Sekiguchi Takao; Shoji Shojiro: We would like to present you our best wishes for the new year.
Fuwa: Happy new year.
Sekiguchi: It may be appropriate for us at the start of the new year to talk first about the present century on a global scale. I will be the main interviewer for the first half, and Shoji Shojiro for the second half of this interview.<<top
Sekiguchi: The first year of the 21st century was very eventful. I think the 21st century is being discussed from different angles in relation to these events. Do you have any comment to make on the past year?
Fuwa: The world in 2001experienced a number of sinister incidents and events, including international terrorist attacks and the retaliatory war at the international level, and at the national level, the Koizumi Cabinet's arrogance leading to a violation of the Constitution and imposition of hardships on the people. I know that this has made some people take a pessimistic view of the 21st century, but I believe it necessary to try to maintain a long-range view when considering the present century.
You certainly remember there were a variety of arguments about the 20th century. Since the last century experienced two world wars as well as fascism and militarism, some tried to depict as an historical period full of adversity. However, if you take into account the full historical aspects of the century, you will find that in no previous periods have the principles of people's sovereignty and democracy been developed as such on a global scale. The same applies to basic human rights, including the right to livelihood which came to be widely accepted. Equally, the principles of the right of every nation to self-determination, national sovereignty, and independence were recognized as the world's common fundamental principles. I think all this shows that the 20th century should be a period that goes down in history as a century of hope.
I also hope that the 20th century will be remembered as a century that put an end to world war once and for all. Of course, this will depend on our own continuing efforts.
So in envisioning the 21st century, we should maintain a long-range and broad perspective, instead of just paying attention to what's happening at present.
To do this, it would be appropriate to start with comparing the beginning of the 21st century to that of the last century. It will unmistakably help you to make your outlook for the future as clear as the blue sky.
Sekiguchi: Last year, we held the Akahata Festival for the first time in three years. I had the honor to head the organizing committee of the 37th Akahata Festival.
One of the new programs we presented in the festival was a discussion with Chair Fuwa. It was very successful. Chair Fuwa's talk was entitled, "The 21st Century and Scientific Vision." I think that the phrase, "Look at the world and Japan with scientific vision," really set the tone of the 37th Akahata Festival. I gather that what you wanted to say was that a scientific vision will enable us to see the current century very clearly.
Fuwa: That's correct. At the Akahata Festival, I began my talk on "scientific vision" by referring to NHK TV special programs to explain discoveries in science of the 15 billion year history of the universe and the existence of human beings in the universe.
What we now call "scientific vision" was actually developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th century, whose point of departure was materialism and dialectics. Materialism and dialectics is based on what they achieved in studies of human society and its history. It was also significant as a summary of the development achieved in natural science during the period that Marx and Engels lived.
The world ushered in the 20th century after the era of Marx and Engels. Did "scientific vision" they developed exert its power? No, things were not that simple.
First, let's look at the understanding of nature. The beginning of the 20th century in many ways was a major turning point in the development of natural science. However, things evolved in a very complex way. For example, the dramatic development of physics has discovered what used to be invisible in the material world. The laws of physics discovered by the scientist Isaac Newton, which had been regarded as immovable laws, became invalid. This threw the scientific community into major confusion over how to understand the nature. It became fashionable to argue that "matter has disappeared" or that "natural science can deal only with phenomena; it cannot understand the substance."
To begin with, natural science is based on materialism, regardless of its perception. However, as it ran into new problems that denied the old theoretical framework, a kind of crisis occurred in the front line of natural science.
Looking back over the years, Dr. Sakata Shoichi, a physicist, stated that only Vladimir I. Lenin could expound on the crisis of physics at the time and precisely show how to solve it. Lenin was not a student of natural science, but in his "Materialism and Empirio-Criticism" (published in 1909), he criticized the philosophical confusion of the times, discussing and analyzing the crisis of physics in depth as one of the underlying causes of that confusion. It was so pertinent a critique that it impressed Dr. Sakata, who pioneered the theory of elementary particles. It really was a relevant illustration of the power of "scientific vision" called materialism and dialectics. However, that way of thinking was not shared immediately among students of the natural science community of the time.
Today, more than 100 years later, at the beginning of the 21st century, things are totally different in the community of natural science. In my lecture on scientific socialism at the JCP Central School in January last year and in my talk on "scientific vision" at the Akahata Festival, I have always referred to the most advanced stage of development ever achieved by natural science. An overwhelming majority of scientists who are engaged in the exploration of nature in whatever field, whether they say they are materialist or not, are convinced that every movement in the world can be explained by its material elements and movements, including activities of consciousness and the thinking of human beings.
Sekiguchi: I see.
Fuwa: One of the cruxes of dialectics is its way of understanding things. In dialectics, one does not see things within a fixed framework but as they are with flexibility in light of facts. Without such flexibility, you'll not be able to understand nature in any field. It would be correct to say that dialectics serves as a natural scientific approach to nature.
In this respect, present-day developments can be seen in sharp contrast with the early 20th century which started amid chaos. I think that the "scientific vision" developed in the 19th century by Marx and Engels is now a common asset of the natural science community.
Shoji: I was listening to your talk at the Akahata Festival as a reporter. I was impressed to see many people surprised to learn that the elements that make up the human body came into existence as part of the history of the universe. A materialistic view or scientific vision will enable us to have a positive outlook of the future, even in the present chaotic world.
Sekiguchi: Let us now look at social affairs. What can you tell us about social changes as seen with the "scientific vision" ?
Fuwa: The 20th century began in a situation that was also quite complex in the social aspect.
Marx and Engels applied "scientific vision" to their analysis of capitalist society and they arrived at the conclusion that capitalist society was not the final stage of human society. They found that its economic system won't last forever but will some day be overcome by a higher form of society. That was in the middle of the 19th century. Toward the end of the 19th century, contradictions of capitalist society were already sharpening, and they came to believe that socialism was around the corner. For example, Engels in the 1890s was counting down the days to the establishment of a socialist government.
But that didn't happen. With the beginning of the 20th century, capitalism ushered in a new era of monopoly capitalism. In terms of productive forces, the steam engine was replaced by electric power, and the world rushed into an era of imperialism in which the major capitalist countries came to grips with the whole of the globe.
The era of imperialism produced many evils, including colonization, world wars and fascism, but materially speaking, it was an era when capitalism marked an era of upswing, in particular in terms of material production.
In preparing a booklet of my lecture at the Akahata Festival, I made a graph to show the world's energy consumption. The energy consumed annually by the world at the beginning of the 20th century was estimated at 600 million tons, but at the end of the 20th century there was a steep increase and the number reached 8.3 billion tons in 1997. The 20th century saw a rapid economic growth never experienced before. In that sense, capitalism did not reach an impasse in the 20th century as had been predicted in the late 19th century, it instead marked a century of tremendous economic development.
The 20th century is gone, and capitalism is a contradiction literally on a global scale and I think that at the beginning of the 21st century, the contradiction is being felt in many ways.
Production for Production
Rapid Increases in World Energy Consumption
Breakdown of energy consumption in 1997
Note: Energy consumption levels are from the U.S. Oak Ridge National
Fuwa: Those who defended capitalism rejoiced at the collapse of the Soviet Union 10 years ago, describing it as an end of communism and a victory of capitalism. However, even those same people are unable to get rid of the fear that "what would come next might be the collapse of capitalism." Today, 10 years later, this fear is present more extensively.
I am very impressed by the declaration from an international conference held in Inchon, South Korea, in late last November on Northeast Asia Intellectuals' Solidarity (NAIS). The conference brought together influential intellectuals from South Korea, China, and Japan. Yasuo Ogata, head of JCP International Department (House of Councilors member) was invited to attend that forum. He gave me a detailed report on what happened there.
The conference issued a document called the "Inchon Declaration 2001" which sets forward a very interesting view.
On the 20th century it states:
"The 20th century, which witnessed the constructive power of the human race through two World Wars and experienced the trials and errors of ideology through the collapse of the Soviet Union, was also the century in which material civilization spread globally with increasing economic power. "
Isn't it fascinating to know that the declaration defines the "collapse of the Soviet Union" as "trials and errors of ideology" instead of a "victory of capitalism," while stating that the 20th century was a "century in which material civilization spread globally with increasing economic power." Thus, the authors distance themselves from the trend.
Also noteworthy is that the declaration talks about the 21st century after discussing the 20th century, which I have just quoted. It states: "The 21st century is a century of globalization, information, and the accelerated development of post-capitalist society..." In addition to a general definition of globalization and knowledge informatization, the declaration also makes the point that a "post-capitalist" system will be accelerated. Although the declaration does not go so far as to discuss the type of society that will come after capitalism, intellectuals from South Korea, China, and Japan declared they all believe that a socio-economic system different from capitalism will be on the agenda in the 21st century.
I think that this essentially shows how people in different countries hope the 21st century to be and how they view the present-day world .
It may be appropriate to say that there is a feeling that the new century will make history in a way that is different from the 20 century.
Sekiguchi: Ogata said he had been specifically invited to speak to the conference as an "unusual guest."
Fuwa: The main participants at the conference were South Korean intellectuals. His description of the atmosphere at the conference made me feel that these intellectuals, through their long-standing exchanges with different circles of Japanese people, came to show their interest and expectations for the Japanese Communist Party. It in fact was their first direct contact with the JCP, so they may have aspects that are unknown to them about the JCP.<<top
Sekiguchi: Let us talk about the present issues. Last year's biggest event in world politics was the simultaneous terrorist attacks on the United States last September. One month later, the Bush administration launched a retaliatory war against targets in Afghanistan. I think the shock wave of the war has spread the world over. Could you tell us how you see the present situation in this regard?
Fuwa: Last year's incidents of international terrorism raised the question
of how the world should deal with terrorism.
We immediately warned the world not to go to war against the terrorists, emphasizing that it is inadmissible to try to capture the terror suspects by actions that will sacrifice innocent citizens. That said, we proposed that the international community try to eradicate international terrorism through U.N.-led measures and actions to isolate the terrorists everywhere using international opinion and politics and bring the suspects to justice in a reasoned manner and in conformity with international law.
But the United States chose to launch a retaliatory war. It is already three months since the war began. I think that the consequences have shown that the war has been a major terrible mistake and proved clearly that our proposal was appropriate.
Has the retaliatory war achieved the stated objective of combating terrorism? The United States declared that the major objective of the war is to capture the terrorist suspects. In Japan, every time we in parliament pointed out that it was a big mistake and insisted on the importance of bringing the suspects to justice, Prime Minister Koizumi got furious, saying, "The suspects could not be arrested without using force."
In the three months of war, the Taliban regime was overthrown, but no one can tell whether the terrorists will be brought to justice. The eradication of international terrorism? It's far from being accomplished. In fact, there is a widespread fear throughout the world that the violence of the retaliatory war might have helped to extend and buttress the cause of terrorism.
We emphasized that war may be able to overthrow a regime but not eliminate terrorism, and this has been confirmed by the actual developments.
Without the proclaimed objective of the struggle against terrorism being achieved, the world is suffering immeasurable damage as a result of the retaliatory war.
Fuwa: I think it's important to recognize that three areas have been heavily damaged.
First and foremost, the damage caused to the people of Afghanistan.
Shoji: That was the most heartbreaking thing for many people throughout the world.
Fuwa: The thing is that great damage is being caused to the people of Afghanistan, who are not at all responsible for the terrorist attacks on the United States.
Mark Herold, professor at the University of New Hampshire in the United States recently published a report estimating the level of civilian casualties caused by U.S.-led air strikes against Afghanistan (see the December 25, 2001 issue of the daily Akahata). Based on corroborated reports from aid agencies, the U.N., eyewitnesses, and the media, he estimates that at least 3,767 civilians were killed by U.S. bombs between October 7, when air strikes began, and December 6.
Afghan people are suffering from more damages from the air strikes. And damage is not just caused by air strikes. The U.S. forces have used Afghanistan as a test site for various atrocious weapons. We in parliament revealed that the cluster bomb that releases more than 200 smaller bombs is being used. Those smaller bombs remain active on the ground like small landmines and are killing many children. It is precisely a weapon of mass destruction, and international organizations such as the "Diana Memorial Fund" and the "Landmine Action" which are working for the removal and abolition of landmines as well as the International Red Cross Committee are raising their voices calling for a ban on the use of cluster bombs. All this shows that the on-going war is being pursued in defiance of world opinion against the use of such brutal weapons.
In addition to these direct damages from the war, we must pay attention to another problem, the humanitarian crisis. Afghan has been plagued with aggression and civil war for many years. The suffering of the Afghan people has reached the limit of their endurance. Many international agencies have extended emergency assistance in many ways, including food and water supplies, medical treatment, and the removal of landmines. But the war has interrupted these aid activities and even undermined all that has been achieved, including landmine removal, thus exacerbating the hardships. Many now warn that the lives of several millions of people are at risk.
Who on earth has the right to cause such suffering to the people of another country? This has been called into question in the present retaliatory war.
I know that some say: "Now that a new regime has replaced the Taliban regime, the Afghan people can feel secure," but a serious question remains.
In short, the United States intervened in the civil wars in support of one of the various armed groups which have been fighting against each other. For the United States and its supporter countries, any one of them was good if it was anti-Taliban; none of these foreign forces have closely examined what the armed groups have done so far in Afghanistan. Nor have the people of Afghanistan decided on a government they want to establish. What happened was that they bring together the anti-Taliban groups and help them establish a coalition government with the aim of facilitating a military campaign for overthrowing the Taliban regime. So no one is sure if the established government will implement policies that will truly benefit the Afghan people.
Shoji: Some people have pointed out that these forces in the coalition include those with political records that are far worse than that of the Taliban.
Fuwa: In fact, there is the allegation that prisoners of war were massacred.
Sekiguchi: It is reported that a considerable number of prisoners of war have been killed following the victory of the Northern Alliance.
Fuwa: That is not just a matter of media reports. The International Red Cross Committee, Amnesty International, the International League for Human Rights, and other international human rights organizations are demanding that these allegations be investigated and that necessary steps be taken. Clearly, some developments under those forces that make up the new regime make us apprehensive about the future.
In my view, we need to develop effective international opinion and movements to protect the lives, livelihoods, and basic rights of the Afghan people from the retaliatory war that causes so much suffering to them.
Sekiguchi: I agree.
Fuwa: Secondly, the Palestinian-Israeli peace process is on the verge of collapse. The question of Palestine emerged soon after World War II. The United Nations adopted a framework allowing the Palestinian state and the Israeli state to coexist, but it was never implemented. After four Middle East wars, Israel occupied the areas declared by the U.N. as Palestinian territory. Since then, the armed conflict has continued endlessly between the Palestinian liberation forces and Israel. In 1993, the "Oslo Accords" marked a modest first step towards establishing an order of peace in the region. The world breathed a sigh of relief because it appeared that the path toward peace was open.
Two years later, however, a cycle of terrorist attacks by Palestinians and military retaliation by Israel was reproduced. Things went from bad to worse when the Israeli government's intention to renege on the "Oslo Accords" became apparent. It was precisely in the middle of this critical situation that terrorist attacks occurred, followed by a retaliatory war. Taking advantage of this development, the Israeli government embarked on the worst kind of retaliatory attacks.
Complaining that acts of terrorism by Palestinians remain unfettered and that Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat does not take necessary steps to crack down on terrorists, the Israeli government blamed the Palestinian Authority for "defending terrorism." Announcing that Israel would no longer talk with Arafat, it has launched attacks on all areas under control of the Palestinian Authority and gone so far as to occupy these areas militarily.
We have long stood firmly against terrorism and military retaliation. This position of ours remains unchanged. The Israeli government's military retaliation can never be justified because of the presence of terrorists on the side of Palestinians. I think that these acts of Israel reflect the strong will of this country to make the Oslo Accords a dead letter in order to put these areas under its control.
This is tantamount to threatening to drag the Middle East region into a renewed war despite a ray of hope for peace appearing in the region after a half century of conflicts.
More recently, the Palestine Authority and the Israeli government are reportedly moving toward resuming talks. But nevertheless, the situation remains unpredictable and no one can tell what's going to happen.
Sekiguchi: What is your view on the connection between the outrageous actions by Israel and the U.S. retaliatory war?
Fuwa: The reason Israel gives for its action is the same as what the U.S. used to justify its war of retaliation: "Any means are allowed in the fight against terrorism." Israeli has said that it recognizes the Arafat government as a 'defender of terrorist forces' and therefore it has the right to decide how to destroy them," meaning that Israel is following the example of the United States.
The question of Palestine has been the crux of the antagonisms between Israel and the United States on the one hand, and the Islamic world that includes Arab countries on the other. It has also been referred to as one of the major "hotbeds" of international terrorism.
If the Israeli government is allowed to use the U.S. logic justifying the retaliatory war for scrapping the "Oslo Accords" and trigger another Middle East war, the whole world will be seriously affected.
Sekiguchi: That is also a point that calls for our close attention, isn't it?
Fuwa: The third point is that the United States is apparently pulling out all the stops in its pursuit of hegemony because it has embarked on a war of retaliation.
The United States tried to justify its retaliatory strikes against targets in Afghanistan as a war in "self-defense," but it turned out to be a wrong action that has no legal grounds. Realizing that this was not what had been expected, the United States began to expand the war objectives; it is now without scruples in discussing plans to launch a new war aimed at overthrowing governments which the United States does not like. In fact, key U.S. administration and military officials cite such countries as Iraq and Somalia as possible next targets of air strikes. In the case of Iraq, connections with suspect Osama bin Laden cannot be used to justify U.S. military attacks, they are using the danger of Iraq's nuclear weapon development as the pretext. And for Somalia, they may say that there used to be an Al-Qaida base in that country.
This means that the U.S. government's identification of any country as an enemy of peace would be enough for Washington to declare war on that country on its own. This is nothing but an attempt to put the whole world under U.S. hegemony, thus replacing the present international order that has been built upon international consensus with an order sanctioned by hegemony.
Moreover, in international politics, the United States has unilaterally announced its withdrawal from major international agreements in the name of national interests. The U.S. government is increasingly straightforward in behaving that way. It has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-ban Treaty (CTBT) which was concluded in response to the world's expectations; it is unilaterally pushing ahead with the development and implementation of a missile defense system by breaking away from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty which the United States regards as an obstacle to the missile defense system development. This tendency is likely to increase in many other areas.
In the Afghan war, some observers said that the United States replaced its unilateralism with internationalism because it needed cooperation and support from other countries. But what actually happened was the opposite. U.S. Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton was very clear about this point when he flatly denied the validity of such an observation in an interview (published in the December 23 issue of the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper), on the grounds that the United States only takes into account U.S. national interests.
It would be correct to say that the U.S. policy is one of placing U.S. national interests above anything else and what may be described as US-centrism that regards the world as revolving around the United States. Its visibility is now increasing unfettered.
I have discussed the problem from these three standpoints. And I believe that even in these three areas alone, the damage inflicted to the world by the war of retaliation is immeasurable.
The retaliatory war is not over yet. President Bush says he does not know how many more years it will take before it ends. But I think the balance sheet of the past three months is more than enough to show how wrong and harmful it is to resort to retaliatory war as a means of combating international terrorism.
Fuwa: I think we have two aspects to look at in considering this issue.
First, we need to look at the present stage of development of U.S. hegemony so that everyone can accurately understand its danger and appropriately criticize or condemn it in appropriate terms.
Militarily, the biggest problem is that the U.S. strategy of seeking hegemony, even at the cost of the national sovereign rights of other countries, is expanding extraordinarily.
In 1999, when the laws for the implementation of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (War Laws) were enacted, NATO adopted action guidelines billed as a new "strategic concept." It declared that NATO will not come under U.N. command and that the alliance may launch interventionist war upon approval from the United States and NATO even without United Nations authorization, which is a flagrant challenge to the U.N.-led international order. The crux of NATO's new strategic concept can be summarized as an overt plan that allows the U.S.-led alliance to disregard the United Nations when it takes military actions necessary to defend U.S. interests, a top priority task.
Fuwa: At the time, Washington took another important decision that was first put forward in the annual "Report of Defense Secretary" in 1998 and 1999 that includes the following points:
- Military invasion abroad needs adequate military bases. It requires the cooperation of governments concerned, but in some cases such cooperation cannot be expected.
- The United States must go into foreign lands and establish a military stronghold there even without the cooperation of the local government. It is necessary to have the ability to carry out "forcible entry" to ensure such operations.
Sekiguchi: "Forcible entry" operations?
Fuwa: Yes. The idea is this: The United States is the world policeman responsible for the security of the entire world; it must be able to respond to any regional contingencies throughout the world; in regions where the United States has no military alliance or military bases for U.S. forces to use as their footholds, it is necessary to construct bases by directly sending in U.S. troops in order to thwart opposition from the government of the country.
Shoji: That was under the Clinton administration, wasn't it?
Fuwa: The U.S. Department of Defense published the "Quadrennial Defense Review" on September 30, shortly after the international terrorist attack in New York. It places even greater emphasis on "forcible entry" as one of the pillars of U.S. military strategy.
Analyzing the present state of affairs in the background of this strategy, the report said that although the United States has interests everywhere in the world, its military bases only exist in Western Europe and Northeast Asia, which is inadequate in the "new security environment" in which threats can emerge in any part of the world.
It said that "forcible entry" operations are necessary to overcome this problem by seizing and holding a military presence in the face of the region's government obstructing U.S. military deployment or lacking the capacity to take responsibility. The forcible entry operation will allow U.S. forces to construct necessary bases by disregarding the local government's protests by removing obstructions by force.
In other words, the United States has come to assert its hegemony to a carry out war whenever it believes necessary even without a U.N. decision, and try to construct its military bases in foreign countries even without the consent of the local governments. All this is part of the established military policy of the United States.
There has never been such a flagrant disregard of the U.N. Charter or international law in the history of U.S. military strategy, including the period of "U.S.-Soviet confrontation." It is important to be aware of this dangerous development of U.S. hegemony in the military aspect, and criticize or denounce it.
Japan serves as the largest U.S. military base in Northeast Asia. The greater part of the U.S. military strategy is carried out with Japan as its foothold, which makes our international responsibility particularly important.
Sekiguchi: I see. Now, what is the other aspect?
Fuwa: It's about the outlook of the present-day world in relation to the U.S. hegemony taking shape. Is U.S. military-political strategy accepted without any problem in today's world? Absolutely not. This is precisely what we must understand about the present-day world.
In the present struggle against terrorist attacks, the world's nations have
found it difficult to take issue with what the United States is doing simply
because New York was a target and the United Sates was the victim. But, if the
United States, taking advantage of the momentum it gained in the retaliatory
war, tries to expand the war beyond Afghanistan, will the rest of the world
be likely to follow suit? That is not what we expect to happen in the 21st century
world. I think we must understand this point.
The point is that we should keep two aspects in our mind: the present danger of U.S. hegemony and a historical outlook on the changing 21st century world.
I know there are pessimistic views about the world being dominated by the United States which asserts its hegemony and shatters hopes for a bright future in the 21st century. Such pessimism is not totally baseless, but at the same time, we cannot fulfill our responsibility for maintaining the world peace if we optimistically underestimate the threats of hegemony, assuming that no serious consequences will come out of the high-handed statements being made by senior U.S. government officials. We must look at both aspects in order to understand the direction of international efforts, activities, and struggles against hegemonism.
Sekiguchi: There are discrepancies among the governments siding with the United States in the retaliatory war. Specific ways of support for the war vary even among NATO members. Opposition persists to expanding the war beyond Afghanistan, as is voiced by a number of countries, including even Britain. Figures from a Gallup survey in several countries did not show that the public is in favor of the Bush administration's open-ended war.
Fuwa: In the period of "U.S.-Soviet confrontation," the Western nations were compelled to maintain their unity with the United States at its center. Under those circumstances, the alliance's support for any open-ended actions by the United States were taken for granted. The Soviet Union is gone and the United States now stands out as the only super power in the rest of the world. Does this mean that this unity of the Western nations has got stronger? Apparently, the United States assumes so in developing its strategy, but that is not the reality.
Recently, figures from a survey caught my eye. That was a poll of the world's 275 opinion leaders who are influential people in politics, media, business, culture and government. It's interesting to note that U.S. respondents and non-U.S. respondents were starkly divided over the terrorist attacks and the retaliatory war.
Asked if many or most ordinary people consider U.S. policies to be a major cause of the Sep. 11 attacks, 18 percent of respondents from the United States said yes, and in the rest of the world, 58 percent answered yes.
While not a single American respondent believed the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan would be widely considered as an overreaction, 42 percent of non-Americans saw them as such, and 62 percent in Islamic countries.
Asked if the United States is taking into account its partners' interests in the fight against terrorism or acting mainly on its own interests, 70 percent of American respondents said it is taking into account its partners' interests, while 62 percent of those surveyed abroad answered the opposite.
In the international political arena, many countries are apparently taking sides with the United States, but there is a sharp discrepancy, or a crack, between American and non-American opinion leaders. I think these are interesting statistics that indicate an aspect of division in the present-day world.
Shoji: They really are.
Fuwa: These figures show that radical changes are under way in the political structure or political alignment of the world.
Even among the western nations that are playing various roles in assisting the U.S. retaliatory war, the forms and levels of their cooperation vary. No government in the world, except the Koizumi Cabinet, is acting only to show its loyalty to the United States.
Equally, Washington's suggestion that the war should be expanded to Iraq would face negative reactions from Britain, France, and Germany. Objections from Islamic nations were particularly vociferous.
What underlies these reactions is public opinion in these countries as expressed in poll which I have just referred to. European media criticisms of the actions and policies of the U.S. government were very severe. This is why any U.S. attempt to wield its hegemony to expand the war beyond Afghanistan may find those governments' reluctance to follow suit.
We are in a new era in which the Western allies are beginning to assert their independence in pursuit of their national interests. This is a clear departure from the era of "U.S.-Soviet confrontation"that marked the 20th century.
Sekiguchi: What do you think about the developments in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa?
Fuwa: On the issue of the anti-terrorism war, many nations in these regions have expressed their opinions more clearly than NATO nations at every turn of the situation.
In the present-day world, it is impressive to see that the nonaligned countries - mainly countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America - are exerting a greater influence on international politics.
One clear example is a U.N. General Assembly resolution two years ago.
The western nuclear powers used to try to hold back the movement toward the elimination of nuclear weapons by arguing for the "ultimate elimination" of nuclear weapons. In Japan, the government says it will make efforts as the government of the only atomic-bombed country to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons, but never fails to add the word "ultimate" to the "elimination."
Even the nuclear powers cannot openly oppose the elimination of nuclear weapons, so they use the prefix "ultimate" to imply that they are in favor of the elimination of nuclear weapons if it happens in a far distant future, but that should not happen now. The Japanese government has persistently used this tricky argument in the international political arena.
But the use of the term "ultimate elimination" crumbled in the U.N. General Assembly two years ago. The United States was compelled to agree with removing the word "ultimate" from "elimination of nuclear arsenals" at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in April and May 2000 that preceded the U.N. General Assembly, when it was unable to reject the argument by the nonaligned nations and other groups of nations calling for nuclear weapons abolition, including the "New Agenda Coalition" (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Sweden, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the NPT Review Conference, all countries, including the United States, endorsed a final document that declared the "unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals." Later, at the U.N. General Assembly, a "New Agenda Coalition"-proposed resolution reconfirming the NPT Review Conference Final Document was adopted by an overwhelming majority. This is how the position of postponing nuclear weapons elimination until the distant future was rejected and the position of seeking to make it an urgent task of the world was recognized.
In the JCP 22nd Congress Resolution and Central Committee Report in November 1999, we emphasized the significance of the resolutions of the NPT Review Conference and the U.N. General Assembly. What we said was that these resolutions show that after many twists and turns, the movements of the nonaligned nations and the "New Agenda Coalition" were powerful enough to contain the resistance of the United States and other western nuclear powers and make them accept the reasonable argument for the elimination of the nuclear weapons in the international political arena. This clearly shows a major change taking place forecasting a new international political alignment in the 21st century.
Shoji: What did representatives of the government of Japan, the atomic-bombed country, do in those circumstances?
Fuwa: It's truly a shame that Japanese representatives to the NPT Review Conference persisted in calling for the "ultimate elimination" of nuclear weapons. But the United States could no longer defend its position and threw out the term "ultimate." This made Japanese delegates deeply ashamed, saying, "We have been deserted in the battle field." They were helpless.
The story did not end there. Last year, the Japanese government submitted a draft resolution on the issue of nuclear weapons to the U.N. General Assembly. It was adopted by a majority, but the "New Agenda Coalition" nations opted to abstain because the resolution would virtually allow nuclear weapons countries to backpedal on the promise that their nuclear arsenals will be eliminated, a promise reconfirmed by the U.N. General Assembly the previous year. It is outrageous that the Japanese government is trying to push back the international current into calling for the "ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons" in spite of the progress made so far, thus showing its blind loyalty to the United States.
What's more, the United States opposed the Japanese draft on the grounds that it includes a clause expressing approval of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The Japanese government thus found itself embarrassed when its loyalty to Washington was called into question.
The 21st century will certainly see the international current in favor of nuclear weapons abolition grow even stronger. It is necessary for the Japanese people to keep in mind the emerging international political alignment that will not allow the United States to force the world's nations to accept its hegemony. We should break away from the irresponsible attitude of following U.S. hegemony and stand in the forefront of the international movement for world peace to be established in opposition to hegemony.
Sekiguchi: After the terrorist attacks and the retaliatory war, the adverse current represented by U.S. hegemony is flagrant indeed. What you are saying is that hegemony may gain impetus temporarily, but that hegemony will not be able to dominate a course for the world because the currents that resist and restrain it will keep growing.
Shoji: We discussed the "Northeast Asia International Conference." Professor Chi Myong-Kwan (director of the Hallym University Institute of Japanese Studies), who is one of the senior advisors to the NAIS, gave an interview to the Japanese monthly magazine "Sekai" (World). In the interview published in the January issue of the magazine, he argued that real 'power' takes 'virtue,' adding that without virtue, power will be no more than a violence. Pointing out that the United States uses state-of-the-art weapons to carry out air strikes or intimidations wherever it wants to, he stated: "The United States is no longer a country that can earn trust for its spiritual elements; it is only feared for its military power. This signifies the beginning of the fall of U.S. unipolar domination or hegemony.
In a really Korean-style implicative description he meant to point out that highhanded approaches without any great cause are no longer accepted in today's world.
Fuwa: To borrow the words of Professor Chi Miyong-Kwan, the group of nonaligned countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America is much smaller than the major powers in terms of military and economic power. The GNP (Gross National Product) of Asia's 22 countries (including India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, but excluding Japan) combined is smaller than that of Japan alone, although they constitute a great force with a population of 3.2 billion.
Still, these countries are taking a very active part in international politics, upholding objectives consistent with international justice and world peace. This is what Professor Chi Myong-Kwan calls "virtue." This virtue had enough of an impact to break through the thick wall of U.S. government arrogance in tackling the elimination of nuclear weapons. The new world order is growing out of the old one. It is crucial for us to recognize this.
Sekiguchi: Let's change the subject. What will the world be like in the 21st century? What should we focus on? I think this is a matter of great interest for many at present.
Fuwa: U.S. hegemony is so flagrant that it is important that politically aware forces throughout the world stand up to fight the outrageous activities of hegemonism. This point was strongly emphasized at the JCP Congress two years ago.
Talking about our vision for a future world, I think we should devote our efforts to building an international order of peace pertinent to the 21st century.
Fuwa: Last October, in an interview with daily Asahi Shimbun entitled, "Have Terrorist Attacks Changed the World?" (English translation was published in a Japan Press Weekly Special Issue - December 2001), I made a two-point proposal.
One is the need to increase real efforts to build an international order of peace based on the U.N. Charter.
The U.N. Charter was produced to reflect the lessons of World War II, that there must be no more wars like the last world war. Unfortunately, international politics in the "U.S.-Soviet confrontation" era was manipulated by the calculations of these two superpowers, and for many years the U.N. Charter was far from being allowed to play an active role in establishing a peaceful world order. The Soviet Union is gone, but U.S. hegemony stands in the way toward establishing an international order guided by the U.N. Charter.
But we must not forget that the U.N. Charter is one of the most valuable legacies the 21st century has taken over from the previous century. So a major task in the 21st century is for us to let the U.N. Charter guide the real effort to establish a peaceful international order.
This does not mean, however, that the present United Nations has the capacity to perform the roles stipulated in the U.N. Charter. In dealing with the issue of the terrorist attacks and the retaliatory war, for instance, the United Nations was helpless to do anything to resist the retaliatory war, although there have been aspects that can be evaluated as an effort to respond to these developments in a reasoned manner based on international law.
The United Nations is an international assembly in which more than 180 nations
participate in serious discussions for peace. It also provides an arena
for common action for peace based on points agreed upon. The 21st century will be an era in which a major international movement or international common effort will emerge to realize the fundamental objectives: to allow the United Nations to use its capacity to defend peace in conformity with the U.N. Charter and to establish a U.N.-led international order.
Shoji: The other point you made in that interview was concerning the "peaceful co-existence of different cultures." It had an eye-opening impact.
Fuwa: The present-day world consists of nations with different cultural and economic values. Each country or nation has its own life style and cultural tradition and economic as well as political systems rooted in its history. People in each country explore and achieve their own way of social progress based on their historical gains. Human values that are shared universally may develop, but they must not be imposed from the outside.
In the past, however, it was often the case that western nations forced other people to unconditionally accept the "values" established in their societies on the grounds that the west represented the most advanced part of the world in economic terms. Behind this is the history of colonization carried out in many regions of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America by those monopoly capitalist countries.
The 21st century will be an era in which the world's nations will establish a single international community on an equal footing. In that sense, the major task in this century is for us to explore the path toward the peaceful co-existence of different cultures with different values.
That is what I have felt acutely through my visits to Asian countries. I have been prompted to make this proposal by the present issue of terrorist attacks and the retaliatory war, and the ominous phrase, "clash of civilizations."
I think it is increasingly important for all nations or ethnic groups to stop imposing their own cultures or economic and political systems upon others as supreme values and take the attitude of respecting each other's values. Today, coexistence with Islamic nations has become a major focus of attention, but such coexistence is very important everywhere in the present-day world.
Sekiguchi: The Islamic world has a population of 1.2 billion in 57 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, thus constituting a major part of the world.
Fuwa: Recently, a JCP research team visited Pakistan to conduct research on comprehensive problems, including the Afghan refugee problem. They received the cooperation of the Pakistani government in many ways. So, after their return home, Ogata Yasuo and other team members visited the Pakistani Embassy. At the embassy, coffee was served, but not for the ambassador. Asked for the reason, the ambassador replied that they were in Ramadan. Even those who work as diplomats in Japan observe Ramadan. This is how Islamic society practices cultural traditions.
Sekiguchi: I see.
Fuwa: Speaking of the "co-existence of different cultures," the capitalist world had a dramatic experience early in the 20th century. When the Socialist regime came into being in Russia in 1917, the immediate reaction the capitalist world showed was one of fervent rejection of any system other than capitalism in the world. And that feeling was translated into an interventionist war against Russia by 14 capitalist nations led by Winston Churchill of Britain, the aim being to destroy the socialist regime.
In Russia, Lenin had already developed the concept of "peaceful coexistence" with capitalist countries, but the capitalist world did not come to embrace the idea until the interventionist war ended in failure. In 1922, an international conference was held in Genoa to discuss the postwar reconstruction of Europe. Adopting the idea of "peaceful coexistence" with differing economic systems, the conference invited Socialist Russia to take part in the discussion. I think this is one of the important lessons we can learn from the 20th century.
I hope we can make use of this lessen to make the 21st century a century of progress in terms of the "peaceful coexistence" of cultures with different values.
Sekiguchi: Let us now talk about Japan. Recently, Newsweek magazine (Japanese edition, December 26 issue) carried a feature story entitled, "Time for Dependent Japan to Become 'Independent'." Make no mistake, the article was not about Japan "being independent." As indicated by the subtitle: "By dispatching the Self-Defense Forces abroad, Japan has again exposed its subservience to the United States.Will the day come when Japan overcomes inertia and becomes a respectable country?", the article was apparently appalled by Japan's extremely open submission to the Bush administration. In addition, the author was accompanied by a chronological review of Japan's "50 years fawning on the U.S."
Fuwa: I didn't know that Newsweek magazine carried such a feature story.
Sekiguchi: To curry favor with the Bush administration, Japan furiously cooperated with the U.S. retaliatory war, desperately trying to fly the Hinomaru flag in the Indian Ocean. The point is that such an attitude drew criticism even from the mainstream U.S. media.
Fuwa: Regarding criticism of Japan's cooperation with the retaliatory war, I have been following closely the press comments of South Korea, which are very severe.
The South Korean daily Joong-Ang Ilbo stated that Japan's neighboring countries can never just stand by and watch its intention of using the dispatch of SDF at this time as a decisive moment to become a military power. It went on to say: "We must send Japan a clear warning signal that Tokyo's attempt to revise its peace constitution and become a military power will hamper the stability and possible reconciliation in Asia."
Chosun Ilbo stated that the explanation that SDF activities abroad will be in support of military action against terrorism and that they will be outside combat areas "will not help absorb the shock on the sea change allowing the SDF to go abroad to support war. It also said: "Given Koizumi's historical outlook and understanding expressed during his recent Seoul visit, South Korea cannot but express its deep concern because it is the first and largest victim of Japanese militarism."
These comments, which came out in relation to the enactment of the law allowing Japan to take part in the on-going war, and their criticism was to the point. Some writers further argued for the Japan-South Korea relationship to be reconsidered. All this has come out along with such criticism from the U.S. press that you just mentioned.
Prime Minister Koizumi apparently thought that flying the Japanese flag in this war would help to raise Japan's international status. However, what the Koizumi government has done in support of the war made Japan look more threatening than ever to Asian countries. Even the mainstream U.S. media have become critical of Japan's submission to the United States. Thus, Koizumi only pleased President Bush, and only helped to downgrade Japan's standing in international politics.
Fuwa: In a broader perspective, the question will be: "Can LDP politics survive the 21st century?" Asahi Shimbun of December 27, 2001 carried a discussion by editorial staff members under the sensational title, "Is he going to be the last LDP premier?" This shows how serious the position of the LDP is.
Shoji: So the Koizumi Cabinet can be compared to the last Tokugawa Shogunate led by Tokugawa Yoshinobu.
Fuwa: I won't predict that the present prime minister will be the last LDP prime minister, but the fact is that LDP politics is boxed up.
Looking back on LDP politics in the 20th Century, I think the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in 1960 was a major turning point.
The LDP government at that point made the military alliance under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty a solid framework for foreign and military policies that force Japan into subordination, submission, and loyalty to the United States. Domestically, the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was followed by a series of policies that serve the best interests of large corporations at the cost of the people under the guise of a "high-rate growth" economic policy and an "income-doubling plan." Despite the many cabinet changes and occasional changes of policies, the main course of LDP politics remains unchanged.
The critical situation facing Japan today is a result of the many years of misgovernment by the LDP. I have just said what the consequences of its foreign and military policies are. Let us now look at issues on the domestic front. Over the last 40 years, the LDP has put into practice a formula which is based on the false notion that helping major corporations prosper is the only way to achieve Japan's development, a formula that forces the people into accepting cold-hearted politics. As a result, Japan has become a country without rules which are commonplace in Europe, rules for safeguarding the people's living standards and rights. Also, Japan's use of tax money is totally upside-down: social services get less than half the money for public works projects. This is where LDP politics now stands. Look at the deepening recession, declines in social services, rampant corporate restructuring in disregard of workers' right to live, the fiscal crisis worsening year after year. These are all products of distorted LDP politics.
Showing the way for Japanese society to turn, the Japanese Communist Party first set out the democratic objective of change in the JCP Program adopted by the JCP 8th Congress in 1961, one year after we waged a historic national struggle against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
The JCP is a political party that aims to achieve socialism and communism as higher stages of social development, but it is important to carry out changes step by step together with the people in accordance to what socialism calls for. This is the basic position we decided to follow when we adopted the JCP Program 40 years ago, setting out the basic objectives. For foreign relations, we call for an end to the Japan-U.S. military alliance and for an independent and neutral Japan. On the domestic front, we demand a change away from the economic policy which gives priority to the interests of large corporations to one of putting the people first. This is what we call democratic change within the framework of capitalism. We have held fast to this policy in our struggle against LDP politics. And in the 1990s, we formulated our policy proposal called "Remaking Japan."
In the course of this struggle, LDP policies have reached an impasse in all fields, diplomatic, military, and economic. This is the root cause of the present crisis facing LDP politics.
Fuwa: So, the real way out of the present crisis should only be possible by carrying out a "reform" that will attack the disease of LDP politics: submission to the United States and the best interests of large corporations, and the bullying of the people. Any attempt to change LDP politics must address this problem, without which "reform" will only mean giving a facial treatment. This is what I mean by saying, "Can LDP politics survive the new century?"
Sekiguchi: What would be your evaluation of the Koizumi "reform" if these criteria are used?
Fuwa: Prime Minister Koizumi became prime minister by promising to "change the LDP." "Reform" has since been his only claim to fame. But as a politician, he has no intention or will to change away from the fundamental problem of LDP politics. On the contrary, it would be fair to say that he is the staunchest opponent to far-reaching reform.
That is why Koizumi during his visit to Washington in June last year publicly stated he is by nature pro-American, and after the terrorist attacks he uncritically supported the U.S. war against Afghanistan. His most important "accomplishment" is high commendations from President Bush. No wonder Newsweek magazine ran a feature story on Japan's submission to the United States. For example, no LDP cabinet in the past was so outrageous as the Koizumi Cabinet in dispatching the Self-Defense Forces in violation of the Constitution as Koizumi's.
In handling relations with the rest of Asia, the Koizumi Cabinet blatantly set up two stumbling blocks, calling its historical outlook into question. One is Japan's rejection of South Korean and Chinese requests for changes to be made in descriptions in Japan's history textbooks, and the other an official visit the prime minister made to Yasukuni Shrine in complete disregard of opposition expressed by the neighboring countries.
Where in all this can you recognize a glimpse of "reform"? All we know about the Koizumi Cabinet is the worst part of LDP foreign policies being exposed one after another.
In domestic policies, too, the Koizumi Cabinet stands out in terms of assaults on people's livelihoods and rights. Its plan for the adverse revision of the national medical insurance system is one typical example. Koizumi is also remembered as the health and welfare minister who carried out an adverse revision under Prime Minister Hashimoto Ryutaro's cabinet. Everyone knows that it caused serious damage to the national economy and the people's livelihood. But he has never reflected on it; on the contrary he is rushing through a further adverse revision of the medical insurance system.
In spite of the economic slowdown and the unemployment rate being increasingly serious, he seems to be indifferent to people's hardships. Many years ago, there was a cabinet minister who came under fire when he said the poor should eat wheat (instead of rice). No one who fails to understand people's hardships has a right to ask the public to endure them.
Fuwa: The Koizumi Cabinet's policies primarily serving the interests of large corporations are the worst ever. "Use the private sector as much as possible" is one of Koizumi's favorite phrases. Criticizing this, economist Konya Fumiko said that we must not forget that the private sector is only interested in making profit" (Asahi Shimbun, December 13, 2001). I agree. She went on to say, "Efficiency is not what the government should pursue. ...The government should do things that are indispensable to the people even if they may not pay. The Koizumi government is losing sight of the basics."
Sekiguchi: That's true..
Fuwa: After all, Prime Minister Koizumi's "Give the private sector as much opportunity as possible" means that the "public sector" should not stand in the way of corporate profit-making and that jobs currently undertaken by administrative authorities should be dune by the private sector for profit.
His call for changes to be made in the "public sector" is not intended to correct the defects in the administrative authorities; all he wants to do is reform the "public sector" for the benefit of large corporations. This is what his reform is about. For example, his arguments for "privatization of the postal service" is one of serving the best interests of large corporations in complete disregard of the convenience of the general public using the post office. Ms. Konya stated, "If the post offices start operating according to market forces, they will withdraw from unprofitable depopulated areas or islands and will become reluctant to serve smaller accounts."
With its policies serving primarily the interests of major corporations and giving the general public the cold shoulder, the Koizumi Cabinet is blatant in taking on the worst characteristics of LDP politics.
In dealing with public works projects, the Koizumi Cabinet, which is now facing a serious fiscal crisis, cannot afford to continue to be lavish with them. Although it tries to take various immediate measures, it is reluctant to seek a drastic policy change. In particular, it will be reluctant to review the Fifth Comprehensive National Development Plan (adopted in 1998).
Sekiguchi: The plan includes construction of bridges over straits.
Fuwa: That's right. The plan is to build six bridges, including a second one at Tokyo Bay and the Kanmon Straits, and new ones at Ise Bay, the Kitan Straits, and the Hoyo Straits, making them the pillar of Japan's 21st century public works projects to the benefit of general contractors. The notorious plan to relocate the nation's capital is also part of these projects. The Koizumi Cabinet is unwilling even to reconsider these highly criticized plans.
It only maintains the same attitude as in the past toward controversial public works projects such as the plan to construct Kawabe River Dam in Kumamoto Prefecture and the reclamation of the Isahaya Bay in Nagasaki Prefecture.
All this shows how the Koizumi Cabinet is so blatant that it pushes ahead with the worst kind of policies, foreign and economic, that past LDP governments stopped short of doing. I would say that this is what the Koizumi Cabinet is all about.
Look at the characteristics of LDP politics from larger angles instead of examining present individual issues to see what it is doing to deal with the causes of the LDP-led misgovernment. Has LDP submission to the United States changed? Is it willing to change away from policies that are cold to the people? Has it broken with policies serving the best interests of large corporations? Examining these questions, you will find clearly that the Koizumi Cabinet, far from being one of changing LDP politics, can only be the last gasp of LDP government.
Sekiguchi: Some people take his reckless approaches as an expression of enthusiasm for "reform."
Fuwa: I have known Mr. Koizumi's recklessness since before he became prime minister.
I think you remember a corruption scandal involving welfare businesses about five years ago? An organization leasing bedding and providing meals to hospitals had bribed Health and Welfare Ministry officials. It was revealed that Hashimoto Ryutaro, prime minister at the time, and Koizumi Jun'ichiro, health and welfare minister at the time, received donations from this organization. Both Hashimoto and Koizumi were "Health and Welfare Ministry tribesmen," or politicians representing special interests of health-related businesses. In December 1996, I used my question time on behalf of the JCP in the Diet to point out that in light of political ethics it was a grave matter for politicians who are deeply involved with welfare administration to receive donations from corporations doing business under government contract using welfare expenditures. When I asked for their comment on this particular point, their answer was that they received the donations in accordance with due legal procedures, but Mr. Koizumi added a flagrant argument. His logic was that everything in our society counts on corporate donations and other forms of cooperation. He cited examples from sports such as baseball, soccer, and golf; music, whether it is classical, popular, or opera; and media such as TV programs and newspapers. He meant to insist that the same is true of politicians saying, "What's wrong with politicians receiving corporate donations?"
Sekiguchi: Didn't he mention donations to festivities?
Fuwa: I have so far debated with many politicians whether corporate donations should be banned or not, but I know no politicians who are more defiant than Mr. Koizumi. He is the one who receives corporate money and carries out policies primarily to benefit large corporations without feeling any "responsibility" and in defiance of any criticism.
Apparently, this outrageous attitude runs through the policies he is carrying out in violation of the Constitution and hurt the public.
Sekiguchi: I don't think such reckless politics and indifference to the people's hardships can last long.
Fuwa: Even within the LDP the validity of LDP politics is being questioned. I recently read remarks by a senior LDP politician on Japan's foreign policy. To my surprise, his view had many points in common with ours.
On the question of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty he stated: A military alliance is only valid when it has a hypothetical enemy. The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was established with the Soviet Union as its potential enemy. Why does the security treaty continue to be necessary when there is no longer the hypothetical enemy? He insists that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty should be replaced by a Japan-U.S. Friendship Treaty. He says that if Japan maintains the present Security Treaty as a military alliance treaty, it will have to take on China as a hypothetical enemy.
Regarding Japan's basic stance on foreign relations, he maintains that although the United States is a country Japan must respect, Japan must not be swallowed up by the United States; that Japan in a multipolar international society must not undermine its relations with East Asia; and that Japan-China relations are particularly important and so the two countries must avoid becoming hypothetical adversaries.
I found a wide-ranging agreement between this person and the JCP regarding foreign policy approaches. Although he by no means criticizes Koizumi diplomacy, his was arguing for military and diplomatic approaches which are different from those followed by Prime Minister Koizumi.
In the interview with the Asahi Shimbun on terrorism*, I pointed out three flaws in Japan's foreign policy bound by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty: 1) lack of independent attitude; 2) failure to attach importance to Japan's relations with Asian countries; and 3) dependence on military approaches. The senior politician's comment has convinced me that, putting aside each other's view on the 20th century, we share a common basis on major issues regarding how Japan's future foreign policy should be.
*The English translation of Fuwa Tetsuzo's "Have Terrorist Attacks Changed
was published in a special issue-December 2001of Japan Press Weekly.
I'm not sure how much this politician is aware of the JCP position on foreign affairs. But it is very encouraging that even a senior politician who has long been a key figure in the LDP arrived at a conclusion similar to the JCP view after a serious consideration of Japan in the 21st century. This means that Koizumi politics, which is said to mark the final stage of LDP government, throws into relief the necessity of a real change that we are calling for: a democratic change to benefit the people.
The present political situation is so complicated that there can be sudden gusts of winds or storms which constitute the major background of the sharpening crisis of LDP politics. It will be correct to say that in these circumstances the major issue is a choice between the JCP's proposal for "Remaking Japan," which calls for a democratic change in the interests of the people, and the Koizumi "reform" that further serves the interests of the United States and major corporations.
It is the position from which I hope that the year 2002 will be a beginning of a new era to give life to what the JCP has proposed for democratic change for the last 40 years.
Sekiguchi: It is a demanding task, but a worthwhile challenge.<<top
Shoji: Now we go back to the issue of the world in the 21st century. Would you discuss it from a long-term perspective?
In economics, Japan's prolonged recession isn't the only problem; the sign of economic decline in the United States or the Argentine default on its debt payment is also part of contradictions and difficulties facing capitalism globally. Even those who described the demise of the Soviet Union as a "victory of capitalism" are getting increasingly uneasy and doubtful about the future direction of capitalism. What is your comment on this question?
Fuwa: I referred to the "Inchon Declaration" of an international conference which defined the 21st century as an era in which the realization of a "post-capitalist" system will be possible. I think this is a manifestation of those anxieties and questions.
I believe that it stands to reason that there is widespread doubt about capitalism continuing into the 21st century as it has been.
Fuwa: First, the worldwide recession. In the January issue of monthly Keizai (Economics) magazine,I started publishing a series of articles on Marx's theory on depression. The title is, "Tracing Marx's path toward establishing the theory on reproduction and depression." When world capitalism underwent a fourth panic (1857-1858), Marx in a newspaper commentary raised the question: Why is this repeated?
By "this," he did not mean depression; he was referring to overexciting speculations, or bubbles. So Marx's question was: Why does the economy repeat bubbles knowing that a bubble is followed by a panic?
This sentence had a fresh impact on me. I thought here lies the core of Marx's theory on depression. His theory on depression was centered around the question why a bubble is repeated, not why a panic occurs. I will use my serial articles in "Keizai" magazine to examine how Marx studied and solved the question.
At the time of the 4th panic, Marx raised the above question in disgust. The prolonged recession facing us is the 19th of the depressions experienced by world capitalism. There are a variety of ways of counting it. It is called a depression or a recession. But roughly speaking, capitalism has gone through 19 panics.
This being an intolerable illness for capitalism, every possible measure has been taken to reform capitalism to avoid depression. The major method in the past was one of using national might as much as possible. At the time of the Depression of 1929-1930, a government-led system was established to prevent a panic, a system called state monopoly capitalism. For years after the end of World War II, the system was successful in easing depression even though it stopped short of completely preventing the impact. So there was a time when "panic-free capitalism" was much discussed as viable.
However, in the 1970s, the system, which was touted as the most effective means of preventing panic, was exhausted. After the bubble economy, the world has been repeatedly hit by exacerbating cataclysms called panic or recession. The problem is that there is no solution being worked out.
What's more, in the present turmoil caused by the bubble economy followed by recession, huge speculative financial groups, including hedge funds, are assaulting particular countries. When a financial crisis broke out in Southeast Asia in the autumn of 1997, quite a few countries in this region were affected and suffered heavy blows.
Today, international democratic control of multinational corporate activities is called for to prevent unregulated speculations. Behind this development is the major question, "Can we continue to allow private companies to do as they like?" This question is connected to the question of post-capitalism or development to socialism. This means that we are in a serious situation.
Shoji: Speculative groups such as hedge funds profit from destabilizing particular countries' economies or their currencies. The larger the fluctuation is, the greater their profit will be. This means that the people's living conditions of the country that comes under a concentrated attack by hedge funds will be completely disrupted. I have found that major banks are providing funds for the hedge funds or doing operations similar to those by hedge funds. I believe that this is precisely the reason for many people to be concerned about capitalism continuing to exist as it is because they acutely feel the damage caused by capitalism.
Fuwa: Another major issue is environmental destruction. When I prepared my Akahata Festival speech, I studied this issue and realized its great importance.
In the past, pollution or environmental destruction was a local matter, like the air pollution in Yokkaichi City.
Sekiguchi: Contamination of water with organic mercury at Minamata is another example.
Fuwa: The problem common to all these cases is that factories and mines polluted the water and air of localities and harmed their residents. Today, we see not only local pollution cases but also global damages being caused by corporate economic activities.
The earth is a precious planet that has complex conditions for living things to exist. But these conditions did not exist when the earth came into existence. It took 3.5 billion years for life born in the sea to evolve to an intellectual life with brain like us. This was not just a period of the evolution of life; it has been discovered that the period was for remaking the planet into one of creating conditions for lives to be activated. The life-support systems which were completed over three billion years or more include the ozone layer that protects living things on the earth from destructive effects of ultraviolet rays, the composition of atmosphere to prevent global warming and ensure that living things can exist and become active in suitable climates, and the existence of huge seas.
But these life-support systems are being destroyed as a result of economic activities over the last 100 years and in particular the last several decades. This is the real part of the global environmental issue.
It's a question of human kind facing the danger of being denied its future, and the danger is real. If capitalism, by nature, is incapable of coping with this kind of reality, it means that capitalism no longer has the capacity to manage the earth. At that point, I think, we will have to conclude that capitalism is no longer relevant in the 21st century.
Sekiguchi: Your reference to this question at the Akahata Festival drew much attention. Your explanation about the life-support systems was very clear. Many in the audience were particularly impressed by your talk about life-support systems established over three billion years and about capitalism's incapacity to manage the earth.
Fuwa: Reading Marx's books again from this viewpoint, I was even more impressed by his terrific insight into the contradictions of capitalism.
Contradictions of capitalism were growing sharper, making social development into a higher stage inevitable. Marx found that the major driving force behind this was the tendency to increase productivity beyond any restrictions, which is inherent in capitalism. The tendency of endless expansion of production conflicts with the small framework based on exploitation and profit-seeking, which will have destructive effects in various fields. This was how Marx understood the contradictions of capitalism.
But the most violent form of capitalist contradictions at that time was depression, so Marx underlined the contradictions between the unlimited development of productive power and the limited purchasing power of the exploited producers -- contradictions between production and consumption, which cause depression. Reading Marx's writings, we also had the tendency to understand this as the expression of such contradictions.
But a more careful reading will help you realize that Marx's way of understanding was not that simple. He certainly put major emphasis on "contradictions between production and consumption," but he tried to look at the contradictions of capitalism in depth in a broader context by defining them as a clash between the tendency to seek unlimited development of production and the narrow framework of placing profits first. This enables you to grasp all destructive effects caused by such a clash; it shows how great the "scientific view" is.
In Capital, Marx wrote how harmful production sites, such as factories and mines, are to the health and safety of workers. He stated that capitalism, by wasting humans in extraordinary ways, will prepare the way for a higher form of society. By this ironic denunciation of capitalism, he was pointing out that the fundamental contradictions of capitalism will be destructive to itself.
The destructive effects inherent in the contradictions of capitalism are manifest in the destruction of the global environment on an extraordinary scale. This is a major issue that demands a solution in the 21st century. The destruction of the life-support systems for the earth means the end of humanity.
Fuwa: Turning to global issues, poverty in the so-called Third World, or the north-south problem, remains a serious issue. This issue also calls into question the pluses and minuses of capitalism in general.
The problem began when capitalism, prompted by its nature to develop disregarding any limitations, forcibly dragged all nations and societies onto the path of capitalism.
But this didn't mean that there was a necessity within societies to become capitalist. Although the greater part of the globe was forced to become capitalist, only a few countries have been able to embark on the capitalist path. An overwhelming majority of the world's countries were dragged into capitalism as colonies. Their resources and labor forces were plundered and their economic structures destroyed by the capitalist suzerains. They were unable to create alternative economic structures that would help development.
After World War II, colonial domination collapsed throughout the world. Many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America achieved independence, or ended dependence, bringing about an extensive political change toward progress. This served as a political foundation for the development of the nonaligned movement. But, economically, those newly independent countries have been unable to get free from conditions of terrible poverty and hardships. Statistics show that in the last two decades of the 20th century, gross national product per capita kept declining. This has been the general tendency of the "Third World."
But, prescriptions the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have made for those countries trying to overcome their economic crisis are always based on market forces inherent in capitalism. In the end, these prescriptions proved to be ineffective in solving their crises, showing instead the inability of capitalism to deal with the north-south problem.
The situation is complex in each country, but that is the general background of the present poverty of the "Third World." The historical responsibility of capitalism is evident. But capitalism does not have the power to solve those problems. This can be the source of power capable of influencing the world in the 21st century.
Seen from different angles, the 21st century world will be a world that embraces the historical necessity of giving rise to new movements towards socialism.
Shoji: You referred to the new current toward socialism. How would you see it in the historical context?
Fuwa: Although the idea of socialism and communism is old, scientific socialism or the socialist ideology and movement which we know of, took shape in the mid-19th century. In Japan, a political party standing for socialism came into being in the 20th century, whereas in many of the European countries, such political parties were formed in the second half of the 19th century. Contradictions of capitalism grew so much sharper in Europe; the late 19th century saw a growth of expectations in the socialist movement, that "capitalism was coming to an end" to be replaced by socialism.
Engels lived longer than Marx and continued to be active through the 1890s. In the last decade of the 19th century, he was eagerly waiting for the victory of socialism. Records show that he expected that a socialist party would come to power in Germany in the early 20th century, to be followed by France and Great Britain.
But capitalism was not dying. Although contradictions of capitalism were deepening, these contradictions served as springboards for the development of a new era, an era of monopoly capitalism and imperialism. With productive power advancing more tremendously than anyone had predicted before, capitalism succeeded in putting the entire world under its direct control.
This historical period of major development also sharpened the contradictions of capitalism throughout the world, provoking two world wars. This was unheard of and gave rise to a revolution toward achieving socialism in a number of countries. However, the revolution did not take place for various reasons. In my view, the major reason was that capitalism was not running out of steam. I think that this is a significant point in discussing the situation of that era.
The Soviet Union was the first country to embark on the path to socialism. However, in the era of Stalin who came into power after Lenin's death it degenerated into a country that turned its back on socialism, pursuing despotism and hegemony, which have nothing in common with socialism. The Soviet Union collapsed towards the close of the 20th century, along with the Eastern European countries which were under Soviet influence. At that time, it was fashionable to describe the breakup of the Soviet Union as the "collapse of communism." But, as we analyzed it in detail at that time, it was nothing but the fall of the Stalinist despotic regime, a system that completely reneged on the cause of socialism.
When we try to understand what the 20th century meant to the effort to build a socialist system, we need to pay special attention to the existence of countries like China and Vietnam striving to build socialism in their own way. These countries began to seek to build socialism in very difficult situations. Before their revolutions, they had been colonized by or dependent on other countries and economically very underdeveloped. In the case of Vietnam, for 30 years after the end of the WWII, it had to wage war in defense, first against France and then against the U.S. This added to the already existing difficulty.
Both China and Vietnam are learning lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Union in order find an original path of combining the market economy with socialism as their way to advance socialism. Their quest for socialism through the market economy under the condition that they are far behind other countries in terms of economic development represents literally a "new challenge" the world has never seen. Although their future development may involve many unknown factors, it may be certain that this current will have a significant impact on the world in the 21st century.
In addition to this, we are convinced that in the 21st century, a new movement towards socialism will gather momentum in the developed capitalist countries. We have envisioned this in a JCP statement issued following the breakup of the Soviet Union, and we also stressed this at the 22nd Congress in 2000. I think that the 21st century will see this happen.
Shoji: Regarding the JCP's Congress, the JCP on that occasion presented a design for socialism based on an overall evaluation of the 20th century. I think that it can be called a theory of socialism for the 21st century. Could you explain its major elements?
Fuwa: In discussing socialism, we specifically put forward three points. First, the recognition that the Soviet-type political and economic systems had nothing in common with socialism. Second, the position that socialism should affirm and develop all valuable achievements of the capitalist era. Third, the objective is to overcome the profit-first principle and to eradicate exploitation. We have set out these three points to be considered when we envision the 21st century.
Let me begin with the first point. In discussing socialism in the 21st century, it is very important to definitely reject, even at the level of perception, any political and economic systems that claimed to be socialist but repressive in reality that existed and collapsed in the Soviet Union. On this point, it seems that a lot of ambiguities remain in the world's movements.
In November last year, an international symposium on socialism was held in Beijing. From Japan, Tashiro Tadatoshi of the Institute of Social Science took part and presented a report entitled "Social Progress and Socialism the JCP Calls for." The text of the report was published in the February issue of the JCP monthly magazine Zen'ei (Vanguard). Tashiro told me that the question of the Soviet Union was one of the major issues under discussion.
In his report, Tashiro first took up the question of "how to view Soviet society." He explained that the JCP characterizes it as a "repressive society that has nothing in common with socialism" and gave the reason for the characterization in detail. He told me that participants showed great interest in his report, and some were in favor of it and others against.
Certainly, none of the international representatives in their reports called for a Soviet-type society, but many tended to put the Soviet society in a favorable light knowing that it had problems. Many still believe that it was indeed a socialist society although it had many defects. But the Soviet Union not only asserted hegemony in carrying out oppression of and interference in other countries it maintained a terribly repressive society. This is the fact that has widely been known after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Given that the emancipation of humankind is the major objective of socialism, if one wants to affirm that the Soviet Union was a socialist country, one must be able to explain how such a repressive society can be called a socialist society. Such an attempt would necessarily undermine the core idea of socialism: the emancipation of humankind.
Some people assert that the Soviet Union, despite all these problems, was a socialist society on the grounds that the means of production was owned by the state, arguing that it had a socialist-type of economic system. But is it appropriate to say that a society is socialist because the state is in control of the economy? Is the state ownership of the means of production the most important economic property of socialism? No, this is a major theoretical mistake.
The goal of socialism, which scientific socialism aims for, is not to allow the State to play the key role in the economy. In Capital, Marx discusses socialist/communist society on a number of occasions, but nowhere in it did he describe such a society as a society in which the state is the key player. When he discussed what a socialist or communist society would be, he always stated that "associated producers" will play the key role in the economy. Producers, or workers who are directly engaged in production, will join forces to take hold of the means of production and control production. This is how Marx described the fundamental mechanism of socialist or communist society.
To manage the economy, the State-led apparatus reigned over society and barked orders at producers, even exploiting them with lashes. If Marx heard people say this is "socialism at any rate," he would scream in indignation, saying, "I'll have nothing to do with such 'socialism.'"
At the JCP 20th Congress in 1994, when we examined how to view the Soviet society, we took issue with the view that it was a socialist society because it carried out "nationalization" and "collectivization." We pointed out that "nationalization" and "collectivization" as practiced in the Soviet Union were not forms of emancipation of the people but that they served as economic foundations for despotism and bureaucracies oppressing the people.
"It is true that there was 'nationalization' and 'collectivization' in form, but it did not mean the transfer of the ownership of the means of production into the hands of the people. On the contrary, this contributed to building the basis, or the economic foundation, of an autocratic and bureaucratic system in which Stalin and other leaders had all the economic power, with the people excluded" (Report on Amendments to the JCP Program).
This is how we rejected the argument recognizing the Soviet society as "socialist at any rate." This decision continues to be important today. If we allow for the view that a repressive society like the one that existed in the Soviet Union was a variant of "socialism," we will not be qualified to discuss an attractive socialism in the 21st century. The position we adopted at the JCP 20th Congress concerning the Soviet Union is therefore very significant at present.
Shoji: The JCP was able to arrive at that conclusion because it has maintained sovereign independence rejecting the hegemony of the Soviet Union under any condition.
Fuwa: The second point is that we have maintained the position of developing all valuable legacies from the capitalist era. We have made this clear since many years ago. This is not something that we hastily invented after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The "Manifesto on Freedom and Democracy," adopted at the JCP 13th Extraordinary Congress in 1976, was a synthesis of the position I have stated. This "Manifesto" sets out in concrete terms what we will take over and develop in each area of our social life. At the same time, we expounded on how firmly this document stands on the essential position of scientific socialism, showing in detail the theoretical grounds for this.
We can clearly say that this position has been tested through JCP activities in the last quarter century and is now the JCP's blood and flesh.
In what the former Soviet Union called "Marxism-Leninism," the succession of legacies meant the material aspect of productive power.
Sekiguchi: Yes, indeed.
Fuwa: But that is no more than one aspect of the matter. Regarding valuable legacies, we believe that questions of individuals, in particular those concerning democracy and freedom, are important. Democracy and freedom have developed in the capitalist era, but they did not grow automatically out of the capitalist economy. Most of the democratic rights and freedoms have been achieved through people's struggles at the grassroots level.
This question reminds us of a page of history that needs a thorough theoretical examination.
I spent four years (from 1997-2001) studying on the theme "Lenin and 'Capital'" and came across the question of inheriting democracy. Lenin was in exile in Switzerland during World War I and wrote many articles based on an in-depth study of democracy. These writings were based on the very audacious idea that socialism should positively take over democratic gains from the capitalist period and develop them fully. The ideas he developed remain very relevant to our time.
However, after the October Revolution in 1917, the view that bourgeois democracy or democracy under the capitalist regime is antagonistic to socialism came to the fore, and the continuation and development of democracy receded. Certainly, this tendency partly reflected the international political situation of that time. At the time, the interventionist war was launched against Russia by bourgeois democracies such as Great Britain, France, and the United States, and there was rampant savage political repression that led to the murder of Rosa Luxemburg in the newly established republic of Germany that had won democracy. More importantly, Lenin's "The State and Revolution," which was written on the eve of the October Revolution, established the theoretical position that democracy of the capitalist era was completely different in nature from the democracy to be established after the socialist revolution and therefore incompatible with each other. His theory was further developed in an extreme form during adversity created by the interventionist war. It meant a considerable setback for both the theory and practice of socialism regarding democracy.
Later, Lenin began an effort to correct errors that had been made in domestic and foreign policies during the period of the interventionist war, making innumerable important studies that are still relevant today. In volume 7 of my "Lenin and 'Capital,'" I attempted to trace Lenin's efforts. I found that Lenin mainly dealt with political and practical changes without advancing to a theoretical synthesis before he died.
This is the history of the question of democratic heritage. On this particular question, I believe that the position of continually developing the past democratic gains, which Lenin advocated before 1917, was right. I expounded on my view on "The State and Revolution" in a New Year interview with Akahata two years ago. As I indicated then, one of the keys to understanding the problem is to acknowledge that the error made in "The State and Revolution" played a negative role in the rejection of democratic gains being inherited and developed.
I would like to emphasize again that our position to continually develop all valuable legacies of capitalism, including the gains in democracy and freedom, has been established on a solid foundation that is part of the history of the theory of scientific socialism.
Shoji: The third point is overcoming the profit-first principle as a positive goal of socialism.
Fuwa: Overcoming the profit-first principle expresses what socialism is about in easy terms to understand.
Socialism will transfer the means of production from capitalists, whose first and foremost motive is a pursuit of profits, to society, or what Marx might describe as "associated producers," or the "socialization of the means of production."
I think that the significance of this concept comprises two pillars.
One is the abolition of exploitation, which is to change the position of producers from one of employees to one of main players in the economy and production.
The other pillar is a change in the economic system from production for private profits of individuals or businesses to production for the benefit of society as a whole by putting production under social control.
These two pillars constitute the essence of socialism.
Regarding the first point, those who celebrate capitalism used to underline that a sea change is taking place in capitalism. They said that exploitation and poverty are in the past, and that we live in a society that promises wealth to the people.
Sekiguchi: Yes, they did indeed.
Fuwa: But everyone knows that there is no substance to their explanation when many people in Japan have hardships arising from cuts in social services and increasing job losses.
I think that in terms of absolute economic power, Japan has the capability to maintain basic living standards for everyone.
Earlier, I referred to an international comparison of economic power. Let me cite some figures to sow how different Japan is from the rest of Asia. In 1999, the average gross national product per head of all Asian countries except Japan was approximately 810 dollars, but in Japan it was 32,030 dollars. This does not mean that the latter is 40 times greater, after all, because the purchasing power of the national currency differs from country to country. But roughly speaking, Japan's economic power is more than 30 times that of the rest of Asia.
That indicates that Japan's society has enough power to produce that amount of wealth. It really has produced wealth in the past. If its economic power is properly used for the benefit of society, living standards can be maintained for all people. In the present system, economic power is not used that way. As a result, poverty is threatening people's lives, and the social gap between rich and poor persists. Moreover, a change of the wind in politics may threaten the safety net for beneficiaries of such social services as health care, employment, and pension. What's more, wealth is being squandered in outrageous ways.
If the present system is changed and employees as producers become the main players of the economy and production, and if the economic power and its achievements are used to secure people's livelihoods, the same economic basis should be able to make a difference in improving people's living conditions.
The other pillar is the need to change the objective of production from one of earning private profits to one of serving the interests of society.
In his criticism of capitalist economy, Marx used a wise phrase to the effect that under capitalism "social reason always asserts itself only post festum." "Social reason" is a term that has philosophical implications meaning a social wisdom that treats things reasonably (Marx also refers to this as "associated wisdom"). So by this term he meant to say that in capitalist society, only after an explosion of contradictions and a catastrophe do capitalists realize the reason and deplore and regret the catastrophe. This is how he criticized capitalism. There is a similar Japanese saying, "Ato no matsuri" ("You came the day after the fair").
In Capital, Marx emphasized the superiority of communist society by contrasting socialist or communist society with the situation of capitalist society. He says that communist society uses social wisdom from the outset to carry out a rational management of production and the economy.
We now know that we are in an era in which the future of our society will be increasingly in jeopardy unless "social reason" takes the initiative. At the present historical stage, capitalism can no longer control the huge world economy, as is clear from major problems, including the protracted recession, the degeneration of the global environment, and the north-south problem. In order to break through the present situation, it is necessary to move forward to a new, more advanced society in which "social reason" - sometimes called "associated reason" by Marx - plays its role preemptively. That is socialism.
We advocate the phased development of society, instead of trying to jump into an ideal society; we will seek to achieve progress step by step in a steadfast manner toward a progressive change hand in hand with the people. I think the global conditions of the 21st century make it a vital task for us to shape the basic ideas about the future development of our society.
Shoji: I understand that Marx discussed issues of socialism and communism in detail Capital?
Fuwa: While Marx was alive, Engels contributed a writing to introduce Marx to a German publication, describing Capital as "Marx's chief work, which expounds on the foundations of his economic and socialist conceptions and the main features of his criticism of existing society, the capitalist mode of production and its consequences." Engles thus characterized Capital not only as Marx's presentation of an economic outlook but as a writing that stated the foundations of his socialist outlook. Marx in Capital dealt with questions of socialism and communism from a variety of angles.
As a matter of fact, here is another point that I want to draw attention to. In Capital, Marx demonstrated that the historical method to get out of the contradictions of the present capitalist society lies in advances towards socialism and communism, and thus showed in rough sketch the future course of social development. But he never tried to draw a blueprint for a future society. In other words, he stopped short of doing anything that would tie the hands of future generations. I think this is very important.
Later ,when a young theorist came up with an ambitious plan to sketch a transition process to communist society, Engels wrote a letter reminding him that such an attempt was impossible because every new trust causes them to change while the vantage points never remain the same from one decade to the next. (Engels to Conrad Schmidt, July 1, 1891).
This attitude of Marx and Engels was very rational and wise as scientific socialists. Engels thus pointed out that a new trust would change conditions. The social changes that have taken place since the 19th century era of Marx and Engels is far greater than the emergence of a new trust. At that time power was mainly generated by steam engines and electric power was just making a debut. In present-day capitalist society, the IT revolution is a burning issue. Naturally, social control of production today is very different from the 19th century in terms of form, method, and practice. Marx and Engels did not try to draw a blueprint applicable to any time or any place by treating the social conditions of their time as something fixed. They were very critical of any "socialist" trying to do such a thing.
This viewpoint of Marx and Engels is very important today as we expect a major tide of socialism in the 21st century. In this century various countries may embark on the road toward socialism. As for the path to a new society and the form of a new society they may seek to establish, each country should attempt that in a creative manner using wisdom and making the best efforts, based on their own national experience and history. I hope that the 21st century turns out to be an era in which a variety of efforts converge into a new stream developing a new phase of human history.
Shoji: So the JCP firmly maintains a socialist future in its perspective, but as you stated earlier, it stands for the phased development of Japanese society and stresses that what the present state of Japan calls for is democratic change but not socialism. I think this thesis is significant as an internationally pioneering position. How would you describe the meaning of this direction in the present-day context?
Fuwa: It certainly is one of the points that draws international attention. It is the point which Mr. Tashiro discussed in detail in his report to the international symposium in Beijing.
When the JCP was discussing its program, which was adopted in 1961, I participated
in a discussion in a JCP branch, not in the JCP Central Committee. At the time,
most communist parties in the world took it for granted that the revolution
in highly developed capitalist countries should aim for socialism. A call for
democratic change (instead of a socialist revolution) in a country like Japan
was treated as aberrant. Under such circumstances, the JCP adopted a democratic
revolution line after making an accurate analysis of the reality in Japan using
a "scientific vision," which was historic.
By democratic revolution, we mean establishing democracy firmly in politics, the economy, and social life as well as achieving true national independence, instead of immediately aiming at socialism to abolish capitalism. In other words, it literally is "democratic reform within the framework of capitalism."
Internationally, at a time when capitalism is in a deepening critical situation, there are various efforts being made to explore ways to get out of the crisis. That was what the symposium in Beijing was about. Indeed, it is not a question that can be solved by replacing capitalism in crisis with socialism. In order to move forwards to a majority-based reform, we may have to grope. This is why the JCP's proposal for a democratic revolution or democratic reform draws public attention.
I stated before that the issue in Japan's politics is the choice between two plans: one that will "remake Japan" in the people's interests and the other proposed in Prime Minister Koizumi's "reform" plan that is in the best interests of the United States and large corporations. We should note that the more than 40 years of JCP-LDP confrontation since the JCP adopted its Program has proved the practical significance of the JCP's proposal for democratic change.
The remark of a senior politician of the LDP, which I quoted earlier, shows that anyone who earnestly seeks to change the serious state of affairs in Japan's foreign relations would inevitably stand for a position similar to our plan for "remaking Japan."
Sekiguchi: That's true indeed.
Fuwa: The thing is that the JCP policies for reform are being proved to be valuable in the course of political developments.
The JCP is a political party with a grand outlook of reform that meets the needs of the 21st century. We are the party that looks ahead with a broad perspective and a "scientific view." This enables the JCP to propose a bold reform plan that addresses the immediate needs of the people in the actual political processes. I want to emphasize that this precisely is the real value of the JCP.
Sekiguchi: This year marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Communist Party. Just remember that an irresponsible changing of alignments was repeated in 2001 among political parties last year, and we cannot but feel the importance of the JCP's existence. Before concluding this interview, we would like you to comment briefly on the JCP's 80-year history.
Fuwa: The greater part of the JCP's history of 80 years was in the 20th century. In this sense, I think that the last century was a period in which the significance of the JCP's existence was confirmed by historical events.
Fuwa: The Japanese Communist Party was founded before World War II, when Japan
was under the rule of the absolutist emperor when wars of aggression and despotic
politics were rampant. Since its inception, the JCP has opposed wars of aggression
and carried out indomitable struggles for the cause of peace, people's sovereignty,
women's equality, democracy, and better living conditions for the people. In
prewar Japan, no political party but the JCP fought for a peaceful, democratic,
and free country. The presence and activities of the JCP marked a glorious page
of history in 20th century Japan as a party that played a pioneer role in the
struggle to establish peace and democracy in postwar Japan.
This being its history, the JCP could find itself in an honorable position in history as the only political party to consistently advocate the principle that "people are the sovereign" when the establishment of a new constitution was the order of the day.
Fuwa: After the war, Japan experienced several periods. From 1945 until the coming into force of the "Peace Treaty with Japan" in 1952, Japan for the first time in history was under total occupation. The period of foreign occupation is likely to be dismissed as a half a century old episode, but in a sense it was a period when the suppression of citizens' freedom was even harsher than in the prewar dark days. At the time, no one was allowed to speak against the will of the U.S. occupation forces, which enforced strict censorship. Any expressions that were not favorable to the occupation forces were deleted from magazines or any other publications. Before the war's end, readers could recognize words or phrases that were censored because they would be replaced with xxx letters. In contrast, the occupation forces would order any censored texts to be reset in type so that they would look as if they had not been censored at all.
In these circumstances, the JCP held its 6th Congress and adopted calls for the "strict implementation of the Potsdam Declaration" and "national independence." The JCP not only proposed that "people's sovereignty" be constitutionally established, but showed the courage to put forward "national independence" in defiance of foreign occupation. This was how the JCP demonstrated its real value as a party that firmly stands for justice.
Fuwa: In 1951, when the San Francisco Peace Treaty was concluded, the JCP was in the midst of a very unhappy event called the "1950 Problem." It involved an anomalous party split, but the major issue was the Stalin-led foreign interference by the Soviet Union and China. The greatest lesson the JCP learned from this unhappy experience was how important it is for the party to maintain a position of sovereign independence to reject any foreign interference. Since the JCP began preparations for its 7th Congress in the late 1950s, it has maintained this position in all its theory and activities.
I think this experience continues to be very significant as we discuss what might the 21st century be like. In the 1960s, the JCP suffered flagrant interference from the Soviet Union and China's Mao Zedong group, but we defeated both by mobilizing the whole party to the struggle to defend sovereign independence. Looking back on the struggle we led since the 1960s against foreign interference, I think that one of the most important points to make is that it was a struggle to defend the idea of socialism for the future.
Sekiguchi: Could you further elaborate?
Fuwa: In August 1964, we wrote a long letter to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union protesting against interference in the JCP. In the letter, we said that CPSU interference in the JCP was bad and unworthy of a party in a country that advocates socialism. Also, every time the harm of Soviet hegemony emerged, as with the invasion of Czechoslovakia or Afghanistan, the JCP denounced the Soviet Union for betraying the great cause of socialism based on reason. Throughout this struggle, the JCP tried hard to defend the great cause and ideal of socialism from the evils of hegemony.
I have referred to the JCP's theory on socialism. I think that the JCP has established its position on socialism and has been qualified to discuss it in the course of our struggle against Soviet and other foreign interference which we denounced as a betrayal of the great cause of socialism.
Fuwa: Last but not least, I would like to point out that the greatest achievement of the JCP in the 20th century is the establishment of the JCP Program, which has served as the basis for the decades of our struggle since the 1960s. And we have entered the new century with the same JCP Program.
The programmatic line of the JCP has been tested throughout the 40 years of struggle against LDP politics. We are engaging in various activities based on the demands of the people. Our activities to protect the public interest, defend national sovereignty, independence, democracy, and peace, and improve the living standards of the people are all based on the JCP's programmatic line. The JCP Program Policy does not only serve as the JCP national leadership's policy-making efforts, it provides basic directions to party branches and JCP members of local assemblies in their activities in defense of the people's interests.
Look at Japan's political world. Various political parties exist, but none except the JCP shows an alternative to LDP politics in a comprehensive manner. This clearly brings out the value of the JCP Program.
There are numerous examples that show the role and achievement of the JCP in the 20th century. But what I have just sketched may suffice to show the relevance of the role the JCP has played so far.
Fuwa: In the 21st century, we will seek to build more on what we achieved in the 20th century. We will continue our work to open up a new road for Japan and achieve success. "Establish a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century" is the slogan we adopted as we entered the new century. Since last year, we have carried out the "United Efforts to Increase JCP Membership and Akahata Readership," the aim being to build a JCP strong enough to achieve this goal. We will work hard this year to create a major surge that will contribute to making further progress in the struggle to reach this objective.
Sekiguchi and Shoji: Thank you very much.
(Translation by Japan Press Service)