Speech by SHII Kazuo, JCP Chair
At Public Assembly Marking 87th Anniversary of the Japanese Communist Party
September 9, 2009,Tokyo
Good evening everyone! I am Shii Kazuo of the Japanese Communist Party. Thank you all for joining us in this assembly to commemorate the founding anniversary of the JCP.
Let me begin by expressing our gratitude to all those who voted for the JCP and to all JCP Supporters' Association members as well as party members for their participation in our campaign waged in the mid-summer heat.
Today, I will talk about the results of the House of Representatives general election and the JCP's role after the election under the title, "We look to a bright future gained by an understanding of the political direction within a general historical context." I will be focusing on the general election results and the role of the JCP as an opposition party constructively engaging with the new government.
In the general election, we called on voters to force the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties out of power. The LDP lost two-thirds of its previous seats and secured only 119. Its coalition partner, the Komei Party, also decreased its number of seats to 21 from the previous 31. We welcome this outcome of the election as a major step forward in Japanese politics that opens a new page in history.
I think that we should see two important things in assessing the results of the general election.
One is that the election did not just put an end to the LDP-Komei government, but it marked the beginning of a political process leading to an end of the LDP policy of defending the interests of the financial circles and the military alliance with the United States, which we call the two ills. The LDP rule has come to the point where it is no longer tenable and has fallen onto a path of disintegration. I want to emphasize that this is precisely what makes the general election historic.
The catch phrase "national prosperity depends on large corporations' prosperity" has been used to justify the government policy to defend the key interests of large corporations for more than a half century. What have been the consequences of this policy? There has been a sharp increase in unstable employment. One out of three working people are working part-time or temporary jobs, and half of the working youth and women are contingent workers. The number of working poor has reached 10 million. Social services are in crisis in all areas, including health care, pensions, nursing care for the elderly, and welfare services for the disabled. Agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and small businesses are declining. Regional economies and communities are falling into decay. A handful of large corporations have made huge profits, but the general public has been deprived of any sense of security. The main features of present-day society are widening economic inequalities and an ever increasing poverty rate. While large corporations are prospering, the nation is falling apart. LDP policies are primarily to blame for these problems.
Even the mainstream media have acknowledged that the public's will as expressed in the general election was a severe criticism of the authoritarian behavior of large corporations. I have here with me an Asahi Shimbun clipping. It is the first of a series featuring how public figures are viewing the incoming government. Its theme is "financial circles and politics".
Interviewing Ohashi Mitsuo, an executive of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), the paper states, "The business circles have been closely involved in government decision-making processes under the long LDP rule. Shouldn't the LDP's crushing defeat be taken as criticism of the business circles?"
Mr. Ohashi says, "This is going to be an opportunity for Nippon Keidanren to know that that is the public view of the business sector and to make an effort to change itself. It is the power of the public that has compelled the nation's business organization to make self-criticism.
The real cause of the defeat of the LDP is in its policies that heavily assisted the financial circles and large corporations in maximizing their profits in disregard of the interests of working people and even at the cost of the well-being of the general public. Such policies are no longer acceptable to anyone. The financial circles and large corporations should be aware of this.
In the changing world, the thinking that the Japan-U.S. military alliance is essential and that military responses are more important than anything else in dealing with various affairs is no longer acceptable. At the National Press Club-sponsored pre-election debate on August 17, attended by political party leaders, there was a moment that made me feel acutely that the present government "has come to an end." Asked if it wasn't appropriate for the Japanese government to support the launching of the Iraq War, Prime Minister Aso not only refused to admit the error but went so far as to defiantly state that the war "produced certain favorable results."
However, we all know that the world has changed completely as far as this issue is concerned. Former U.S. President George W. Bush admitted that his greatest regret in office was the failure in the Iraq War. Barack Obama, who opposed the Iraq War, came to power as U.S. president. In Britain, Tony Blair, who joined with the United States to invade Iraq, was forced to resign. In Australia, then Prime Minister John Howard's party suffered a crushing defeat in the general election and surrendered power to Kevin Rudd's Labor Party, who began to pull Australian forces out of Iraq. All the "comrades in war" have left the stage supporting war. Despite these significant changes taking place in the world, there are people who cannot see them. How close-minded they are! The 21st century is not an era in which the sole superpower can control the world as its will. Obviously, continuing the military-first policy based on the military alliance and putting the major emphasis on military responses to world affairs is not something that the world can continue to accept.
The other is that the public's verdict in the election was not only the rejection of the LDP-Komei government, but a qualified "Yes" vote for the DPJ.
In an Asahi Shimbun survey conducted immediately after the general election, 52 percent of the respondents said that they do not think people chose to vote for the DPJ mainly because of its policies while only 38 percent said they think so. For example, only 31 percent said they support the DPJ proposal for the creation of child allowances in tandem with tax increases, including the abolition of the spouse deduction on taxable income. Although this was the main feature of the DPJ's campaign platform, 49 percent in the poll opposed the proposal. The DPJ's proposal for making the nation's expressways toll-free by using tax money was supported by only 20 percent of the respondents and opposed by 65 percent. In an opinion survey conducted during the election campaign, 80 percent said they feel uncertain about the fiscal resources the DPJ might need to implement its policy proposals. In sum, a majority of the public, fed up with the LDP-Komei policies, tends to bet on a DPJ-led government despite a lot of reservations about it.
In this respect, I have noted the following remark made by DPJ President Hatoyama as an honest statement. He stated it when the election results came to be known.
He said, "I do not take the election results simply as a victory of the Democratic Party. I think that public distrust of politics as well as its despair of and anger at the dysfunction of politics and administration have led to the high voter turnout."
I would like to urge the DPJ, which will soon come to power, to be humble enough to listen to the public as it runs the government.
When the LDP and Komei suffered a major defeat, failing to retain their majority in the July 2007 House of Councilors election, we said that this would pave the way for a new political process in a new era in which the people search for new politics to replace the LDP-Komei rule. The recent general election results show that such an era has come at last.
People's exploration of a new political process may entail various twists and turns as well as trial and error, but an effort to solve various problems in defense of people's livelihoods and world peace will necessarily require Japan to break away from the two evils, subservience to the financial circles and maintenance of the military alliance, and establish a new situation, in which the people are the protagonists. Let us keep advancing with this conviction.
In this historic election, the JCP defended and maintained its nine seats in the proportional representation blocs. With voter turnout rising compared to four years ago, the JCP polled 4,944,000, up from 4,919,000, although its vote share fell to 7.03 percent from the previous 7.25 percent. After the DPJ, the JCP was the only party to increase the number of votes obtained in the proportional representation blocs compared to the previous general election.
In this House of Representatives general election that opened doors to a new history in Japan, the JCP had to undergo an ordeal of exclusionism. The fury that raged during the election campaign at the LDP-Komei government was the source of the energy to enable progress in Japanese politics. We shared this current. At the same time, there was a major campaign asserting that the election was about choosing between the "two major parties." This campaign tempted many voters into throwing support behind the largest opposition Democratic Party. This tendency worked as a device hampering a JCP advance.
We obtained 4,940,000 votes in this fierce election campaign not only by winning an extra 20,000 votes. Exit polls show that 12 percent of JCP supporters voted for the DPJ in the proportional representation blocs. I do not think that these people turned away from the JCP. I think they were prompted to do so by the desire to kick out the LDP-Komei government. I hope they will continue to have expectations for the JCP. At the same time, more than a million people for the first time are believed to have voted for the JCP. We have heard many people, including those from the conservative constituency, say that they decided to vote for the JCP for the first time. I want to underline that this fierce battle and the strenuous efforts by JCP members as well as members of the JCP Supporters' Association, have contributed to obtaining an extra 20,000 votes.
Many of the 4,940,000 people who cast their votes for the JCP did so after reading and examining our election policies carefully. People received the JCP election policy platform we distributed during speeches in the streets. Everywhere throughout the country, we saw people reading the JCP "Manifesto" while listening to our speeches.
After the election, JCP headquarters received a lot of messages of encouragement. One said, "It was good that change of government took place. However, I am concerned about what will happen. Please monitor the new government as an opposition party constructively engaging with government affairs." This person apparently did not vote for the JCP, but he encouraged us. I believe that many of you feel that the number of people who share hopes for the future along with the JCP is increasing.
Given these severe circumstances, the JCP put up a good fight in defending and holding on to its seats by polling 4,940,000 votes, more than what we received in the previous general election. This was made possible by the effort to reach out to the public and share with as many people as possible common ground through publicity and discussions.
I think that it is particularly important that we achieved the present result on our own in cooperation with grassroots movements, not by passively relying on "favorable winds" to blow our way.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who voted for the JCP and who worked hard with us during the election campaign. I also want to thank all JCP candidates in single-seat constituencies as well as proportional representation blocs for their strenuous activities.
In this election campaign, we tried to do our utmost to reach out to voters to explain the JCP's role by making clear that it shares the anger at the LDP-Komei government policies and exploring together with them the new political direction of Japan. On July 16, we issued a JCP Executive Committee statement entitled, "Use the upcoming general election as an opportunity to choose a new direction for Japanese politics by forcing the LDP-Komei coalition out of power", and updated it according to changes in the political situation. I think that our campaign speeches and debates accurately responded to voters' sentiments.
By expressing the stance that the JCP will stand at the forefront of the struggle to drive the LDP-Komei government out of power, we were able to widen the scope of dialogue with voters. The JCP in its election platform called for two major objectives, the establishment of "an economy governed by rules" and an "independent diplomacy rejecting subservience to any foreign country." Thus, it was only the JCP that offered a clear vision for a future Japan no longer under the LDP-Komei rule.
During the campaign, we made it clear that, if the next government is led by the DPJ, we will work hard as "an opposition party constructively engaging" with it. This was received favorably by the public.
On an NHK program aired the day after the election, a political commentator said, "The JCP made a difference by welcoming U.S. President Obama's speech calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The JCP says it will become 'an opposition party of constructive engagement' and will judge the DPJ government for each policy it puts forward. We must keep an eye on the JCP." I hope that the media will indeed pay attention to our activities.
Our political campaign certainly served as the offensive appeal supporting the party's good fight.
Those who have fought in this election in various parts of the country say they feel good about having been able to defend the JCP seats in the House of Representatives. At the same time, there are some who say, "We could have won extra seats," and "It is regrettable that we were unable to increase the number of JCP seats." We share their feelings. It is true that we were unable to achieve our set goal and that we are not content with this result. The JCP Central Committee 9th Plenum in October will be a place for us to reflect on our election campaign and draw lessons from our experience.
I want to emphasize that with this recent general election, we are clearly on our way to become a stronger party. Since the JCP Central Committee 5th Plenum in September 2007, which drew lessons from the House of Councilors election in the same year, we have been at the forefront of the effort to increase social movements in various fields to meet the people's demands for jobs as well as for peace. We have promoted gatherings to explain the JCP Program to the public and together discuss Japan's future on the largest ever scale with about 900,000 people participating. While making efforts to increase the Akahata readership, we have put more energy into recruiting new party members. In the last two years 21,700 people have joined the JCP, and for 22 straight months, the total JCP membership has continued to increase. It is unquestionable that all of these efforts have become the basis for us to put up a good fight in the general election.
At the same time, the JCP Standing Executive Committee stated that the achievements made by these efforts so far are just at the beginning stages and are still developing in view of the need for us to make progress under any difficult circumstances. While I recognize that many people put up a good fight in the election, I must also say that we still need to be even more determined in order to win. This is the most important lesson for us to draw from the general election if we are to achieve a JCP advance in the next national election.
The role that the JCP should play in the emerging political situation will be more important than ever. We are determined to build a larger party to fulfill this task. I want to ask for your cooperation in this effort.
We are meeting today to commemorate the 87th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Communist Party. So, I want to take a look at the present position of the JCP in the context of the post-war history of Japanese politics and try to envisage the future of the nation's politics.
The Liberal Democratic Party has retreated to become an opposition party after suffering a crushing defeat in the general election. This is the most historic event since its founding in 1955, except for its temporary surrender of power for about 10 months from 1993 to 1994 when it was replaced by a "non-LDP coalition government". Incidentally, Hatoyama Ichiro, Hatoyama Yukio's grandfather, was the founding president of the LDP in 1955. In the same year, the Socialist Party, which had been divided into the left group and the right group, was reunited. This political realignment was called by the mass media the "1955 system". That was the year when the JCP restored party unity after putting an end to the division associated with party interference from the Soviet Union. Let me talk about the JCP's position in the context of the history of Japanese politics since the founding of the LDP in 1955.
Roughly speaking, I think the last half century of Japanese politics can be divided into three periods.
The first period was marked by a confrontation between the conservative forces and the progressive forces. The relationships between the ruling parties and the opposition parties in the early stages of this period were often referred to as the "1955 system". On the conservative side, that was the beginning of the long LDP government. The Socialist Party of Japan was described as the representative of the Opposition. The LDP and the SPJ appeared to be in sharp confrontation. However, the two camps had a cozy relationship behind closed doors.
A series of JCP advances in parliamentary elections during the period between the late 1960s and the early 1970s exposed this cozy relationship. The JCP and the joint progressives won 40 seats in the 1972 general election, making it impossible to continue politicking posh in restaurants. Until then, the LDP used to invite opposition party leaders to classy Japanese restaurants in the Akasaka district of Tokyo. On the day after the vote counting in the 1972 House of Representatives general election, Tokyo Shimbun reported that the LDP was afraid that the JCP would not accept its invitation to Akasaka restaurants. The headline of the article was "A JCP shock". Its subheading said, "Collusion and backdoor dealings rejected, and collusive politicking monitored". The article begins with a description of what a top leader of the LDP was saying. "First Deputy Secretary-General Takeshita Noboru said to a reporter close to him, 'I am totally perplexed.' He was at a loss when a major JCP advance, which was more than expected, turned out to be a hard fact." The article also stated, "Nights in Akasaka, things of the past for politicians?" The JCP advance caused such a great change.
In local politics, progressive local governments spread throughout the country to the point where they represented 43 percent of the total population. The progressive united front movement, which gained strength at local levels, also developed at the national level. The JCP and the SPJ concluded an agreement on a progressive united front on three occasions. These developments came as a great shock to the ruling forces as moves that could endanger the whole political establishment.
The second period was one of counteroffensives by the forces of political reaction, followed by the emergence of all political parties, except for the JCP, as ruling parties." Alarmed by the rapid JCP advances, the ruling forces began an operation to isolate and completely silence the JCP in the mid-1970s, using anti-communist rhetoric. They falsely described the JCP as a "party of violence and dictatorship". They also used tactics to win the SPJ and the General Council of Trade Unions (Sohyo) over to their side in order to drive a wedge between parties participating in the progressive front. In 1980, the SPJ and the Komei Party concluded an agreement to exclude the JCP from any future coalition government. The agreement also confirmed their approval of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which created a decisive momentum to these changes. These developments were decisive in carrying out the anti-communist tactic of operation.
Later, the exclusion of the JCP was brought into all political spheres. The phrase "excluding the JCP" was always used by media reporting parliamentary news. In those days, when a TV news anchor used to refer to the JCP only when the news was about something done by all parties "except for the JCP".
Progressive local governments were destroyed one after another, and the system of "all are ruling parties except for the JCP" began to prevail in local politics across Japan.
Even though the JCP was forced to suffer a certain setback, it maintained its foothold in national politics as well as its party strength, and unyieldingly faced up to the offensives. In the united front movement, we proposed a major policy of increasing cooperation between the JCP and non-partisan groups and individuals. This led to the founding of the National Forum for Peace, Democracy, and Progressive Change (Kakushinkon) in 1981. The movement is continuing to develop with a broad range of people participating and is showing its increased vitality.
At local government levels, new moves to create progressive democratic governments increased among the JCP and nonpartisan people. We see these moves continuing to develop, though with twists and turns, in several municipalities, including Komae City (Tokyo), Rikuzen-takata City (Iwate), and Warabi City (Saitama).
The significance of the struggle in the difficult period is seen clearer when we look back on it later.
The JCP's quest for new cooperation with conscientious people who are concerned about the future, unyielding to the tactics of excluding the JCP increased their underlying trust of the JCP and won new friends. I want to emphasize that most of what we are today is due to the unyielding struggle during this period.
People's struggles and the unstoppable JCP activities have exposed contradictions and rips in the "all-are-ruling-parties" scheme. In April 1989, when the consumption tax was introduced, public opposition shook the nation. In the Chiba gubernatorial election in March 1989 and the Nagoya mayoral election in April, the progressive candidates supported by the JCP polled more than 40 percent of the votes by campaigning against candidates backed by all parties except for the JCP. These high percentages shocked the ruling forces. The mass media at the time described the situation as a "seismic change".
The all-are-ruling-parties system appears to be powerful, but its fragility is exposed clearly when it fails. When it fails, only the JCP is left there to listen to people's voices of criticism. So the ruling forces began to perceive the fragility and limitations to the system. As a measure to make up for the limitations of the tactics to contain the JCP, the ruling forces began to adopt a new tactic. This was the move to establish a "two party" system as the basis of Japan's political framework.
The third period is the period of the JCP struggle against the moves toward establishing a "two-party" system. It began in 1993. The moves were led by the financial circles, and carried out in tandem with a plan to introduce a single-seat constituency system. The ruling circles had two aims behind this move.
One was (and continues to be) to establish a "two-party" system that will allow change of power only within the LDP's political framework and thereby make two parties vie with one another, with a view to prolonging the LDP rule which was in crisis.
The other aim is to totally shut out the JCP from the Japanese political scene and possibly to destroy the JCP by using dual tactics of introducing a single-seat constituency system and pushing the propaganda that there is no choice other than the two major parties.
Have the ruling circles achieved these aims?
In retrospect, it is clear that the moves toward establishing a "two-party" system had to change their approach as the no-way-out situation of the decline in LDP government deepened. In my opinion, the moves toward a "two-party" system can be seen in three stages, by using the House of Representatives elections directly affecting political power as a benchmark. Where the JCP stands now is the historical consequence of how it has been in the past.
The first stage was the House of Representatives general election in 1993, when the move to set up a "two-party" system emerged.
At that time, the various corruption scandals such as the Recruit Cosmos scandal, and rigged bids by general contractor construction companies, revealed the LDP as grossly tainted by money power corruption. Thinking that the LDP cannot win people's support, some LDP members spun off from the LDP and formed a "non-LDP" coalition with the Socialist Party, the Komei Party, and the Democratic Socialist Party, forcing on the people a false choice between the LDP and the non-LDP. "LDP or non-LDP" worked as the popular catchword of the time. Such a climate caused a fierce wind blowing against the JCP.
The 1993 general election was the first national election for me to run as a JCP candidate from former Chiba No. 1 constituency. The strong wind against the JCP and the fact that I was a lesser-known candidate made media forecasters say that my gaining office was "hopeless". However, the election turned out to be a memorable one for me, as I was elected with significant help from JCP supporters in the constituency and all over the country.
During the election campaign, a TV interviewer asked me, "Which are you for, LDP or non-LDP? Isn't the JCP left out of the political inner circle?" I replied, "Being inside the inner circle is the problem. Inside there are money-tainted bugs and mosquitoes thirsty for blood from a consumption tax increase. I will gladly stay out of the dirty inner circle."
The first statement announced by the non-LDP coalition government formed as a result of the election was one of publicly declaring that it will continue with the LDP government's basic policies of the past. In fact, the non-LDP government outdid the LDP in carrying out undemocratic policies, such as the introduction of a single-seat constituency system and government subsidies to political parties, liberalizing rice imports, and a late night announcement of a plan to increase the consumption tax.
The "two-party" doctrine of this period was marked by a brazen slogan that "All will go well, since the change of government remains within the LDP political framework". Although the LDP government was seriously declining in power, it still retained a certain amount of strength to support such an assertion.
However, the "non-LDP" government faced people's criticism, and it collapsed after its internal contradictions surfaced. Moves toward a "two-party system" continued, as seen in a plan to set up the New Frontier Party (Shinshinto). All these attempts ended up in failure. This was followed by repeated splits and mergers of parties.
Against this backdrop, public trust and support of the JCP for its consistency suddenly increased, and the JCP in national elections in the latter half of the 1990s made a great advance. The JCP got 7,260,000 votes in the 1996 House of Representatives general election and 8,200,000 votes in the 1998 House of Councilors election. Such record votes showed that the JCP choice of staying out of the dirty inner circle was more than appropriate. The series of advances showed how important it is for the JCP to always stand up for the people and their interests.
The second stage began from the 2003 general election.
The JCP advances in the late 1990s gave a sense of crisis to the financial circles. They were alarmed by a possible calamity for Japan if the JCP was allowed to develop as such. They thought that politicians should no longer be left in charge of the matter, and that large corporations must directly control the situation and set up a mechanism of a "two-party system". Thus, the 2003 general election was the first occasion in which the moves for a "two-party system" were under the control of the financial circles.
The Japanese Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) was the first script writer. In October 2002, it published the following proposals: (1) Electoral methods need to shift to a choice over government power in which the party in power confronts the largest opposition party; (2) Proportional representation component should be eliminated to make the electoral system consist exclusively of a single-seat constituency system.
Next, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) began to be the mastermind behind the scheme. In its proposal published in January 2003, the federation gave a command to set up a "two-party system", stating, "The alternative party should grow out of being a mere critical force against the government and the ruling parties, and acquire competence to replace the government any time and win people's trust."
In July 2003, an agreement of a merger between the former Democratic Party and the Liberal Party was announced. The script writer was the financial circles as before. In September of the same year, a new system of political funds was introduced. It was a system of brazen policy-buying in which Nippon Keidanren decides how much they donate to political parties according to its assessment of how much a party agrees to Keidanren's one-sided political requests.
Thus, an arrangement was set up in advance with an all-out effort of the financial circles as the script writer, and in the unprecedented campaigns for the 2003 general election, voters were forced to choose between the LDP or the DPJ, both under the complete control of the financial circles. Though the JCP resolutely fought back by critically analyzing the sudden change of the political map, it was obliged to suffer a setback.
In retrospect, it is clear that the 2003 general election was one in which the financial circles had a complete command over both the LDP and the DPJ. On the surface, the two parties were confrontational. However, both parties called for a consumption tax increase and constitutional revision, even vying with one another over how far they would go. The 2003 election was marked by the two parties' rivalry for undemocratic government under the control of the financial circles.
This is clear from rereading the DPJ manifesto which it published at the time. It had no action plan to replace the LDP-Komei government. Instead, it stated as follows:
"If a change of government takes place, Japan will enter an era of a two-party system in full gear. The LDP will be forced to reform itself, and party-based politics in Japan will be fully developed into one worthy of the 21st century."
Thus, the goal was to set up a two-party system capable of taking turns in power. In this design, the LDP was not the party to overcome but a key partner of a two-party system.
However, contradictions between the people and the LDP government have become more serious than before. Japanese politics came to a stage in which the past political methods do no good at all.
The 2009 House of Representatives general election marks the third stage.
The LDP-Komei coalition government's "structural reform" policy only increased the poverty rate and widened the social gap all over Japan. At the same time, the LDP rule underwent a rapidly declining process.
In the 2005 general election, the LDP focused on the "postal privatization" issue and survived its crisis thanks to then Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's deceptive slogan calling for the LDP to be destroyed. Nevertheless, the clearer the LDP's deception and lies became, the further the LDP ran down the slope toward its final collapse by rapidly losing public support.
The Democratic Party was forced to review its approach of competing with the LDP for the capability to implement policies that both parties call for in common, as it did in the 2003 general election. The DPJ appeared in the recent general election by declaring a tougher "confrontation" with the LDP by saying that "Japan needs a regime." In its "2009 Manifesto" the DPJ called for an "end to the old political structure that forces the public to suffer," meaning an end to "old politics led by the bureaucracy". For all its insufficiency, it should be noted that the DPJ has had to publicly state that it will "oppose" the "old political system." This change came as the LDP government was deepening the process of its rapid decline as well as a drastic increase in public criticism of and anger at this government.
The DPJ's major policies, along with the call "End the LDP-Komei government," take on two new aspects: "competition" with the LDP in a declining process and the offer of some policies that reflect the demands of the public.For example, these new DPJ policies include a call for a 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, a strong mid-term goal, which contradicts the business circles' proposals. Amid the political attempt to establish a "two-party system" under the business circles' direction, a new situation has emerged that goes beyond their original scheme and in certain respects far beyond their expectations.
Thus, the emerging situation was what the business circles had not expected.
First, let's look at the consequence of the attempt to establish a "two-party" structure aimed at allowing the LDP-led government to survive. Far from "surviving," the very structure of the LDP government, which was to be the main part of the two-party system, began to collapse.
The decline was so steep that some mass media even encouraged the LDP to "rebuild itself as an opposition party." No one knows whether it can be rebuilt. Some business leaders are saying that the LDP should do its part as an opposition party constructively engaging with the government. However, it will not be easy for the LDP to act constructively as an opposition party.
The LDP is so confused at this point that its members are divided over who to vote for in the election of the next prime minister at the upcoming Special Session of the Diet. The LDP's political and organizational disintegration is very serious. Despite the "two-party system" campaign, the business circles have driven the LDP, one of the "two major parties", into a quagmire, which will mean the demise of the LDP itself.
Second, what about the business circles' attempt to isolate the Japanese Communist Party, its activities, and even its existence? It failed. In all the four general elections since 2003, when the drive in favor of a "two-party" system was launched, the JCP succeeded in getting more than four millions votes, and in the recent general election, it came close to obtaining five million votes.
When the JCP successfully maintained its footholds in these national elections by displaying its bold fighting spirit meant that the business circles' failed to oust the party from political arena, Japan's ruling class has had to admit that they made their greatest mistake. This is the point that I want to stress.
The LDP, the party they wanted to survive, is on the brink of collapse, while the JCP, the party they wanted to disappear, is increasing its strength and is full of energy. Note that public criticisms are now being focused on the business circles, in addition to the LDP, for its high-handedly anti-people campaign. Isn't this an ironical and wonderful of events?
Friends! Who have helped to bring about such drastic changes? None other than the general public who have been hit hard and damaged in many ways by the LDP government; the public struggling for better living conditions and peace in Japan and the JCP struggling undauntedly in solidarity with the people.Again in view of these historical developments, the JCP's fight in the latest general election bears a great historical meaning.
In these three periods since 1955, the JCP has undauntedly struggled, overcoming all the forms of suppression launched by the ruling class that regarded the JCP as the bitter enemy.
We can say with conviction that these JCP efforts formed the decisive factor that drove the LDP rule to its demise.
We must further struggle against the scheme to establish the "two major parties system." They are still attempting to eliminate the JCP from Japan's political arena. It is no exaggeration to say that the outcome of this engagement will greatly affect Japan's future.
I again emphasize that the JCP's existence and support at the grassroots level as well as its persistent existence in the national political arena will decisively affect Japan's future course.
(To be continued)