self-defense and to dismantling Article 9 of the Constitution. This is clear in the remarks Abe has made so far. He intends to change the constitutional interpretations first to allow to exercise the right to collective self-defense, and then proceed to enshrine it into law by enacting a new "Fundamental Law on National Security." In the end, he will try to revise the Constitution itself to throw away the very essence of Article 9. This is Abe's gameplan for constitutional revision.
The second pillar is to convert the SDF into a force equipped to operate abroad by casting away the stance to maintain an exclusively defense-oriented policy. The new Defense Guidelines stress the need to create a Dynamic Joint Defense Force so that the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDFs will be capable of operating rapidly and sustainably in ventures abroad. The Abe government seeks to purchase Osprey aircraft, amphibious vehicles, unmanned drones, and the latest model of mid-air refueling aircraft. It is also considering forming an Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade to carry out "preemptive strike" operations just like the U.S. Marine Corps. To this end, the military budget for the next 5 years will reach an astonishing amount of 24.67 trillion yen. Japan's arms export ban will also be abandoned, thus reversing Japan's post war contribution to world peace and betraying the trust that Japan has earned internationally through such restraint.
Thirdly, Abe intends to build a system to mobilize citizens to support "wars waged overseas." The recently-enacted secrecy law is just one step toward achieving this end. The secrecy law is suppressive legislation depriving people of their "right to have access to information" and trampling on basic human rights. It is also a form of wartime legislation forcing people to shut their eyes, ears, and mouths in order to build a "country capable of fighting wars aboard." Furthermore, the Abe cabinet is aiming to enact a conspiracy crime law. If "more than two people talk" about a crime, the act would be punishable even if no one actually commits a crime. In line with the adversely revised-Fundamental Law on Education, textbook screening standards will be changed in order to force children to have "patriotic" spirits; morality will taught as a required subject to grade children on their "love for Japan" based on a 3-point scale; boards of education will be abolished so that authorities can intervene directly in educational content. It is an extremely serious threat to society as a whole that this series of adverse educational reforms are in the pipeline.
This is Abe's terrifying ambition to build a "nation capable of waging wars abroad." But, this ambition will not be realized that easily. Each of his moves in that direction will inevitably arouse fierce anger from the general public. This has already been displayed in the surge of public opinion and movements against the State Secrets Protection Law that has spread throughout Japan in such a short period of time. Their action has demonstrated how strong the people's aspiration for peace and democracy is.
In the name of our 26th Congress, I'd like to call on you to:
Put together all the reason and conscience of Japan in order to reject the "road to create a nation capable of war and a return to the dark past";
Oppose every plot toward building a "nation capable of fighting wars abroad" by changing Article 9 of the Constitution; and increase movements to defend and put life into the Constitution;
Put a stop to military expansion that will convert the present SDF to a force capable of engaging in conflicts abroad, and;
Increase our struggles to revoke the secrecy law and reject the creation of a conspiracy crime law; and oppose any imposition of "patriotism" on us!
Everyone, participate in united struggle on a common issue and work to build it into an even bigger struggle with all the reason and conscience of Japan to never allow the rebirth of a war-capable Japan!
Now, I'm going to report on the JCP proposal to foster peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia, as presented in the draft resolution.
The Abe government claims that China's arms buildup and North Korea's nuclear development program are cause for "strong concerns" and constitute "serious imminent threats," and uses these as an excuse to justify building a "Japan capable of engaging in warfare abroad."
When China heightened regional tensions by such moves as intruding into Japanese territorial space over and around the Senkaku Islands and setting an "Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)", the JCP immediately opposed these moves and demanded that China exercise self-restraint. But the question is how to deal with these situations.
Prime Minister Abe has three major problem areas in his government that needs to be addressed.
One is that he has no proper diplomatic strategy in place. In responding to the Chinese moves, the Abe government has been trying to set up a network to "encircle" China. One such attempt at the Japan-ASEAN Summit meeting in Tokyo last December failed because no ASEAN country supported this. The ASEAN has been pursuing security through peaceful means, embracing all countries in the region and establishing friendly ties without creating "potential" enemies as military blocs tend to do. "Encircling" China or any other country together with Japan would be a proposal that ASEAN would never accept. Prime Minister Abe is boasting that he has visited all ASEAN countries. But I wonder what he learned from those trips. I must say that he does not understand at all ASEAN's most important and core principles.
The second problem area is Abe's behavior as prime minister is destroying the opportunity to create a decent diplomatic relationship. His visit to the Yasukuni Shrine has helped intensify tensions with Japan's neighbors, China and South Korea in particular. He is creating a worsened climate to enable the establishment of regional peace and stability.
The third problem is Abe's enthusiasm for military responses. Using China's military rise as an excuse, he has been intent on changing Japan into a "country capable of fighting war abroad" by promoting Japan's exercise of the right to collective self-defense and remaking the SDF into an offensive military force.
Not having a diplomatic strategy, undermining Japan's ties with its neighbors by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, and fanatically strengthening military preparation, this government is only exacerbating regional tensions and creating a dangerous vicious circle where one country's military moves invite only military responses.
I would like to emphasize that Japan needs to decisively break with such a harmful and dangerous course.
With economic ties and people-to-people exchanges deepening, a war should not and cannot be allowed to erupt in this region. Therefore, we have to stick to peaceful and diplomatic resolution of any and all disputes.
Section17 of the draft resolution puts forward a concrete proposal for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia, which has the following goals and principles:
-Concluding a treaty of amity and cooperation in Northeast Asia as a norm to create and maintain peace in the region;
-Solving the North Korean nuclear question through the "six-party talks" and developing this framework into one that can create and maintain peace and stability;
-Resolving territorial disputes diplomatically and concluding a code of conduct to prevent disputes from escalating; and,
-Proclaiming Japan's remorse over its past war of aggression and colonial rule as an essential first step in this endeavor.
This is our proposal to deal constructively with disputes and ease tension in this region through peaceful and diplomatic means. In this region, military alliances exist between Japan and the U.S. as well as between South Korea and the U.S. However, this proposal can be pursued jointly and urgently whether one supports the military alliances or not.
This is not just idealism. The ASEAN has been building up a web of peaceful cooperation among nations in Southeast Asia. This is what we are keen on implementing in Northeast Asia. A treaty of amity and cooperation in Northeast Asia has its model in the TAC in Southeast Asia. A code of conduct to prevent territorial disputes from escalating has drawn inspiration from the efforts to establish a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
Last May, South Korean President Park Geun-hye proposed in the U.S. Congress an "initiative for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia." Last December, Indonesian President Yudhoyono called for the conclusion of an "Indo-Pacific treaty of friendship and cooperation." He stated that such a treaty could have "the same peaceful transformative impact as the TAC among the ASEAN members." These ideas and the JCP proposal overlap.
In September last year, I led the JCP delegation to Indonesia and met with Vice Foreign Minister Wardana. I said to him, "We have a policy vision to establish a code of conduct to help solve the disputes in Northeast Asia, which is similar to the TAC in Southeast Asia." Minister Wardana welcomed our idea, stating that he would like to have cooperation in this regard between the ASEAN members and the countries in Northeast Asia. He also hoped that the ASEAN's experience in dealing with regional cooperation such as the TAC be useful to realize peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
We believe that this JCP initiative for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia offers a realizable vision that must be carefully considered. The JCP calls for a nation-wide discussion over this proposal in order to create a national consensus. We also intend to discuss our proposal with the various governments and political parties concerned so that peace and cooperation can be realized in the region.
Section 20 is about the present and the future of united front movement.
The draft resolution states that in recent years, there has been "the extensive development of various 'single-issue joint struggles.' 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. Adding that "This is a landmark development with a promising growth potential," it calls for "developing such moves with the aim of establishing a united front to change Japan."
There are four important areas of focus that need to be strengthened in order to further develop these movements.
First, we must make sincere efforts to develop "single issue joint struggles." We have to support the tremendous energy and enthusiasm of participants expressed in the various "single issue struggles." We must not overlook the new qualitative growth of these movements. Each "single issue struggle" is joined by new participants which often include traditional conservatives and many non-partisan people. And each struggle, including the one against the State Secret Protection Law and the struggle demanding zero nuclear plants, is becoming a sustained, persistent movement, not a short-lived phenomenon. These single issue struggles are uniting in a larger joint struggle through mutual support and solidarity.
We have to be confident in our belief that these single issue struggles will be able to change Japan and make our best efforts to support and help to further develop these forward-looking movements.
Second, we must renew our efforts in further developing the Association for a Peaceful, Democratic and Progressive Japan (Kakushinkon or Progressive Forum).
Those "single issue joint struggles" will eventually collide with the old framework of the LDP politics with its two abnormalities.
There are 800 Progressive Forums established throughout Japan in neighborhoods, workplaces, and in organizations representing youth. These Forums take part in various single issue struggles and are acting to encourage individual movements to see the connections and support each other. They are also providing the catalyst for those joint struggles to evolve into a nationwide united front.
There is an argument that this Progressive Forum may narrow the scope of joint movements. However, this is false. This Forum organizes various joint efforts based on popular demands at the grass-roots level, while seeking to create a national consensus around its 3 joint goals to fundamentally change Japan. These are the Forum's strong points. The Progressive Forum movement takes up any single demands which are in agreement with its 3 joint goals, even if it may be partial agreement. That is why this Forum can attract such a wide-ranging public to its cause.
As the party that initiated this Forum, the JCP calls for more vigorous efforts to develop this Forum movement.
Third, we need to make a greater effort to strengthen labor movement that respects democracy and truly represents working-class interests. There are two remarkable changes that have taken place in this field.
One is the collapse of the undemocratic policy pursued by the leadership of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) to impose on its union members' support for the Democratic Party of Japan. Now that more and more workers are getting angry at the DPJ, which promoted and is promoting anti-people policies (once as a government party and now as an opposition party), this long established practice of imposing support of union members for the DPJ is failing in many workplaces, both in the private and public sectors. I urge the Rengo leadership to overcome its outdated policy of supporting a particular political party and of promoting labor-capital sweetheart collaboration that in the end is detrimental to the interests of the workers.
The second change that has occurred is that demands by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), such as the demand for a wage hike by using a portion of the internal reserves of corporations, the demand for a significant increase in minimum wages, and opposition to deregulation of labor laws, are now increasingly shared by labor unions with different national center affiliations. Last December, trade unions gathered irrespective of national center affiliation in a rally to oppose the deregulation of labor laws. That clearly revealed the emergence of improved conditions to enable an expanded cooperation among workers.
Zenroren has an increasingly greater role to play to promote and support the united actions of workers based on common demands. Zenroren is a national center of unions, open to cooperation with any trade unions based on the principle of united actions based on common demands, and maintaining independence from capital and independence from political parties. I hope from my heart that Zenroren will make great advance based on such democratic principles to expand its united actions and cooperate with various workers from diverse national center affiliations.
It is urgently needed to reverse the downward trend of the unionization ratio, which was 56% in 1949 but now is only 18%, in order to realize workers' demands and rally the working class to create a united front. I would like to urge you to cooperate with the class-oriented democratic trade union movement for unionizing the enormous numbers of unorganized workers.
The fourth area of focus concerns the prospects for establishing a coalition among political parties.
The draft resolution states, "We firmly believe that 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." The recent expanding cooperation between the JCP and politically conservative people over various issues has confirmed such a likelihood of being able to find common ground.
At the same time, we cannot just sit and wait for such positive changes to occur in the political field. A prerequisite for such change is the presence of a stronger JCP that has dozens of seats in both Houses of the Diet with a strong organizational base and strong ties with the public.
When the JCP made its great advance in the national elections in the late 1960's to the 1970's, it was able to influence other opposition parties' policies. In those days, even the then opposition Komei party came to support, though temporarily, the immediate abrogation of the Japan-U.S. security treaty called for by the JCP. The final guarantee to create positive changes in the present and future situation concerning political parties is to achieve the JCP's great advance. With that conviction, let's do our best to increase our strength and influence.
Next, I would like to report on Part 4 of the draft resolution.
Part 4 is about our campaign policy to win the coming national and local elections and to turn the third tide of our party's advance into a full-fledged current.
Section 21 of the draft resolution in regard to our goals in the next House of Representative and House of Councilors elections, states as follows; "In the coming elections for the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors, we should make every effort to achieve the minimum target of '6.5 million votes and 10% share of votes' by holding fast to the policy: 'proportional representation is the axis' and the 'whole nation is one constituency.'"
In the inner-party discussion, some members argued for more ambitious goals to be set. However, as the draft resolution points out, our votes gained in the House of Councilors election last year were just 5.15 million due to the low voter turnout though the share of the votes was 9.7%, nearly reaching the goal of obtaining 10% of the votes. Moreover, this level of support is "more than our actual strength" as we confirmed in the Central Committee's 8th Plenum. In other words, we should not underestimate its significance. Therefore, to increase our votes from 5.15 million to 6.5 million is a very challenging task that we cannot achieve without the utmost efforts. We must recognize this fact first.
At the same time, I would like emphasize that these goals are very ambitious and aggressive and that, if realized, would develop the third tide of our advance into a full-fledged current and open up the prospect of forming a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century.
What will happen if we obtain 6.5 million votes with a 10% share of votes?
Let us suppose that we obtain the same number of votes in the next House of Representatives election as we gained in the last House of Councilors election, i.e. 5.15 million. We can make an estimate of how many seats we would get in each proportional representation block. We will have 1 seat in Hokkaido, 1 in Tohoku, 3 in Tokyo, 2 in Northern Kanto, 2 in Southern Kanto, 1 in Hokuriku/Shi-Etsu, 2 in Tokai, 3 in Kinki, 1 in Chugoku, and 1 in Kyusyu/Okinawa. We will get our first seat in Shikoku with just an additional 15 thousand votes and an additional seat in Kyusyu/Okinawa with 60 thousand more votes. If we break down the votes we obtained in the House of Councilors election into the single-seat constituencies of the House of Representative, we are in second place in 13 districts. Therefore, it is definitely possible for us to win in some single-seat constituencies in the House of Representative election.
Then, what if we gain 6.5 million votes instead of 5.15 million? We would then have a distinct possibility of achieving our goals set for the next House of Representative election and increase our seats in each proportional representation block, and we even could win in the single-seat constituencies. In the House of Councilors election, we would have good prospect of winning more than 5 seats in the proportional representation system, and more than 3 seats in the local constituencies.
Let's all work to achieve these goals in the next House of Representative and House of Councilors elections and turn our third tide of advance into a full-fledged current. And let's advance to a party that can achieve our "Growth and Development Target" by getting 10% or more of votes cast in every prefecture, municipality and administrative district. And let's open up the prospect of establishing a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century though victory in these elections.
Section 22 of the draft resolution clarifies the focal points in local politics and our policies for a major JCP advance in local elections.
The simultaneous local elections slated for April 2015 are likely to be the most immediate political battle at the national level unless a serious turmoil erupts in national politics. As the draft resolution states, "Whether the JCP will advance in the election will not only determine the future course of the given municipality, but will be the key for the party to turning the 'third tide of advance' into a full-fledged current."
An increase in the share of JCP seats in local assemblies would solidify the basis for our advance in the coming national elections. In the 2013 House of Councilors election, JCP candidates won in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. In terms of JCP strength in local assemblies in each prefecture, Kyoto was the strongest at 18.09%, followed by Osaka (13.83%) and Tokyo (13.47%). This indicates that an increase in the number of the JCP local assembly members who have close ties with the public will significantly contribute to further advances in the national elections.
The JCP holds the fourth-largest number of seats in prefectural and major city assemblies. Based on prefectural committee reports, we have an aggregate target to increase the number of prefectural assembly seats to more than 159 from the current 80 and the number of the major city assembly seats to more than 160 from 104.
Let's achieve the target, spread the "third tide of advance" throughout the nation, regain the top spot in the number of local assembly members, and pave the way for a major advance in the coming national elections.
With a view to making a major advance in next year's simultaneous local elections through daily activities, let's launch efforts by paying attention to the following points:
Firstly, whether we can quickly select candidates for the simultaneous elections will considerably influence election results. Candidates should be put up by the end of this March at the latest and election campaign structures with candidates at the forefront should be established.
Secondly, regarding election policies, we should put forward as a major focal point not only issues faced by local governments but also issues facing national politics. It is important to turn the elections into a stage for a nationwide political battle where the public will deliver the first nation-wide verdict against the Abe government runaway policies that has undermined people's livelihoods, peace, and democracy.
Thirdly, all party organizations and branches should conduct daily activities with their own target number of votes and targets for an increase in supporters, corresponding to the national goal of "6.5 million votes and 10% share of votes." In accordance with the total number of seats elected from a constituency in local assemblies, the target number of votes for a JCP candidate should be raised, if needed, to win a seat in the constituency.
Fourthly, as for the election campaign policies, we should carry out an approach in which party members and party organizations make the most of their ties among the public in order to win elections. This so called "election revolution" is explained in Section 23 of the draft resolution. The preparations should be made steadily and systematically by setting time frames of one year, 6 months, or 3 months before the scheduled election dates.
The fifth point that we have to see to is to advance in both the first half of the simultaneous elections (elections for prefectural and major city assemblies) and the second half of the elections (elections for municipal assemblies). In the previous round of the nationwide local elections, some JCP organizations succeeded in obtaining prefectural assembly seats but later lost municipal assembly seats due to inadequate preparations, and others lost prefectural seats by a small margin because they placed more emphasis on the municipal races and inadequately prepared for the prefectural races. Efforts to win both prefectural and municipal assembly elections should be made "simultaneously, separately, and synergetically." For JCP organizations in municipalities which already held elections two or three times after a municipal merger, it is necessary to adapt their election campaign efforts to the changes in electoral situations.
The sixth point is that due to municipal mergers, the dates of local elections are dispersed. As a result, 60% of local assembly elections are held outside the framework of simultaneous elections. We should attach importance to these elections. The period between the 26th Congress and the 2015 nationwide local elections, elections for the Ibaraki Prefectural Assembly and for assemblies of 173 cities and 160 towns and villages will be held. In these elections, we will work hard to win more JCP seats and more votes, and increase the current to achieve advances.
The seventh point is that we should make active efforts to fight in elections for local government heads in order to promote collaboration between the JCP and non-partisan people and strengthen the movement to elect the progressive and democratic local governments. Based on lessons learned from the Osaka and Sakai mayoral elections, the JCP will try to forge cooperation with a broad sector of the public regardless of political differences in order to overcome the reactionary political trend when opportunities arise.
The Tokyo gubernatorial election to be held on February 9 will be an opportunity to call Tokyo's political direction into question and verdict can be delivered on the Abe government's runway policies. The JCP will fully support Mr. Utsunomiya Kenji of the Association for Creating a Tokyo as a City of Hope and work hard for his victory together with other political parties, organizations, and individuals who share in common goals.
Now, I'll move on to Part 5.
Part 5 proposes the action policies for building a bigger and stronger party which is essential for a JCP advance in elections.
First, I'll report about the party buildup efforts over the past four years following the 25th Congress.
Over the past four years, we have been continuously making efforts to build a bigger and stronger party based on the 25th Congress Resolution. In particular, in the resolution of the Central Committee's 2nd Plenum held in September 2010, we summed up the results of the 2010 House of Councilors election and confirmed that the party's insufficient strength was a fundamental weakness.
The party has been engaged in membership expansion activities which we consider the core of party building efforts. We organized "special campaigns for party building" on such occasions as the commemoration of the JCP's 90th anniversary and the preparation for the successful 26th Congress. With these activities, over 37,000 new members have joined the party since the previous Congress and more than 50% of JCP branches across the nation took in new members. This is the highest level of recruitment achieved between two Party Congresses held since the 1990s.
The enrollment of new members has energized many branches. It has enriched the branches activities and contributed to our advance in the latest House of Councilors election. I think such experiences are shared among many JCP organizations and branches. In the name of the Congress, I'm sending my heartfelt greetings welcoming all new members.
As a major project since the last congress, we conducted the "Lecture Series on JCP Program and Classics" for party members transmitted via internet. It was watched by about 28,000 members, the largest number ever participating in the party's study activities. This project has aroused confidence in the whole party. Some party branches faced with difficulties underwent remarkable changes. This study project continues to spread as the lectures were released on DVD and published in book form in three volumes.
Guided by the 24th Congress resolution, the JCP continued hosting "special party schools" and "exchange meetings to study workplace problems" during the 25th Congress period, producing good results. Party members who work in some capacity for the party full time who learned at the special party schools renewed their awareness as revolutionists, becoming new leading members in party bodies or candidates in national and local elections. As a result, the House of Councilors election became an election where young party members played brilliant roles in the campaign activities.
Let us understand that the whole party's efforts have brought about these significant outcomes.
Leading up to the Congress, the party carried out a "Campaign for a Successful 26th Congress and Building Party Strength."
With the all-out efforts made by participants in the 4-month campaign, more than 5,300 new party members have been recruited as of yesterday. Following the Nara district committee in Nara prefecture, district committees of Kahan, Chokuan, Tagawa, and Higashihakata in Fukuoka Prefecture successfully welcomed more new members than their initial targets set for this campaign.
As for the Akahata readership expansion, we have made progress in October, November, and December in succession. The number of subscribers increased by 2,400 for the daily edition and by 10,000 for the Sunday edition, thus by 12,400 in total. The Miyako district committee in Iwate Prefecture increased readership of both daily and Sunday Akahata more than the levels achieved in the previous Congress. Another 11 district committees reached or exceeded the level of readership achieved in the previous Congress for either the daily or the weekly edition.
I express my respect and admiration for the efforts made by all the party members and the cooperation extended by the JCP support group members.
With the JCP's advance in the House of Councilors election and the JCP's role to confront the Abe government's runaway policies becoming clearer by the day, more and more people are coming to have a high regard and renewed expectations for the JCP. If we take advantage of such positive changes and boldly reach out to the general public, a wider than ever range of people will become party members or Akahata subscribers. This is the most important lesson drawn from this campaign.
At the same time, the effort to develop party strength is inadequate considering the level required to overcome the current political conditions.
Even though we have made efforts to increase the party membership, the party membership stands at 305,000 as of January 1. This decline is due to our effort to remove from the list "long inactive members" as proposed in the Central Committee's 2nd Plenum. The resolution of the "inactive membership" issue has created a renewed motivation to build a party where all members are actively involved. At the same time, this issue is not only rooted in the objective conditions, such as the decade-long attempt to create a two-major-party setup to block the JCP advance. It shows the weakness in our effort to build a party where all party members take on active roles based on the principle that party branches are the key players. With a determination to never create an "inactive membership", we need to strengthen our effort to build active party branches as a revolutionary party and build a "heart-warming" party.
Tenacious efforts have been made every month to increase the readership of Akahata with special emphasis on the daily edition. However, we currently have 1,241,000 readers of both daily and Sunday Akahata. The number of subscribers is at the 87.5% level compared to the last Congress for the daily edition and at the 85% level for the weekly. We have to strengthen the network to deliver Akahata and collect subscriptions throughout the nation.
Although various efforts have been made, the strength of the party remains its biggest weakness.
Based on this situation, the 26th Congress will strongly call on all party members to work on the following two points:
The first point is to fully commit to achieving the target for the "Campaign for a Successful 26th Congress and Building Party Strength" up to its final day of January 31. Let us respond to the Congress call and use it as a spring board to further develop the movement to achieve the target.
Secondly, although this Campaign ends at the end of January, we have to continuously develop our efforts to build up the party after that date. The major task of this Campaign, as stated in the decision of the Central Committee's 8th Plenum, is to establish an atmosphere to encourage work on party buildup on a daily basis based on the principle that party branches are the key players with a view to building a bigger party capable of achieving our "Growth and Development Targets" in order to establish a democratic coalition government as set in the JCP Program. The all-out efforts have managed to create a precious momentum in party buildup with the focus on membership expansion. We should take care to not lose this momentum and continue this endeavor. Let us exert our wisdom and energy to sustain and develop the effort in February.
Section 24 of the draft resolution puts forward two important goals to be achieved in this decade.
The first goal is "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)."
The second goal is "to 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."
And Section 25 presents five basic points in efforts to build a more powerful JCP.
Since the last Party Congress, the Central Committee has conducted interviews with some district committees which succeeded in party build-up efforts. Their experiences offer a lot of lessons to the whole party.
First, they have voluntarily worked to achieve their "Growth and Development Targets" with eagerness and ambition. The Tokachi district committee in Hokkaido, where nearly 90% of the party branches have gained new members since the last Congress, said as follows:
"When the 25th Congress proposed to set a 'Growth and Development target,' we discussed how the JCP in this district can play a role when the establishment of a democratic coalition government becomes imminent at some point in the future. We concluded that in order to go beyond the current 6% level of the votes cast in national elections, we must build a strong party with a membership of 1% of the population. We also reflected that our defeats in the local elections were due to our failure in increasing the party membership and in recruiting and training our successors. Overcoming the feelings of reluctance that prevailed among branch members at first, we made day-to-day efforts to expand the party membership. Thanks to the increase in the party membership, we obtained more than 10% of votes cast in the House of Councilors election last year. This result renewed the party members' confidence."
The Hokubu district committee in Kumamoto Prefecture, where approximately 80% of the local branches have recruited new members in the past four years, reported as follows:
"We have worked hard to attain our 'Growth and Development Target' since the last Congress. To turn this decade into an era of the JCP's advance, we need to overcome the backward situation and more than double both the party membership and Akahata subscribers. We have been holding fast to our target even during the election campaign periods and continued to discuss how to meet this target both at the district committee meetings and branch meetings. At present, over 80% of party branches are engaging in activities based on their own targets."
Second, those district leaderships have made consistent efforts to encourage voluntary and pleasant activities based on the spirit that "the branches are the key players." Branches are encouraged to make their own "policies and plans," hold meetings, establish branch leadership, and promote activities in which all members can get involved.
The chair of the Fushimi district committee in Kyoto Prefecture, which welcomed newcomers at over 60% of its branches over the past four years, said as follows:
"When the district committee discussed the terrible defeat in the 2011 simultaneous local elections, an underlying problem was found to be the decrease in voluntary activities at the branch level. As the chair of the district committee, I determined to rely on the inherent strength of each branch. So the district leadership persistently helped branches to play key roles in expanding party strength, and engage in activities where every member participates. And the key to such self-sustained activities was for branches to set their own policies and plans. The district leadership has supported branch members so that they can respond to the wishes and demands of local residents. We have convened some meetings to share experiences among branches and also responded to various requests from branch leaders. As a result of these efforts, almost all the branches have come to engage in activities with their own policies and plans established. This effort has made the JCP more in touch with the voters and helped the party achieve an advance in elections."
Regarding party branch's duties, Article 40 of the JCP Constitution, which was revised at the 22nd party congress in 2000, states:
"Develop activities by establishing policies in response to public demands, with targets and a plan for expanding party strength based on the long-term task of getting support from the majority of the people in the workplace, locality, or campus."
Advanced local committee experiences as noted above provide us with important lessons on how to make the JCP larger and stronger: always pursuing a Growth and Development Target as a voluntary target "based on the long-term task of getting support from the majority of the people in the workplace, locality, or campus"; and encouraging activities with a policy and plan in a spirit that "branches are key players".
Learning from these lessons, let's try to achieve this major target to double the current party strength by 2020, and build a powerful JCP with 500,000 members, as many subscribers of the daily Akahata, and two million readers of the Akahata Sunday edition.
Another important goal is to succeed in generational succession in party organizations.
Section 26 of the draft resolution calls on every party body, branch, group, and assembly members' group to establish and execute its own plan to pass on the running of party organizations to the younger generation, as a strategic task needed to open up in this decade new vistas for establishing a democratic coalition government. It also calls for a vigorous effort among youth and students to focus on the new conditions and possibilities for advance.
Looking at various experiences across the country, we find that some local organizations have made significant advances by taking advantage of the "new conditions and possibilities".
As regards the party-building effort at workplaces, there have been some encouraging examples. As the draft resolution states, when we pay attention not only to the demand to improve employment prospect and working conditions but to the workers' basic desire to do socially meaningful work well, fostering good relationships with the coworkers, workers are joining the JCP in increasing numbers.
In the schools where many teachers have recently joined the party, JCP-member teachers have gained the trust and respect of fellow teachers. One of the new members said, "Whenever I was impressed by good and caring teachers, they turned out to be JCP members. I wanted to be like them because they warmly care for all children, including those who may be difficult. This is why I became eager to join the JCP because it is firm and strong-willed." JCP-member teachers who provide such a role model gives added momentum to our party-building efforts.
At workplaces providing local government services, many workers, including youth, have joined the JCP because they are impressed by the party members who work hard to develop their union movement to defend local residents' well-being and livelihoods as well as public workers' rights and livelihoods. Their strong character and willingness to struggle for others have attracted a deep trust from public workers beyond the boundary of service categories. One of the new members said, "I came to have a great deal of respect for JCP-member workers and I wanted to be like them because they work very hard to promote the public interest."
During the 25th Congress period, a JCP branch in a large company welcomed five new members thanks to efforts by party members to build ties with fellow workers. Their motto is "the most important thing is to do a job well and gain the trust of coworkers." One party member is a highly skilled worker who is counted on to do the difficult jobs. He even earned the top prize in a government-sponsored contest to award outstanding skilled workers. At this worksite, one young man decided to join the JCP because he came to trust the JCP members there. He said, "I was hired as a temp but JCP-member workers supported me to prepare for an exam to get a full-time position." This experience helped the branch members to be more confident in pursuing party expansion efforts in their workplaces.
At every worksite, whether it is in schools, local government offices or large private companies, employers are controlling workers by forcing them to compete against each other. In such an alienating work environment, JCP members gain the respect and trust of young workers by being good companions as well as by working with dignity and confidence. This has lead to an increase in party membership. For a long time, JCP workers have tenaciously maintained their party branch at work and have kept struggling for the betterment of working conditions for all. Their way of living and working and the way they conduct themselves leads to gaining trust. Let us be empowered by this, and devote our energies to build a stronger party at workplaces!
To recruit more young people, the whole party should make a systematic effort focusing on positive changes occurring in the political consciousness of the younger generation.
Pursuing such an effort, the Chiba prefectural committee has successfully doubled the number of student JCP members, and more than doubled the number of student branches of both the JCP and the Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ). Among high school students, the number of the DYLJ branches has tripled.
One of the important lessons to be learned from this success is the need to proactively organize various activities or events that address the needs of youth. Our comrades in Chiba started up study groups called "free cram schools" so that high school students can enjoy learning; held "youth talk sessions" in various locations; and sent volunteer teams to participate in 3/11 disaster relief. These activities have created new connections with the young people, leading to an increase in the membership of the JCP and the DYLJ.
The second lesson we should learn is that the JCP Chiba prefectural committee has given support to the district committees in establishing "special taskforces to appeal to the younger generations" by picking leading members of the party bodies as well as young JCP assemblypersons in addition to representatives of branches in communities and at work, youth branches, and New Japan Women's Association groups. As a result of this whole-party campaign, even community branches made up mostly of members in their 60s and 70s came to shed their reluctance to work for young people. These old members have now realized that since there are young people among them, they all should try to connect with them, making the most of their rich and long experiences, until they can help in establishing a DYLJ branch around a JCP branch. This has made a big difference.
The third lesson is that the leadership of the JCP Chiba has been engaged in this effort in a systematic manner. They have been discussing how to respond to the issues of concern to the younger generations as the first subject for discussion at weekly standing committee meetings. At each meeting, a report and a proposal is made. By doing so, everyone in the meeting would to speak up and come up with ideas. The prefectural committee chair said, "We should systematically support young people. If not, it won't succeed. JCP prefectural and local district committee chairs have a significant role to play. This is not a matter to be dealt with only by the section in charge of these activities."
What they did in Chiba is not a special activity under exceptional conditions. If JCP prefectural committees exert an all-out effort, like Chiba did, to systematically strengthen activities among young people, they will be able to receive positive responses from them.
The future is the young people, and the JCP is the most promising party that will appeal to young people, so we should keep working on multifaceted activities that respond to the demands and aspirations of young people. Let us win more JCP advances in this area!
Section 27 of the draft resolution speaks of the need to improve the guidance provided by the party leading bodies and strengthen their structure.
Among other things, we must take seriously the declining number of standing committee members working full time in the party leading bodies and the resultant weakening of their organizational structure. The draft resolution calls for a breakthrough, stating, "We should try to assign at least seven full-time standing committee members to prefectural committees and three to district committees." While this proposal has received favorable comments from many branches, there have been some opinions that consider this proposal to be too difficult to achieve given the hardships faced by some district committees.
However, this is the task that we must accomplish if we really intend to achieve our ambitious goal in party building of doubling the party strength in this decade and passing the party leadership down to the next generation. Despite the difficulties, we must squarely address this challenge.
Let me introduce to you an effort made by the Kobe Nishi district committee in Hyogo Prefecture that is worthy of emulation. They have now only two full-time district standing committee members. Their number decreased due to a financial crunch and the retirement of several full-timers. Faced by dire straits, the district standing committee repeatedly discussed how to get over this situation. They posed to themselves such questions as "Is it okay for us to believe that a manpower shortage is a natural result of financial difficulty?" or "With this strength, can we fight the coming local and national elections?" Finally the committee came to the decision to increase the full-timers because they are the precious key factor in executing the district's leadership role and to bring in young full-timers to take over their work. With the committee chair in the forefront, they increased the rate of party dues collection to the 80% level from the previous 50% level. Thanks also to an effort to boost collection of Akahata subscription fees and fundraising activities, the finance of the district committee steadily turned into the black. Eventually, the district finance improved to the degree that it became possible to hire one and a half additional full-timers.
Whether we resign ourselves to allow the economic difficulties to decrease the number of full-timers or we gather the courage to pump up our financial situation to hire more full-time workers creates the turning point. Learning from this committee's experience, let us step up our efforts to reinforce the structures of party bodies led by full-time standing committee members. We should also continue to strengthen on-going efforts to establish auxiliary bodies in target municipalities by bringing together part-time staff members in order to support district committee activities.
The Central Committee's 10th Plenum approved the disciplinary commission's report for the 25th Congress period. It stated that a small number of party members deeply undermined the public trust in the party by their unethical behavior related to social moral decline in various aspects.
As the draft resolution states, the public trust in the party is deepened not only through the party's policies and ideas but also through the lifestyle and behavior of each party member.
To enlist the majority of the Japanese public in the effort to change Japan in a progressive way, we have to proudly present a party that respects civic morals and social ethics based on the spirit of our party constitution.
To bring about a full-fledged advance in this decade that will pave the way to a democratic coalition government, we must achieve our 2 goals in party-building, i.e. doubling the party strength and enabling the generational succession of party organizations. These are fundamental preconditions to achieve our future advance.
We are the party of pioneers. Party building is the most difficult task among all the party activities. However, this difficulty is worth tackling headon and worth overcoming with confidence. Let us together take on the task to build a stronger and bigger party with a pioneering spirit to advance the establishment of a democratic coalition government.
Lastly, I report on Part 6 of the draft resolution.
Part 6 clarifies how we view the countries presently aiming to establish socialism and how our advance towards a socialist Japan will open up new possibilities. In the inner-party discussions, the topic of Part 6 has been warmly welcomed and enthusiastically discussed.
I'd like to comment on several questions that have been raised in discussions.
First of all, I would like to point out that the resolution's evaluation of China, Vietnam, and Cuba, consider that these countries have not yet "reached socialism" but are currently "aiming for socialism" or have begun on renewed quests for socialism.
In the inner party discussions, some comrades have argued that these countries do not deserve to be called "countries aiming for socialism" or "countries beginning on a new quest for socialism."
I would like to make three points regarding this question.
The first point is that our evaluation of these countries as "countries beginning on a new quest for socialism" as stated in our party program is based on the JCP's independent judgement. When we evaluate those countries, what counts most is whether their leaderships are sincere in pursuing a course with socialism in mind as an ultimate goal.
However, we do not live in these countries so it is difficult to make judgements on the information that is available. We can only measure their leadership's sincerity in this regard through those countries' foreign relations and external behavior. We can only form a judgement based on our diplomatic contacts with leaders of these countries and on their foreign policies and behavior.
It is through our overall contacts and analyses that we consider those countries to be beginning on a new quest for socialism.
The second point is that even though we hope their quest for socialism will be successful, we don't have an overly optimistic and fixed view on their future course of their "renewed quests for socialism."
The draft resolution states that China "is currently tasked with building a developed economy as a foundation for socialism before it enters a socialist stage" and candidly points out the following:
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 third point is that the JCP has been explaining to the leadership of those countries directly and frankly our views regarding their unresolved "social and economic problems" while strictly abiding by the principle of non-interference into the internal affairs of other countries.
We have straightforwardly told the Chinese Party about our opinions on their political system, the anti-Japan demonstrations, the Tibet issue, the Senkaku islands issue, and China's Air Defense Identification Zone.
We have also told the Vietnamese party our opinions on their political system, the planned nuclear power plant technology import from Japan, and the TPP question.
There are no political parties in Japan that have ever pointed out these problems frankly and directly to those countries in a principled and non-confrontational manner. Some parties in Japan are just making bellicose statements without engaging with the leaders of those countries; only the JCP has been raising these issues face to face with those in positions of leadership in China and Vietnam.
This is how we utilize the independent spirit which the JCP has maintained for the past 50 years.
The next point I would like to report on is about the possibilities of a future society in Japan outlined in the draft resolution.
The draft resolution makes it clear that when we advance towards a socialist Japan, our given social conditions will open up grand possibilities based on advanced economic strength and the great achievement in regard to the freedom of the people and the democratic political system guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution.
Scientific socialism is not about drawing a detailed blueprint for future societies. However, it is possible to show people the potential a socialistic society will have compared to the current state of our capitalistic society. And this task is very important.
In this regard, I would like to call your attention to this passage in the draft resolution which states, "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." The draft resolution also points out that socialistic reforms will ultimately eliminate exploitation as well as the wasteful components of the current capitalist economy.
Marx himself sharply criticized this squandering nature of capitalism in Das Kapital:
"The capitalist mode of production, while it enforces economy in each individual business, also begets, by its anarchic system of competition, the most outrageous squandering of labor-power and of the social means of production, not to mention the creation of a vast number of functions at present indispensable, but in themselves superfluous." (Book I, Das Kapital)
"More than any other mode of production, it [capitalism] squanders human lives, or living labor, and not only blood and flesh, but also nerve and brain." (Book III, ibid.)
When Marx expounded that capitalism outrageously squanders "labor-power and the social means of production" as well as "human lives, or living labor, and not only blood and flesh, but also nerve and brain," it sounds as if he was accusing the current form of Japanese capitalism in which workers are treated as disposable commodities and abused both physically and mentally by prolonged and intensive work under unstable employment conditions. I strongly believe, if such squandering of people is eliminated, then you will have grand possibilities of great development of the society and economy.
I would also like to draw your attention to Marx pointing to capitalism's "vast number of functions at present indispensable, but in themselves superfluous." Such wasteful functions would certainly include the contemporary mass production, mass consumption and mass disposal economies and the extremely bloated finance economy as described in the draft resolution.
Under the current form of capitalism, new products are coming out continuously while old ones soon become outdated with obsolescence, compelling consumers to buy new products one after another. A profit-first capitalistic society has created this mass production, mass consumption and mass disposal phenomenon. If we can get rid of such waste, we will have plenty of resources that can be used in a more effective and humane way.
Under the current global capitalism, the size of the bloated global financial economy is now 3 times bigger than that of the real economy (the sum of nominal GDP of all nations). A significant portion of financial capital is thought to be piled up as surplus money that is unnecessary for the growth of the real economy. This excessive money has now turned into speculative money that has been disrupting the real economy and damaging peoples' living standards. This results in devastating consequences including currency volatilities, price rise of oil and grains, and stock markets dominated by short-term speculative activities, which drive companies to scramble for cost-cuts and down-sizing to increase their share prices. If such waste caused by speculation is eliminated, people in the world will be far better off.
A future society will eliminate such wasteful components inherent in the current capitalist economy, including the problems mentioned above. That will enable the Japanese economy, even with its present strength, to ensure the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living to all Japanese citizens, and to realize significantly shorter working hours. And that 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.
Let us vigorously engage the public in discussions about the grand possibilities of a future society based on socialist principles in stark contrast to the current capitalistic society.
Finally, I would like to conclude my report by quoting the following passage from the draft resolution.
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!
This is the end of the report on behalf of the Central Committee.