Fuwa Tetsuzo Japanese Communist Party Central Committee Chair
Speech marking the 50th Anniversary of the Bandung Conference and of the founding of the Japan AALA
(Translated by Japan Press Service)
Good afternoon, everyone.
I thank you all for attending this assembly organized by the Japan Asia Africa Latin America Solidarity Committee (Japan AALA) to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Japan AALA as well as the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference.
I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude to ambassadors and other diplomats for their presence.
I want to talk today about how we view the world in which the Japanese solidarity movement is working on: Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. The world has undergone major changes during these years, and the biggest structural change was the near total disappearance of colonialism. In other words, the regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America became a group of independent nations.
The early part of the 20th century was an era of imperialism. In those days an academic who studied imperialism characterized the state of the world at the time as a world in which monopoly capitalist countries with a total population of 550 million ruled colonial or dependent countries with a total population of 1.1 billion. In that era, about two-thirds of the world population that lived in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were under the control of imperialism and were not allowed entry into the international community.
This setting has completely been changed during the last 60 years since the end of World War II.
Of course, these countries that achieved political independence by breaking free from the imperialist yoke or state of dependence still face various problems and difficulties. Their efforts to pave their own ways regarding development will vary.
But one thing is certain. All people in the world have become the protagonists of their respective countries, marking the beginning of a new era in which every citizen can take part without exception in the international community.
I think this is the biggest change we can see in the present-day world as we stand at the 60th year since the end of World War II.
Historically, in human society people were the sovereigns of their respective communities. It was only recently, and that for a very short period of time, that a handful of the so-called "industrial countries" placed the world under their control.
Let's take a brief look at human history.
Human kind was born in Africa and spread throughout the world. About two million years ago, the species of Homo Habilis lived in the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. It took a very long time for them to spread throughout the world through various stages of evolution. The last continent to be reached by humans was the Americas. It is said that about 15,000 years ago, the first humans crossed what is now the Bering Strait. In those days, Asia, Europe and America were connected by land.
That was how human beings spread throughout the world.
Our ancestors in their settlements throughout the world developed their societies on their own. So, in the pre-capitalist period, there was no fixed form of world domination by so-called developed countries.
Karl Marx, who is our great predecessor, argued in Capital that the modern history of life under capitalism began in the 16th century.
What was the world like in the 14th and 15th centuries? What was it like, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America?
I want to trace the human history in order to think about what the world should be like in the future.
Let's take a look at the state of the world in the 14th and 15th centuries.
In Japan, the Ashikaga Shogunate was established in the mid-14th century. The Warring State period began in the second half of the 15th century and lasted till the mid 16th century.
In Asia, the Ottoman Empire of the Middle East was rapidly expanding its influence as an Islamic state even into Europe via the Balkans. The major concern of Europe at that time was how to stop the Ottoman Empire's expansion.
In its easternmost expansion, India ushered in an era of the Five Islamic Dynasties. The Islamic state continued for five generations. The Indian state regime was established in that era with Delhi as its capital. The regime centered on Delhi was taken over by the Mogul Empire in the 16th century, another Islamic state.
In China, the era of the Min Dynasty replaced the Yuan Dynasty to establish its empire in the mid 14th century. And the Min Dynasty was replaced by the Qing Dynasty in the mid 17th century. The Min Dynasty made one of the world's major historic accomplishments by organizing the so-called south expedition in a fleet with Zhenghe as its commander. In its seven voyages, the fleet traversed not only Southeast Asia but also the Indian Ocean to reach the Arabian Peninsula and Africa's east coast. These seven major voyages paved the way for exchanges with these regions in the first half of the 15th century.
Nation states were established in other regions, too.
Korea was under the rule of Yi family. In Vietnam, it was the period of the Dai Viet (Great Viet) Dynasty.
Asia's development in this period was based on these nation states.
In the Americas, the Aztec Empire was established in the 14th century in Central America and the Inca Empire was established in South America in the 13th century. Both empires were on the way of independent development in the 14th and 15th centuries until they were conquered and ruined by European invasions in the 16th century.
Finally, Africa. We have long had contacts with North African countries and the Southern African liberation movements, but we have had little contacts with the rest of the African continent. African history has not been familiar to us. Two years ago, I was invited to visit Tunisia to attend the Congress of the Tunisian governing party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD). In Tunis, I had the opportunity to have meetings with representatives of many of the sub-Saharan countries. We have also increased relations with African embassies in Tokyo.
Studying the history of Africa, I had a pleasant surprise regarding the region's social, economic, and political development in the period preceding the capitalist intrusion.
This is what I have learned about Africa in the 14th and 15th centuries. Egypt is well known as one of the places that gave birth to Egypt and Tunisia, but sub Saharan regions had four major regions as centers of social and cultural development. These regions, in major river valleys, underwent independent cultural as well as political development. That was how regional development took place, giving birth to many countries, which continued developing in their own ways in the 14th and 15th centuries.
There is a big river called the River Niger in the south of the Sahara Desert that is 4,200km long. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Kingdom of Mali and its successor Kingdom of Songhay prospered. In its capital city called Timbuktu, there was a university with about 25,000 students. I learned that it was a powerhouse of trading, religion, and scientific research.
To the south, there is a big river, the Rive Zaire (now the Congo River, 4,700km) that crosses the Equator . There were nations like the Congo, Luba, and Lunda. The Kingdom of Congo began exchanges with Portugal in the 15th century. According to historical records, Portuguese visiting this kingdom were very surprised to see the well-organized bureaucratic machinery that governed a vast area with a length of 480km between the northern end and the southern end and almost the same length between the eastern and western end.
In southeastern Africa, there are the Zambezi River (3,500km) and the Limpopo River (1,800km) which flow into the Indian Ocean. Great social and cultural development took place in these regions as well. There existed the Great Zimbabwe, Tulwa, and Mutaba nations. In Zimbabwe, there are remains of the main city of Great Zimbabwe. These remains of the city surrounded by stone walls are said to be the greatest in Africa. It was a big city with a population of about 18,000. This represents a major socio-economic development taking place, doesn't it?
In its north along the Indian Ocean, many port cities prospered as trading cities. Kilwa was the best known among these cities. The Arab traveler Ibn Batuta wrote of his impressions of the city when he visited it for the first time in the early 14th century. He described Kilwa as the world's most beautiful city and one of the most well-organized cities.
Africa's biggest river is the Nile (6,650km), and Egypt prospered in its lower reaches. In Nubia, the hinterland in the upper reaches of the Nile, social development took place independently. It was characterized by the emergence of a Christian state, which was rare in Africa, in the 5th or the 6th century. The dynasty's rule continued into the 14th or 15th century. In later years, Islamic states took control of this region.
Thus, the African continent recorded activities of many kingdoms with social, cultural, and political development taking place in different ways in various parts of the continent.
This was the state of the 14th and 15th century Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Of course, there were rises and falls of societies in various countries. Although conquests and wars took place, the countries of the world were not grouped into ruler and ruled countries in a fixed form. In a larger perspective, Asia, Africa, and Latin America were independent societies taking their own courses of development. This was how the world existed 600-700 years ago.
No European nations in the 14th and 15th centuries had a privileged position in the world as they were to have in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the 14th century, the Iberian Peninsula was in the process of the Reconquista, and part of Spain was under the influence of Islam until the late 15th century. In the 15th century, that part of the world was under constant threats from the Ottoman Empire from the Balkans.
All this clearly shows that the world of Asia, Africa, and Latin America had significant weight and occupied a large part of the pre-capitalist world.
This can be evidenced by the fact that out of the 634 historical cultural assets registered as world heritages by UNESCO as of the end of 2004 (including 23 which have been registered also as natural heritages) 293 or 46% are cultural heritages of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. These figures represent the extent to which research has achieved in confirming them as world heritages. Taking into account the slow pace of research and confirmation as world heritages, the weight of Asia, Africa, and Latin America may be greater than the presently designated 46%.
How was the world turned into one made up of ruler and ruled countries? The answer is clear. The 16th century was the turning point when European capitalist countries began expanding as dominant global forces. This expansion in the 19th century brought about major African divisions as the result of the European powers' colonization of African countries. The United States and Japan joined Europeans in the scramble for colonies, bringing the territorial redistribution of the world to a completion in the early 20th century. Thus, the world came under the domination of the major capitalist countries in the early 20th century. This was the process in which the "developed countries" established colonialism as a means of world domination.
The collapse of colonialism meant the termination of this global system of domination.
In the final analysis, the privileged rule by the developed countries lasted only 200-300 years, which is a tiny portion of the thousands of years of human history since the birth of human civilizations.
The second half of the 20th century witnessed an end of this domination.
In this sense, it would be correct to say that human society in the 21st century has taken back its position in which all nations can have their own lands under their control. So, this is the main point I found as I looked back on history.
Let's take a look at the political influence this structural change has brought about in world politics. This is the second theme I want to take up in this speech. I think that the structural changes caused by the collapse of colonialism have had significant bearings on world peace.
What kind of world order for peace should we establish in the 21st century? How can we develop a 'world order without war'? This is a major question facing the world at present. This has been manifest in the attitude of the international community toward the Iraq War.
When the Iraq War began in defiance of strong opposition or protests from many people around the world, there was a widespread view that the United Nations was helpless after all. Some people became apathetic, saying "After all, the stronger will prevail."
But the situation we witnessed in relation to the Iraq War and the position of the international community was opposite to the view we held. When I was invited by the Osaka AALA to speak at an assembly in Osaka in May 2003, shortly after the war against Iraq began, I emphasized that no time in the past had there been a period since the end of World War II in which the United Nations held such a serious discussion before the outbreak of a war over whether it would be a just war or not.
The second half of the 20th century saw various wars in the world. The United States carried out a war of aggression against Vietnam. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. In both cases, no real discussions took place. The United Nations only showed its inability to intervene in any war in which the big powers take part in or promote. But in the case of the Iraq War, the U.N. Security Council continued discussions to the last minute.
Protests were staged in huge demonstrations and marches in many countries with 500 thousand or one million people taking part. It was unprecedented that a worldwide movement developed in such a large scale before the start of a war. At the time of the Vietnam War, it was only after a major escalation of the war that the anti-war movement spread and the White House was encircled by protesters.
It was characteristic in the recent Iraq War that both at the United Nations and in the popular movements throughout the world that people did not stop with a call for the superpower's recklessness to be checked; they went as far as to demand the establishment of a world order that does not tolerate aggression in any form and to defend the U.N. Charter. In other words, the major concern of the international community was to establish a world order of peace as expressed in the slogan calling for the defense of the U.N. Charter.
This means that the present task is for the international community to establish rules for peace to allow no country, regardless of size, to go to war without the consent of the international community. I think this is the task the 21st century world has to undertake.
Looking back on history, the movement which I have just outlined is the second wave in the quest for a world order of peace.
The first wave swept forward toward the end of World War II. That was following Germany's defeat in Europe. The war with Japan was in the final stage. In June 1945, the U.N. Charter was adopted at an international conference held in San Francisco. With this, the international community established a mechanism for a world order that guarantees peace that represents the wishes of the peoples of the world for no more wars of aggression. The question is how can the rules for peace be defended. Under the international conditions at the time, it was believed that peace hinges on cooperation between the five powers. The idea was that the five powers -- the United States, Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and China which joined forces in the war against fascism -- would be able to defend the rules for peace against any new outlaws if the five powers maintain their cooperation and unity. This was the position on which the international community sought to rely on the cooperation of the five powers to ensure that the rules for peace are defended. This is the feature of the "peace wave" at the time.
However, the postwar developments were beyond what had been expected. At the time when World War II ended, the five powers managed to maintain their cooperation. But it was soon replaced by a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. As in the U.S. war of aggression against Vietnam or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the established rules for peace proved to be ineffective.
Thus, the U.S.-Soviet confrontation put the question of world peace behind the main stage of world politics in which the United Nations was long unable to intervene in superpowers' wars, no matter how lawless they were.
We are now witnessing the coming of the second wave calling for a peaceful world order.
The "second wave" we are witnessing today is not just a repetition or an extension of the first wave that swept forward in the aftermath of World War II. It shows a major new development. Let me examine it from two points.
The first point is that concerning the rules for defending world peace, the right to national self-determination, which stands for the principle of sovereign independence for all nations, is defined as a major pillar for maintaining the world order.
In fact, the U.N. Charter does not use the term the "right to national self-determinationh to mean the right to independence of peoples of colonial countries. On the purpose of the United Nations, Article 1 of the U.N. Charter states: "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.h This provision is mainly about countries which are independent and did not imply that all peoples under the yoke of colonialism have the right to independence. It reflected the historical limitations in the sense that colonialism had not collapsed yet and that the Perm Five at the time included France and Britain which still held many colonies.
The right to self-determination was not provided for by the U.N. Charter, but it was established with major emphasis as a principle of the international order for the first time by the liberation movements of Asia and Africa in the 1955 Asian-African Conference (Bandung Conference).
The Bandung Conference set forward the 10 principles of peace, which elaborated on the U.N. Charter, making it clear that guaranteeing the right to national self-determination is a prerequisite for world peace. The "Declaration on Promotion of World Peace and Cooperation,h which was unanimously passed at this conference. (The10 Principles of Peace were included in this declaration.) . In the paragraph preceding the 10 principles, it stated:
"Freedom and peace are interdependent. The right of self-determination must be enjoyed by all peoples. All nations should have the right to freely choose their own political and economic systems and their own way of life, in conformity with the purposes and principles of the U.N."
The Bandung Conference of 50 years ago declared that the right to independence and the right to self-determination must be granted to all colonial and dependent countries and that this is the major principle of the international community. It made it clear that this principle accords with the purpose and principles of the U.N. Charter.
A little later, the United Nations endorsed this point. In 1960, five years after the Bandung Conference, the 15th United Nations General Assembly adopted the "Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.h This is the first U.N. resolution to declare that placing peoples of other countries under colonial control is in contravention of the U.N. Charter. This was a declaration that colonialism must end swiftly without condition. This decision of the Asian-African Conference in a short time influenced the world and become the common expression of international will.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference. Leaders of more than 100 countries will meet in Indonesia for an Asian-African Summit to mark the 50th anniversary on April 21. Since we are here today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference, I want to draw your attention to the significance the 1955 Bandung Conference had on history.
The second point we should pay attention to with regard to the development of the "second waveh is the fact that the structural changes in the world are providing the power that will guarantee a peaceful world order.
I said that during the period of the first post-war wave following the adoption of the U.N. Charter, the international community sought to count on the cooperation between the five big powers in maintaining the international order. That's not the case at present. The structural change that does not allow the tyranny of superpowers is often referred to as "multi-polarization.h It is in fact a driving force for achieving and maintaining the international peace.
Asia, Africa, and Latin America have a total population of five billion, which accounts for 81% of 6.2-billion world population, and they include China, Vietnam, and Cuba, which are seeking to build socialism as well as Japan, a developed capitalist country. An overwhelming majority of the countries in these regions have achieved independence during the last 60 years and are making efforts to build new nations.
The strong power of these regions was demonstrated at the time of the Iraq War. I previously stated that a major debate took place in the international community over this war. When the war was about to begin, 49 countries with a population of 1.2 billion expressed their support for the war. The world's majority was in opposition to or reluctant to support the war. Their total population was five billion. This contrast, 5 billion against and 1.2 billion in favor, shows that the overwhelming majority of the international community refused to endorse the war without proper justification. It is important to note that the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America were decisive in creating this contrast.
In this sense, the future of world peace and rules for maintaining international peace hinges on the actions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This is what the present-day world is about, isn't it?
In the present peace movement, it is important above everything else to make clear that it does not condone the hegemony of big powers trying to influence the world or the tyranny of belligerent unilateralism which the U.N. Charter prohibits. Most of the Asian, African, and Latin American countries are firm in their opposition to all forms of hegemony. I think this is derived from these countries' long history of suffering from colonialism or hegeony.
When the war on Iraq was imminent, the Japanese Communist Party carried out various diplomatic activities and we were encouraged by the strong wishes for peace expressed by Asian, African, and Latin American countries.
In 2002, the year before the outbreak of the Iraq War, the JCP sent delegations to China, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and held talks with these governments on the issue of the then imminent Iraq war. In Tokyo, we held talks with a Vietnamese government leader. Throughout these talks, we agreed with these governments on opposition to the planned war on Iraq and the U.S. unilateralism pushing for it. We also fully agreed with them on the importance of defending the rules for world peace based on the U.N. Charter. These are the governments that may have differences with us on other issues. But we found common ground with them on the issue of peace. The sequence of events that include the Iraq War and the subsequent affairs has shown how appropriate it was for the JCP to discuss with these governments and confirm each other's position on this issue.
We hope that the Asian, African, and Latin American countries will play an even greater role in the effort to build a world order of peace in opposition to hegemony. We will do all we can to contribute to this struggle.
I want to take this occasion to emphasize that it is increasingly important for Japan as a member of Asia, Africa, and Latin America to carry out diplomacy that will earn the trust and respect of the countries of these regions in the 21st century.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Needless to say, Japan can only earn trust and understanding from other countries by clearly expressing its remorse for its history of the war of aggression in Asia and the colonization of Asian countries.
In Japan, the biggest political issue at present is whether the Constitution should be amended, in particular whether its Article 9 should be discarded. In considering this issue, it is very important to seek to earn trust and understanding from countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Japanese Constitution's Article 9, which takes the lead in declaring renunciation of war and abandoning war potential as well as the right to belligerence is well known internationally. Japan gives a good impression to many countries primarily because of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution. I am terribly concerned about the Japanese government choosing to discard this Constitution in order to take the path of sharing its destiny with U.S. unilateralism because it will cause the country to take a wrong turn in the 21st century as a member of the world of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Let me now move on to the JCP's experience with opposition party diplomacy with the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
In the past, the JCP's diplomacy was mainly with foreign Communist parties. In 1999, we visited Southeast Asian countries. With this, we set out to broaden our contacts and exchanges with governments and governing parties in Asian, African, and Latin American countries. In Malaysia and Singapore, where we were visiting for the first time, we sought to first talk with them hoping that this should be the way to open the way, as the Japanese saying goes: "Challenge it without thinking of the outcome." This was how we knocked on the door in these countries. The result was more beneficial than expected. We were very pleased to have positive responses from them.
In the several years since our Southeast Asia tour, we have established friendly relations with many countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and have taken part in international conferences. We sent a delegation to the Non-Aligned Summit as a member of the Japan Asia Africa Latin America Solidarity Committee (AALA). We also attended the meetings of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In February, JCP International Bureau Director OGATA Yasuo (House of Councilors member) attended the Latin American countries' Summit on Social Debt in Caracas, Venezuela. The JCP was the only Asian participant.
On the eve of the Summit on Social Debt, the JCP delegation had talks with Venezuelan government officials in which the Venezuelan officials proposed establishing relations between the Venezuelan government and the Japanese Communist Party. Thus, we established relations of firm solidarity with the growing Latin American movement for social change.
How was JCP diplomacy embraced in such a short period of time by so many countries?
Japan's diplomacy is often associated with "powerh and "money.h In contrast, the JCP has no military force or money as a means of diplomacy. All we have is enthusiasm for peace and friendship, plus reason and justice.
In our diplomacy, we have had the conviction that reason and justice exert power and serve as the source of trust in Japan among Asian, African, and Latin American countries.
Let me expound on this issue. I think there are several important factors on our part.
First, the JCP maintains the position of sovereign independence. This has been widely known internationally in relation with our long struggle against Soviet interference, our firm opposition to the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan and the Mao Zedong group's interference. For example, in our contacts with the Islamic world, we have found that the easiest way to make the JCP known is to introduce ourselves as the party that stood up against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Second, on all international issues, including that of world peace, the JCP speaks out and acts with reason. This is confirmed by history.
On the issue of Japan's historical mistakes, the JCP's position is confirmed by the fact that it put up a life-and-death struggle against the Japanese war of aggression and colonial rule.
In international politics, the JCP with reason and justice has opposed all wars of aggression and other lawless acts by any country.
Third. The JCP envisages a future Japan to be achieved through breaking away from the military alliance and diplomacy subservient to the United States and establishing peace, independence, non-alignment, and neutrality for Japan.
When we visit other countries, we do not have sufficient time to introduce ourselves including all these things. So we make it a rule to carry copies of the leaflet entitled "Profile of the JCP,h which contains a summary of what we need to explain. We usually begin discussions by distributing this English leaflet. Then, the other side would take a look at it as we proceed with discussions and make comments on our policies, expressing their agreement with us on certain issues.
It is also important that in having relations with Asian, African, and Latin American countries, we have strictly observed the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs and respected the present state of social development as well as the culture and history of the country we deal with.
In the JCP Program revised in January 2004, we established a policy of "dialogue and coexistence with cultures with differing valuesh as a main element of our diplomacy.
In having relations with other countries, we always try to study the history of those countries and understand how their peoples made efforts to achieve political independence and economic development. In other words, we try to understand the internal logic of development of those countries as much as possible. One thing we always bear in mind when we have relations with other countries is that we refrain from trying to force others to accept our criteria or values.
In the JCP 23rd Congress (January 2004), we added the following policies concerning the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, in addition to the definition which I have stated.
The people and political forces of the country have the right to choose their path of social progress without outside interference;
We will study the state of affairs for every country that we have relations with, and try to adopt all valuable things they have produced. Even if we find in them something that does not fit in with our way of thinking or something problematic, or even if it takes too much time to resolve those problems, we will not criticize them, because such a way of dealing with differences is an interventionist way and has nothing in common with the JCP's approach.
We will publicly counter any unjustifiable attacks or interference from governments or political parties of other countries. As long as we can maintain relations without such attacks being made, we will strictly observe the principle of non-interference in internal affairs concerning the domestic affairs of other countries, and we make public criticism only when attacks and interference in our affairs are about issues that have international bearings or issues that may have harmful effects on the world.
These are principles the JCP has upheld for several decades as part of its foreign policy principles. This is an important moderation we should maintain when developing relations with various kinds of countries and promoting coexistence of different cultures.
Speaking of the countries that embrace our diplomatic activities, we need to take into consideration that many Asian, African, and Latin American countries are earnestly seeking to defend peace and increase solidarity with Japan. It seems that many people find an ideal image of Japan in the policies and activities of the Japanese Communist Party.
In addition, I strongly feel that the extreme anti-communism that used to discourage people from having relations with a communist party is disappearing. This is an important background against which our international activities are developing.
Indeed, rabid anti-communism is now history. There is the present-day tendency to agree to have relations with any party with policies and actions that have reason and justice.
In the Japanese political world, anti-communism still persists, which is used to attempt to exclude the JCP from the political arena. Although Japan is often referred to as a major "advancedh country, in this respect, we must admit that it is still a backward country.
Lastly, I'd like to talk about several points in relation to our present activities. There are three issues that attract our attention concerning developments in AALA countries.
Let me begin with the Third International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) held last year in Beijing. The first ICAPP was held in 2000 in Manila. The venue of the conference was then moved to Bangkok, Thailand three years ago. The 2nd ICAPP was the first to invite the JCP. I attended the 3rd ICAPP in Beijing with OGATA Yasuo, JCP International Bureau director.
The ICAPP is an international conference that embraces all Asian parties that are legally working as ruling or opposition parties. Many government leaders, including presidents and prime ministers, as well as political party heads or secretaries-general assemble there. This international meeting is unique in that it provides the participants, ruling or opposition, with an opportunity to meet and talk with each other and express various opinions. As far as I know, no conference of this kind exists in any other continent. With representatives from Pacific countries joining, the 3rd ICAPP was attended by representatives of 83 political parties from 35 countries. It enjoyed a larger turnout than the previous two conferences.
Divisions and enmity were what the Asian continent was about up to a certain period in the latter half of the 20th century. I want you to recall the Vietnam War era. Many countries, particularly in Asia, including Southeast Asia, cooperated with the United States by sending troops for aggression against Vietnam.
This continent today is completely different from that time. Political parties from most Asian countries, governing and opposition alike, meet for an international conference to discuss issues of common interest, including the issue of peace. I believe that this shows how powerful and energetic Asia is in its effort to develop a promising future.
We have had very fruitful exchanges and dialogues with many people during the international conference, where we met old friends and made new friends with more parties.
Let me share with you some of the dynamics.
First, the ICAPP has established a trait to not make ideological differences a barrier to "contacts and cooperation among Asian political parties,h meaning that ICAPP participants must not use ideological differences as a reason to reject particular parties or refuse to discuss or cooperate with them. The 3rd ICAPP ended after adopting the unanimous "Beijing Declaration.h Paragraph 12 concerning relations between Asian political parties states as follows:
"Asian political parties, large or small, old or new, should be entirely equal, respect other's independence and self-determination, respect other's choices and practices, respect other's internal and external policies established on the basis of conditions in their respective countries, and refrain from interfering in other's internal affairs. Ideological differences should not be a barrier to contact and cooperation among Asian political parties.h
"Ideological differencesh in this context includes differences of faith, including those between Islam and non-Islam. But it is very important to note that the ICAPP broke with anti-communism. This finds its expression in the Beijing Declaration which makes it clear that participants must not bring an ideology of anti-communism into the forum for Asian political parties with the purpose of ejecting certain parties.
I said that "radical anti-communismh is disappearing from the world. This is what we have felt strongly through out various diplomatic activities. This notion is now enshrined in the Beijing Declaration. It has become an international principle. This is a very important point to note.
Let me give you an example of exchanges overcoming ideological differences. For example in Pakistan, an Islamic country, the present government was established through elections. Yet, it is often referred to as a "military regimeh because it was first established by a military coup d'etat. In the ICAPP in Beijing, the secretary-general of the Pakistan Muslim League, a major ruling Islamic party, participated in the discussion group that I attended. I had a chance to talk with him near the podium during a coffee break. He said, "I took a copy of your party's profile at the entrance and read it.h A number of copies of the "JCP Profile" were made available to participants at the entrance. He said, "It states that your party will have relations with other parties whether they are progressive or conservative, if they share an interest in beginning mutual exchanges. This is very good. Our party also follows the same line.h He thus showed willingness to adopt anything that they find good, even if it is a Communist party proposal. He had an interesting career. He said, "I have known the JCP for 30 years.h I asked him, "How?h He answered, "I was in Beijing 30 years ago and was a Maoist.h That was how he saw the JCP. He said, "I became more mature than before.h Of course, if he remains Maoist, he cannot be the secretary-general of an Islamic party.
It was easy for us to begin talking with each other in a frank manner. This was exactly what this international conference was intended to facilitate. The JCP delegation was probably more faithful to this principle than any other delegation in carrying out energetic diplomatic activities and exchanges with other delegations regardless of ideological difference.
Second, the ICAPP seriously explored points of agreement in international activities despite the diversity of political party participation.
Diversity is really what the ICAPP is about. On the Iraq war, for example, although the majority was opposed to the war, ruling parties of countries that supported the war or sent troops to Iraq were also present. So no unanimous resolution could be adopted concerning the Iraq war since the ICAPP is run based unanimous agreement.
Despite this diversity, the Beijing Declaration was able to set out a unanimous broad direction for future international activities, including:
- the pursuit of international peace;
- opposition to war, aggression, and hegemony;
- opposition to all forms of terrorism; and
- international cooperation in the effort to overcome poverty.
A broad measure of agreement on the direction of international activities was unanimously set out in the Beijing Declaration.
I think it is also important to note that the Beijing Declaration gives specifics of applying the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
Based on the general principle that every nation has the right to choose their own path and model of social development, the declaration made it clear that countries should fully respect "each other's diversified development paths," "each other's choices and practices" and "each other's internal and external policies established on the basis of conditions in their respective countries." Thus, the declaration stressed that they should "refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs" as the principle of exchange.
This is in line with the JCP position that we set forward at the JCP 23rd Congress in 2004.
Some U.S. military and government officials argue that "non-interference in other country's internal affairs is not applicable to the issue of 'freedom.'h They say so in the attempt to justify U.S. interference in other countries' internal affairs and the use of their preemptive attack strategy under the cover of "freedom.h I think that the Beijing Declaration exposed the outrageous nature of such an argument.
In this regard, it was a meeting of global significance.
I now move on to the new developments in Latin America.
In Latin America, the decades since the end of World War II have witnessed a number of important changes: the Cuban Revolution (1959), the Popular Unity government in Chile (1970), and revolutionary change in Nicaragua (1979). All but the Cuban Revolution were destroyed due to U.S. pressure and attacks. These waves of change did not sweep the continent. The United States has rejected co-existence with any country that has a differing socio-economic system. It has refused to accept co-existence with Cuba and continued with the outrageous lawlessness of imposing an economic blockade and exclusion of Cuba.
Today, Latin America is undergoing major changes that have important bearings on the whole of the continent.
In fact, it was at the JCP 23rd Congress in January 2004 that we learned more about these changes. We invited officials of foreign embassies in Tokyo to attend our Congress. Many of them responded to our invitation, including Venezuelan Ambassador Carlos Bivero. When I met him during the Congress, he gave me a copy of the Japanese translation of a book entitled "Venezuelan Revolution.h It was a compilation of speeches by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. This marked the beginning of our new encounter for the next year with Latin America that experienced major changes with Venezuela at its center. Last February the JCP was invited to attend a Latin American conference called the "4th Summit on Social Debt" in Caracas. This provided us with an opportunity to experience the present vigor of Latin America.
I can sum up the features of the present situation in Latin America as follows:
(1) A new wave of political change has swept a number of countries: Venezuela (1998), Ecuador(2002), Brazil (2002), Argentine (2002), and Uruguay (2004). In Latin America, major changes are now sweeping the continent instead of taking place in one particular country.
(2) The present efforts to achieve social change are aimed at democratizing each country's politics and economy while attempting to break away from U.S. domination.
(3) There is a common feature of the methods employed for political change.
In Latin America, as the term "Che Guevarismo" indicates, it was widely believed that the armed guerrilla struggle is the only way to achieve a revolution.
But unlike in the past, almost all political changes are being pursued through winning a majority in parliament. They also seek to achieve political change by exercising the right of every nation to self-determination.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is taking the lead in that effort, at first attempted to topple the reactionary regime through a military coup d'etat in 1992 but failed. Six years later he won the presidential election. He has since survived at least eight popular votes, including parliamentary elections and a national referendum. He has thus been promoting the cause of change. This is what we call a "majority revolution." Venezuela's is a typical example of a "majority revolution."
(4) Latin America used to be treated as the "U.S. backyard,h meaning that the United States wielded power over the hemisphere. This has become a relic of history.
A researcher recently pointed out that the United States suffered a "23-game losing streakh in the two years between February 2003 and January 2005. They include the establishment of governments that are not to the liking of the United States. In the Organization of American States (OAS), which used to be completely manipulated by the United States, resolutions are being adopted contrary to the wish of the United States, and a U.S. candidate for the OAS secretary general was rejected in an election. In still another case, two Latin American countries in an international dispute are making efforts to resolve it without U.S. intervention.
The losing streak has not stopped there. Last March, when U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld toured Latin American countries, his bid to force Brazil and Argentina to support U.S. policy was rejected. In Uruguay, Rumsfeld put pressure on the new administration there, but the new Uruguayan president in his inaugural address declared that his administration does not condone outside interference in Uruguay's domestic affairs. The Uruguayan president also announced that his government has restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, another political defeat on the part of the United States.
While the United States were preoccupied with Iraq, its Latin American domination began to crumble.
(5) What attracts my attention in particular is the fact that the Latin American process of change is accompanied by a proactive diplomacy around the world.
I talked about my attendance at the Congress of Tunisia's governing party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), two years ago. During my stay in Tunisia, I met with a representative of Brazil's governing party, the Workers Party (PT). He was there as Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula de Silva's special envoy carrying a proposal for a summit meeting between Islamic and Latin American countries. I was impressed by the grand design that Latin Americans harbored for their diplomacy. In March this year, we read news from Morocco that a meeting was held by foreign ministers from 22 Arab countries and 12 South American countries to prepare the summit scheduled for May.
This summit will have a great significance as a form of South-South cooperation involving Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Given the fact that Catholicism has a great influence on the South American population, this summit will inevitably be a place for promoting cooperation between the world of Islam and the world of Catholicism.
Taking all these things into account, I think that the present tumultuous situation in Latin America will have important bearings on the world.
I began this speech by pointing out that the collapse of colonialism was the greatest of all structural changes since the end of World War II. However, Latin America was unaffected by this structural change.
The reason can be found in the method of the United States to keep the region under control. The United States did not use colonization for dominating Latin American countries. Latin American countries are politically independent in form. They are founding members of the United Nations. The U.S. chose to place these countries under control using economic, diplomatic, and military networks to keep them under its influence, thus making the region its "backyard." That's why the worldwide collapse of colonialism left the U.S. control over Latin America unaffected.
But what is happening in this part of the world is the new movement in opposition to the U.S. attempt to thwart the rise of Latin American countries using the economic, military, and economic networks. This movement is now spreading throughout Latin America.
In this regard, the present Latin American upheaval will have a major impact on the world situation, attracting further attention.
Lastly, I'd like to talk about Asia, Africa and Latin America in a broad perspective for the 21st century.
We have been stressing that capitalism has almost reached the end of its life.
In its thousands of years of history, humankind has never faced such problems as global warming or the destruction of ozone layers. This is a result of productive activities that put profit before everything else, making it difficult for human beings and all other life forms on the earth to survive if nothing is done about it.This crisis is a manifestation of an impasse reached by capitalism.
Take a look at the present state of the world in relation to the capitalist system, you'll find various types of countries existing in the world.
(1) One is a group of highly developed capitalist countries, that includes Japan, with an aggregate population of 900 million.
(2) There are countries which have chosen to follow the path toward socialism on their own, though their economies have not yet developed fully. They are China, Vietnam, and Cuba, with a total population of 1.4 billion.
(3) There are countries that became politically independent after throwing off the yoke of colonialism and are making efforts to open up the path for independent economic development. They are most of Asian, African, and Latin American countries with an aggregate population of 3.5 billion.
(4) There is a group of countries which took the path of returning to capitalism following the collapse of the old regimes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They are now facing contradictions and difficulties peculiar to each country.
Broadly speaking, there are these four groups of countries in the world today.
In terms of the future of capitalism, there is a possibility that some countries might emerge from any of these four groups by breaking away from capitalism in pursuit of a new type of society, a socialist society which will be more advanced than the present societies. I believe that this is what the 21st century promises. The major question now is whether capitalism should continue or discontinue.
Of course, the socialism which I am discussing here has nothing to do with the autocracy or hegemonic policy that existed in the former Soviet Union associated with Stalinism. It is a socialist/communist society in the real sense of the word that will pave the way for the emancipation and equality of human beings, something which many of our predecessors have struggled for from the outset.
I believe that Asian, African, and Latin American countries will without fail occupy their own positions in this historical context.
We strongly feel that the Asian, African, and Latin American countries on the whole are ushering in a new era of development, in which they will take up with vigor the task of building new nations despite the difficulties that may arise. In this sense, these regions are the most dynamic part of the present-day world. I feel that there are diverse possibilities in the quest for a new society, and I am sure that they will grow and create a new history.
To begin with, historical development of society is from slavery to feudalism, from feudalism to capitalism, and from capitalism to socialism/communism. But not all countries are destined to follow this historical order.
In fact, Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the 20th century underwent revolution in China, Vietnam, and Cuba. The experiences with revolution and nation building in these countries show that some countries may advance to a higher stage of social development, namely socialism, without experiencing capitalism.
The 21st century is an era in which the world has more possibilities for new types of development. It is an era in which capitalism will be called into question. It is also an era that follows a period in which all Asian, African, and Latin American countries achieved political independence. During the last several decades after achieving political independence, these countries went through plenty of experiences that made them ponder whether it is possible for them to achieve independent development within the framework of capitalism. It would be reasonable to predict that some of the Asian, African, and Latin American countries that are making new nation-building efforts will accomplish under their peculiar conditions and in their peculiar ways what China, Vietnam, and Cuba did in the previous era.
As I have long been thinking about this, I was very impressed to hear about what Venezuelan President Chavez stated in a speech at an international conference in Caracas in February in which a JCP representative was present. Speaking in his "personal capacity," Mr. Chavez said that the Venezuelan revolution is heading for socialism and that poverty and problems of the global environment cannot be resolved within the framework of capitalism.
In this aspect, too, I think that Asian, African, and Latin American countries will take on a role to make the 21st century more constructive and promising. This is one of my important angles for envisaging the 21st century.
I have talked about our view on the past, present and future of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The Japan AALA, the sponsor of this gathering, has worked hard to develop solidarity, friendship and exchanges between the Japanese and AALA peoples. I'd like to conclude my speech by hoping that solidarity will continue to grow with a 21st century perspective.
Finally, I'd like to thank ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps for their patience in listening to my lengthy speech. I hope our friendship with your countries will continue to increase after this meeting.
Thank you very much.
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