The House of Councilors election will be held soon. The Koizumi Cabinet has been replaced by Prime Minister ABE Shinzo's cabinet. People's living conditions, in particular hardships related to cutbacks in welfare services and the worsening employment situation, are getting more and more serious. The new Cabinet has been very reckless with its policies opposing peace and democracy.
The JCP will call on the voters to stop the coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komei Party from continuing with policies that undermine people's living conditions and peace.
“Poverty and social disparities" are found everywhere in our society, in which an increasing number of people have difficulty supporting their own lives even with a job. The fixed-rate tax cuts have been abolished. A substantial residential tax increase has been imposed. Medical and nursing-care insurance programs have been adversely reformed. The government's irresponsible mismanagement of the national pension system has left many pension records unidentified. These are problems that make many people feel uneasy about making plans for their future. In stark contrast, large corporations, the business sector, and a handful of wealthy people are enjoying the largest ever profits and gains in wealth that are even larger than those that they amassed in the bubble economy, boasting of an “economic boom that is even longer than the 57-month boom in the second half of the 1960s." The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) is still demanding more corporate tax breaks and a further consumption tax increase. If the LDP-Komei government led by Prime Minister Abe continues to stay in power, every effort made by the working people to improve their living conditions could come to nothing.
We cannot stand for the recklessness of the Abe Cabinet concerning the questions of peace and democracy. Prime Minister Abe has publicly pledged to have the Constitution revised during his tenure in office and made clear that he will put it forward as a major issue in the House of Councilors election. The recent Ordinary Session of the Diet enacted the bill to establish procedures for holding a referendum on constitutional revision in disregard of strong opposition. The Liberal Democratic Party and other parties are planning to have the Diet initiate in 2010 a process of revising the Constitution. The Abe Cabinet for now intends to change the government interpretation of the Constitution so as to enable Japan to use force in situations that have nothing to do with Japan's security. These moves are being prompted by the U.S. intention to drag Japan onto the path of war under its preemptive attack strategy on a global scale. Prime Minister Abe advocates that Japan should maintain the alliance bound by blood with the United States and openly states that the aim of the constitutional revision is to have Japan fight in wars abroad with the United States.
To make matters worse, the forces that are neglectful of the people's well-being and are rushing to revise the Constitution are led by a group of supporters of the Yasukuni Shrine interpretation of history that describes Japan's past war of aggression as a “just war" and Japan before and during World War II as a “beautiful country" despite its aggression abroad and state of militarism within the country. In fact, Prime Minister Abe's statement that “military comfort women" were not coerced into having sex with Japanese soldiers and his making an offering to Yasukuni Shrine was taken as having the same meaning as his official worship at the shrine.
Recently, it has been revealed that the Self-Defense Forces' intelligence security unit on a daily basis has been monitoring people's movements that are critical of the government and the SDF, in flagrant violation of the Constitution and its defense of basic human rights.
Those forces that refuse to admit that Japan was wrong in carrying out the war of aggression are now seeking to establish a Constitution that will enable Japan to fight wars abroad again. If the military apparatus that keeps the public under surveillance is recognized as a constitutional military force reigning over the people, it will mean a revival of militarism under which Japan will become a country terrified by people worldwide as well as the Japanese themselves.
The Komei Party is the Abe government's coalition partner helping to neglect the well-being of the people and carry out reckless policies. Eight years have passed since the Komei Party joined with the Liberal Democratic Party in a coalition government in 1999. During this period, the Japanese people have been forced to pay an extra 13 trillion yen in taxes. A typical family of four will be asked to pay an extra 400 thousand yen a year. This includes a massive tax increase due to the abolition of the fixed-rate tax cuts, a measure that was enthusiastically called for by the Komei Party. The tax increase now has repercussions for the whole country. A newspaper correctly likened the Komei Party to “war criminals".
In the adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education and the enactment of the law to establish procedures for constitutional amendments, the Komei Party's role was indispensable. It was behind the bill to upgrade the Defense Agency to a ministry and the bill to adversely revise the Fundamental Law of Education in exchange for the passage of “improvement in the allowance for dependent children," which it touts as its own achievement. A national newspaper editorial at the time described the trade as irrelevant, citing Komei's use of party politics.
However, the Komei Party proclaims itself to be the “party for welfare" or the “party for peace". It has deceived the public into accepting adverse government policies by falsely depicting them as good policies. Pretending to put brakes on reckless LDP government policies, the Komei Party is in fact helping to accelerate them. This represents the Komei Party's reactionary raison d'etre.
What is more, the Komei Party has for years been brazen about its relationship with Soka Gakkai as one that represents the “unity of politics and religion." Soka Gakkai came under fire in 1970 when it tried to suppress the freedom of speech and the press by interfering with publication of a critical book about Soka Gakkai. Following this incident, IKEDA Daisaku, Soka Gakkai president at the time, said he “deeply regretted" it and this was taken as his promise that Soka Gakkai would practice the “separation of religion and politics." But in its review of the March-April simultaneous local election campaign, Soka Gakkai has not only praised the election of all Komei Party candidates as its victory, it has gone as far as to threaten Komei members of local assemblies by saying that they must not forget that they were elected thanks to Soka Gakkai's efforts.
The pro-Yasukuni forces who refuse to show remorse over the past Japanese war of aggression and the Komei Party and Soka Gakkai forming a unity of politics and religion to assist in the promotion of undemocratic policies make up the worst form of alliance promoting adverse policies.
Another key issue in the upcoming House of Councilors election is choosing a party capable of leading an effective offensive against the LDP-Komei government led by Prime Minister Abe. The present focus of media attention is on the “two major parties," indicating that a confrontation between the LDP and the DPJ is what the coming election is all about.
The Democratic Party is trying hard to stage its “confrontation" with the LDP. However, the policy line that has been followed by the DPJ is indistinguishable from the LDP line. In dealing with economic issues, it has been an advocate of “structural reforms." It supported easing regulations under the labor laws. It supported adverse revision of the nursing care insurance law. It called for cutbacks in public assistance to dependent children of mother-child families as well as tax breaks for large corporations. The DPJ supported legislation to upgrade the Defense Agency to a ministry and to establish a provision to make overseas dispatches of Self-Defense Forces a permanent SDF function. The enacted law to establish procedures for amending the Constitution was precisely what the DPJ had been calling for. The DPJ is the same as the LDP in taking the position that the Japan-U.S. military alliance should be maintained and even strengthened. It has also kept in step with the LDP in its call for the Constitution to be revised. Its view on the question of “exercising the right of collective self-defense" is no different from the LDP's. The DPJ includes many politicians who are pro-Yasukuni Shrine, who insist that “military comfort women were non-existent," and who affirm and even praise Japan's past war of aggression.
The fact that the DPJ shares the LDP position is clear from its relationship with the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren). In drafting its policies, the DPJ holds discussion with Nippon Keidanren to have its policy proposals assessed and receives donations in accordance with the assessment. The DPJ is unable to understand the real needs of the people and it competes with the ruling parties for the most undemocratic policies.
In the election, we will emphasize that increasing the number of seats of the most reliable opposition party, the JCP, is the surest way to stop the LDP-Komei government of Prime Minister Abe from continuing the reckless policies that disregard the needs of the people and destroy peace and democracy.
We will secure JCP seats to stop the LDP-Komei government of Prime Minister Abe.
JCP seats in the Diet are the surest way to stop the LDP-Komei government under Prime Minister Abe from continuing to run wild, contrary to the people's interests. The root cause of growing poverty and social disparities is the policy serving the interests of large corporations. Unless this policy is corrected, the general public will not become free of anxieties about their living conditions.
The Japanese government's zeal for fighting wars abroad arises from its subservience to the United States that makes Japan bound by its military alliance with the United States. The pro-Yasukuni Shrine forces, which justify the past Japanese war of aggression and colonial rule, are promoting this dangerous move, which can be thwarted only by increasing the number of JCP seats in the Diet because the JCP is the only party that has been consistent in advocating peace, democracy and people's sovereignty since the prewar days.
JCP seats in the Diet are essential for putting up opposition to the adverse policies promoted jointly by the ruling LDP-Komei coalition and the opposition DPJ
In 2006, the Defense Agency was upgraded to a ministry, and the Self-Defense Forces' overseas missions were also upgraded to a permanent main task. The LDP, Komei, and DPJ bulldozed these legislative measures through the Diet. In this year's Ordinary Session of the Diet, the law to establish procedures for revising the Constitution (the national referendum law) was enacted. The ruling parties and the opposition DPJ together promoted the bill. The bill that was enacted was “almost in line with the DPJ proposal" as former DPJ President MAEHARA Seiji stated. The DPJ also joined together with the ruling parties for the labor law reform aimed at deregulating the labor market. In order to effectively fight against the adverse political aims of the LDP and the DPJ, we need to secure JCP seats in the Diet.
The JCP uses its strength in the Diet in cooperation with grassroots movements to influence national politics by putting forward the demands of the people. With its 9 seats in the House of Councilors and 9 seats in the House of Representatives, the JCP has been instrumental in influencing national politics in cooperation with popular movements at the grassroots level. It has succeeded in forcing companies to pay 85.2 billion yen in back pay for forced overtime work without pay. This was made possible because the JCP, in cooperation with movements at places of work, repeatedly brought up the issue in the Diet. As a result, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued the directive urging employers to end the use of forced overtime work without pay. We also took up workers' suffering from exploitation using “contract labor" in disguise, and won their direct employment.
JCP seats in the Diet are essential for eliminating irregularities and corruption, and for defending parliamentary democracy. There is a wide gulf between Nagatacho politicians and the general public in the perception of “politics and money". This being what the Japanese political world is all about, the Japanese Communist Party has firmly stood for a “clear political stance." Since last year, the JCP has uncovered various money-related suspicions of corruption hanging over various politicians. The JCP has been calling for donations by companies and other organizations to politicians to be banned in order to eradicate the major source of political corruption. The JCP has refused to accept the government subsidy to political parties because it is a practice of distributing tax money among parties that do not work for the public interest.
JCP seats will enable the Japanese people to share the wish for peace with other peoples. Since 1999, the JCP has carried out an independent diplomacy as an opposition party, putting emphasis on developing exchanges and dialogues with governments of other Asian countries. The JCP Program states, the JCP will “attach importance to promoting friendship and exchanges with Asian countries on the premise that Japan expresses remorse for its war of aggression and colonization in the past." It also states that the JCP will “exert efforts to establish peaceful coexistence among countries with different social systems and establish dialogue as well as relations of coexistence among various civilizations with different values." This JCP position has been hailed and supported by Islamic countries as well as other Asian countries.
The JCP's position is not one of remaining satisfied with the status-quo as an opposition party forever. Only by increasing the number of seats of the “reliable opposition party" in the Diet can we pave the way for establishing a real democratic government. The JCP has a far-reaching plan, the “Proposal for Remaking Japan," that will put an end to the political, economic, social ,and diplomatic distortions facing our country. The plan puts forward the following three main objectives:
The JCP has a vision and policy for moving away from LDP politics. This is why the JCP is capable of firmly standing for the defense of people's interests in opposition to LDP politics and the continuation of LDP politics.
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Communist Party. The JCP has stood firmly for peace and people's sovereignty without succumbing to any coercion. It has maintained a clean political posture. It has been practicing sovereign independence repelling all forms of foreign pressure.
The JCP is always present to resolve people's hardships. This is the principled position of the JCP since its founding.
Only a JCP advance can stop the misgovernment and provide a people-first policy in lieu of LDP politics. We ask everyone to lend a hand to the JCP to achieve a major advance in the upcoming election.
1. Immediately send pension premium payment records to all people who now receive pension benefits or who are enrolled in a pension plan.
2. Provide information about “missing" pension premium payment records to all possible people without narrowing the scope of investigation.
3. Pay pension benefits in accordance to the pension holders' explanation about their enrollment in a pension plan, even if they do not have receipts or any other evidence that support their claim of payment of premiums.
4. Correct all errors in computerized data by checking them against handwritten records.
5. Abolishing the Social Insurance Agency will mean allowing the government to disclaim responsibility for the present problem. The need now is to stop using money collected as pension premiums for purposes that have nothing to do with the pension system and ban arranging executive jobs in the non-government sector for retired ministry-level officials.
Stop the sizeable residential tax increase
Oppose an increase in the consumption tax, the worst kind of regressive taxation.
Take steps to restore fiscal health while taking necessary measures to defend living standards.
Make every effort to stop poverty increasing and protect people's lives through implementation of the ONE TRILLION-YEN EMERGENCY WELFARE PLAN:
We oppose the ongoing realignment of U.S. forces in Japan that is aimed at binding Japan to the U.S. preemptive attack strategy.
We demand a swift withdrawal of Japanese troops from Iraq and work to achieve a peaceful international order in line with the spirit of the United Nations Charter.
We will prevent local communities from collapsing
We will extend direct assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses by:
We will work to improve local governments' financial base by:
In order for Japan to fulfill its pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 6 percent which it made in the Kyoto Protocol:
Set medium- and long-term goals in the shifting of society to one of low-energy and fewer carbon emissions.
Japan should stop constructing new nuclear power plants and stage by stage give up relying on nuclear power generation.
Review and amend wherever necessary civil code provisions that are in contravention of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Eliminate political corruptions as well as irregularities and establish clean politics.
Ban political contributions by corporations and other organizations.
Abolish the state subsidy to political parties.
Ban bid-rigging schemes arranged by bureaucrats and the “amakudari" practice arranging well paying jobs for retired government officials at government affiliated or non-government corporations.
- Akahata, June 16, 2007