January 13-14, 2000


- On the 5th Central Committee Plenum
by JCP Central Committee Secretariat

- Presidium Report
by Kazuo Shii, JCP Secretariat Head .

- Speech
by Tetsuzo Fuwa, JCP Presidium Chair

- Concluding Remarks
by Kazuo Shii, JCP Secretariat Head


On the 5th Plenum of JCP Central Committee

JCP Central Committee Secretariat

January 14, 2000

The Japanese Communist Party Central Committee held its 5th Plenum on January 13 and 14 at the JCP head office. Secretariat Head Kazuo Shii delivered the Presidium Report which contained two major items:

- The characteristics of the present political situation and the vitality of JCP policies and programmatic objectives;

- The struggle to achieve a major JCP advance in the next general election and come closer to the establishment of a democratic government.

In analyzing the characteristics of the development of the political situation since the 4th CC Plenum, Secretariat Head Shii showed how JCP policies and programmatic line have had an increased effect on practical politics from the following five angles:

(1) At a time when Liberal Democratic Party politics is incapable of presenting any prospects for the future, the JCP's practical proposals are beginning to set politics in motion on such issues as Japan's North Korea relations, the nursing care insurance system, and nuclear energy administration. In this respect, Shii emphasized that there has been a qualitative advance in opposition parties' joint struggles in which the JCP participated.

(2) Referring to the characteristics of JCP policy initiatives, Shii stressed that the proposal for fundamentally turning away from the system of "capitalism without rules" and the upside-down fiscal administration has proved to be precisely what Japan's society is calling for. He also announced that after the 5th CC Plenum, the JCP will make a new proposal for fiscal reconstruction to generate a national discussion.

(3) The JCP 21st Congress in 1997 decided to place emphasis on its relations with Asian countries. This course has been developed boldly in concrete ways. Shii said that the JCP will demand that Japan's foreign policy be changed to take up three steps that can be adopted even before the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is abrogated, including the establishment of the principle that peaceful resolution must be given priority in dealing with disputes. He also said that the JCP will do its utmost to block any attempt to reinforce the U.S. military presence in Japan, and to use the G-8 Okinawa Summit in July as an opportunity to lift Japan up from the status of a nation structured on U.S. military bases.

(4) Shii also made clear that U.S. hegemonism in the face of international resistance and criticism has become increasingly isolated and contradictory in both military and economic aspects.

(5) On the question of the Research Commission on the Constitution which will be established in the Diet, Shii stated that the JCP will call for active research in defense of the constitutional principles of peace and democracy.

In proposing a JCP policy for a successful general election struggle, Secretariat Head Shii put forward the following five tasks based on the JCP 21st Congress decision and the 4th CC Plenum decision:

i) In the general election, the greatest task will be to obtain the people's judgment on the continuation and strengthening of LDP politics under the three-party coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Komei Party. In the absence of conditions for putting up a joint electoral struggle by opposition parties, the opposition parties will go their respective ways to pass judgment on the three-party coalition. There will be constructive debates among the opposition parties. The greatest assurance for democratic change of politics will be to achieve a major JCP advance. Shii stated the JCP position on a coalition government that includes the JCP. The JCP will spare no efforts to achieve victory in both the Osaka gubernatorial election and the Kyoto City mayoral election.

ii) Aware that only by striving on its own can the JCP translate a possibility for its major advance into a reality, the JCP will aim for more than achieving the goals set as a ratio to the number of eligible voters. Our posture must be for doubling and redoubling the efforts we made in the last House of Councilors election in which the JCP achieved a significant advance.

iii) In the political debate, the central issue will be "Are we going to allow LDP politics to be continued by the three-party ruling coalition or are we going to choose a way of creating a new kind of politics with a major JCP advance?" It is necessary to make known to the public the JCP proposal for "remaking Japan."

iv) The "United Efforts" campaign for a major JCP advance in the general election turned out to be the first step in consolidating the JCP political and organizational capabilities in order to contribute to a major JCP advance in the general election. There are four points that we must keep in mind in continuing and developing the campaign. We will concentrate our energy on achieving by the end of this year the immediate goals of: membership equal to 10 percent of JCP votes, and Akahata readership of 50 percent of JCP votes, for which we must work even during the general election campaign.

v) The establishment of an election campaign posture in which JCP branches are the key players.

At the end of the first day of the Plenum, Chair Tetsuzo Fuwa spoke. His intervention was meant to analyze what the present stage of political development means to Japanese society and the JCP. He said:

1. The JCP's political objectives and what Japanese society demands are getting closer and even converging; this convergence is a product of their interaction. Our dialogues are engaging people of various walks of life against a background of increasing interest in the problems of "capitalism." This provides a significant condition for a further JCP advance.

2. The JCP made substantial political progress in the 1990s, but the problem now facing the JCP is that organizational strength is lagging behind this political achievement. One of the major aims of the "United Efforts" has been to establish a posture to overcome this weakness in a forward-looking manner. It is very important to maintain this posture in future JCP activities.

3. We will only be able to seize opportunities to achieve a major JCP advance in the general election by making all-out efforts. I have heard many comments pointing out that few JCP candidates will be elected in single-seat constituencies. But it is equally very difficult to increase the number of JCP seats in the proportional representation constituencies. The JCP's real struggle lies in the effort to accomplish this difficult task of achieving a great JCP advance.

4. The JCP Program proves its real value as a guide to practical activities that can be undertaken in the present political situation.

Fuwa finally called on the whole party to work hard to make the year 2000 a historic turning point that will help launch a new political era.

In the discussion of the Presidium Report, 37 members spoke.

After the discussion, Secretariat Head Shii made the concluding remarks on behalf of the Presidium.

Shii said the Plenum discussion and reactions from JCP members who watched the Plenum on satellite broadcast make one feel that the JCP has been making a new numerical and qualitative advance through the United Efforts. He also emphasized that the dramatic political development in the 1990s has created the conditions for us to vigorously carry out a practical application of the JCP Program, and that this development now serves as the historical and realistic grounds for JCP policies and political objectives to have influence on day-to-day politics. He said that although this indicates a real possibility for the JCP to achieve its major advance in the next general election, it will depend on the JCP members' conscientious efforts. He said that criticism of the attempt to cut the number of Diet seats as a reactionary rollback is needed, but that it is equally essential to put up the struggle for achieving a major JCP advance with new enthusiasm no matter how difficult the political situation may be.

The Plenum unanimously adopted the Presidium Report, Chair Fuwa's intervention, and the concluding remarks.

The Plenum elected Takao Sekiguchi and Noriharu Okuhara, both Central Committee members, as members of the Presidium. It also relieved Hiroshi Aizawa, CC member, of the Control Commission. (Akahata January 15, 2000)

Presidium Report by Kazuo Shii, JCP Secretariat Head




(1) JCP Proposals and Action Have Effect in Actual Politics

Two aspects of the three-party ruling coalition and political developments

The 4th Central Committee Plenum last June underlined the two aspects of the establishment of the three-party ruling coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Komei Party: One is the continuous enactment of anti-people and anti-democratic bills and the other is the consequent erosion of their ruling basis.

Such legislation included the war laws (legislation for implementing the "Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation"); the law to designate the Hinomaru and "Kimigayo" as the national flag and anthem; and the law to authorize police to carry out wiretapping. At the time, there was a pessimistic view that Japan is in a no-way-out situation. But the subsequent political developments have fully confirmed the importance of what the 4th CC Plenum decision said.

The LDP has reached the limit of its political impasse, deformity, and crisis. In the Diet, they have tried to collect the necessary number of votes to accomplish what they intended to do, but they are incapable of setting a political course for Japan in any field. They cannot put forward any solution, even from a conservative position, to help the people resolve their troubles and problems. LDP politics is fundamentally losing its capacity to govern.

JCP proposals have had an effect on such questions as North Korea relations, the nursing care insurance, and nuclear energy development

In contrast, the effectiveness of JCP policies and its programmatic course is increasingly apparent. Taking note of this development, a media report said: "The public perception of the Japanese Communist Party's presence is increasing."

It is important that JCP policies and the course set out by the JCP Program are not just being embraced by broader sectors. They have an effect in actual politics in dealing with the nation's important political issues.

The recent development in Japan's relations with North Korea is one such example. In January 1999, JCP Chair Tetsuzo Fuwa took the rostrum of the House of Representatives to propose that Japan should begin making real efforts to open an official diplomatic channel with North Korea. In November of the same year, he made a further proposal that the pending disputes between Japan and North Korea should be resolved through negotiations and that a resolution of these problems should not be made a precondition for opening a diplomatic channel between the two countries.

These JCP proposals have proved to be instrumental in the actual changes that have taken place in the international situation in relation to North Korea. This was actually translated to the recent visit to North Korea by a suprapartisan delegation, in which the JCP participated. The agreement reached between the Japanese delegation and the Workers' Party of Korea actually has helped start talks between the governments of Japan and North Korea aimed at normalizing their state-to-state relations. When Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who led the suprapartisan delegation, came to ask for JCP participation in a delegation to North Korea, he said to me over and over again, "Mr. Fuwa's proposal is very important." It was really an impressive and sincere remark.

There are some historical problems to be resolved between the JCP and the WPK. But we decided to take part in this parliamentary suprapartisan delegation because this visit was not for party-to-party negotiations. We made this position clear to representatives of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan who came to see us in connection with the suprapartisan delegation's visit to North Korea.

The JCP members who participated in the Delegation of Political Parties had two tasks to fulfill: Stand for JCP independence and fulfill the duty serving national politics.

The developments relating to the nursing care insurance system have also been important.

We have pointed out two fundamental flaws that this system has: The infrastructure that supports nursing care services is lagging behind the costly premiums and fees for services. We have repeatedly said their correction is urgently needed.

In July 1999, we published an emergency proposal that work must be done immediately to correct these flaws and that the collection of insurance premiums should be postponed until such corrections are in place.

Later, the government became unable to keep their eyes shut to the serious contradictions the system has, and was forced to announce "special measures" to postpone the collection of insurance premiums for a certain period. This is another example of a JCP plan affecting practical politics. However, these government "measures" are just to put off the collection of premiums and are without substance; they decided to do so with the election in mind. The JCP in the Diet put forward concrete measures to further improve the system, the government was obliged to promise to "review" and "improve" it, although not comprehensively.

The same applies to the recent developments in nuclear energy administration.

Late last year (1999), the Nuclear Safety Commission published the final report on the criticality accident at a nuclear fuel facility in Tokaimura Village (Ibaraki Prefecture). It states that the "safety myth" and such an outdated catchphrase as "absolutely safe" must be dropped. The report on the whole is too inadequate to be used for holding the government responsible and for taking future safety measures. Yet, it points out that Japan's nuclear energy administration has been swayed by the "safety myth." And it is important that the report calls for a departure from the myth. This is a viewpoint which makes it essential to overhaul Japan's nuclear energy administration. Here too, a "departure from the 'safety myth'" and other measures to review Japan's nuclear energy administration is a policy shift that the JCP has called for since the 1970s.

At a time when incompetent Liberal Democratic Party politics does not know where to go from here, the JCP's proposals have begun to have an influence on policy formulation. The present political situation indicates that the key political players will change in the 21st century.

Komei Party's participation in government creates new condition for joint struggle by opposition parties

The Liberal Democratic Party formed a large ruling coalition with the Liberal Party and the Komei Party. But it led to a weakening of the basic conditions to implement its parliamentary strategy.

During the first half of 1999, a series of undemocratic laws were railroaded through the Ordinary Diet Session. But during the second half of the same year, the three party coalition government did not succeed in passing their most important bills through the Extraordinary Diet Session: the bill to adversely revise the pension system law and the bill to reduce the number of House of Representatives seats allocated to the proportional representation constituencies. Their reckless attempt was twice thwarted by the House Speaker's mediation. The present parliamentary situation does not allow their unfettered outrages to take place.

This emerging situation is due to the change arising from the Komei Party participation in the government. Until recently, the Komei Party as an opposition party always secretly communicated with the LDP, and its role was divisive on the opposition front, a role that the Komei Party could play as an opposition party. Until the latest Ordinary Diet Session, the Komei Party was an opposition party, at least formally, that played a disruptive role to help the ruling parties pass a number of anti-people bills. The War Bills and the Wiretapping Bills were railroaded through when the Komei Party gave impetus by changing its attitude. But things changed in the Extraordinary Diet Session that followed. The LDP now had no Komei card to play in its parliamentary game because the Komei Party is no longer an opposition party.

In a historical perspective, everyone will realize that the Komei Party ever since its inception in 1964 was a kind of stabilizer that helped the LDP rule last as long as it did. In the 1970s, the JCP and progressive forces made advances. In a move to counter this, the Komei Party concluded an agreement with the Socialist Party in 1980 to weaken the opposition front and help the LDP rule to continue. But the LDP lost the Komei Party as a stabilizer when it invited the Komei Party to participate in the coalition government.

This political change has helped to create new conditions for joint struggle by the opposition parties. During the past two years, the JCP has made efforts to set up an opposition party joint struggle. After various ups and downs, a major qualitative advance is being recorded by the opposition joint struggle, with the JCP taking part after an interval of 20 years.

We have drawn an important lesson from our recent struggle: We should be flexible in doing our utmost to explore joint struggles for agreed demands no matter how small they may be; this is a position which makes it possible for us to solidify our position and stall the ruling forces' autocratic policies.

(2) Need is to achieve two fundamental changes in national politics

Significance of series of policy proposals having been accepted by a broad section of the people

I now move on to domestic political issues.

In the past several years, the JCP has developed a series of policies on employment, small- and medium-sized businesses, the nursing care insurance, nuclear energy, education, and other various issues on the basis of what we decided in the 21st Congress and the 4th Central Committee Plenum. These proposals have been embraced by the broadest sections ever as proposals which are so reasoned and convincing that no one who is working to resolve the problems can oppose, regardless of his or her political party affiliation and position.

Throughout the country, the JCP is taking policies to local residents for discussion. The JCP policy proposal for the solution to the employment crisis has been welcomed by many unions affiliated with the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo). Many people, including Small and Medium Enterprise Agency officials, are saying that our policy proposal for smaller businesses is well designed. I hear that a local government is planning to use the JCP proposal as study material. Our proposal on the nursing insurance system has been embraced by not only those who are involved in welfare work but many local government officials, including those who are politically conservative.

There are two major threads that run through JCP policy proposals. One is that the proposal is designed to combine the task of safeguarding the people's livelihood and the task of undertaking efforts for development of Japan's economy and society. For example, the proposal that securing jobs and protecting smaller businesses will contribute to overcoming the current economic recession and in the long run will help ensure the balanced development of Japan's economy with an improved infrastructure for manufacturing.

The other characteristic is that the JCP is putting forward measures to be taken to resolve the immediate problems along with the prospects for fundamental changes.

These JCP proposals are not statements on ideals. They set forth realistic prescriptions. For example, our urgent policy for the nursing care insurance contains the minimum measures which take into consideration the delay in building the necessary infrastructure for providing nursing care services and improve the actual living conditions of the elderly. They are all realizable where there is a political will. Our proposals also make clear what kind of far-reaching reform of politics is necessary to implement these policy proposals.

We will do our utmost to realize the policies we are proposing.

I would also like to emphasize that we will have a new favorable condition in local governments. The revised Local Autonomy Law which will soon come into effect will relax the requirements for a political party to become eligible to submit bills, and the number of local assemblies in which the JCP has a right to do so will double. This change makes JCP activities more important not only in the Diet but also in local governments. Of course, in preparation for the next general election, we will continue to make fresh efforts for developing JCP policies in various fields.

In the effort to correct "capitalism without rules" common action with advocates of revised capitalismwill become realistic

Any problems of domestic politics can be traced to two fundamental questions: Capitalism without rules and the upside-down government fiscal policy with five billion yen for public works projects and only two billion yen for social services. Reversing this ratio will contribute to an economic democracy which the JCP proposal for remaking Japan advocates.

First, correction of "capitalism without rules."

In this regard, it is important to note that what we are proposing is becoming an objective demand in Japan's society.

Since the last CC Plenum we have heard many business people warn against large corporations that seek to make immediate profits by resorting to greedy means; they criticized companies for resorting to restructuring or deregulation as a panacea for improving their businesses.

In Akahata's New Year special interview, Masaharu Shinagawa, former vice chairman of the Japanese Association of Corporate Executives (Keizaidoyukai) said: "Japan's capitalism has entered an era in which its 'quality' is under scrutiny. ...In a word, it is an era in which Japanese companies are required to seek harmony between their market activities and the interests of civil society. Unless these two things are dealt with simultaneously, Japan's corporations cannot continue their business as usual. This is the situation facing Japan's economy." Criticizing corporate restructuring as a fad, Mr. Shinagawa said that future economics and politics must choose between corporate interests and the well being of the household economy and individual livelihood. His answer was: "Of course the household economy and individual livelihood must be placed at the center of economic policies and politics. I believe that this is the only way to have the prospects for economic development based on the ideals set out in the Japanese Constitution.

Mr. Shinagawa's statement is almost the same as the JCP view that large corporations must fulfill social responsibilities appropriate to their gigantic power and that economic policies should be switched from one in which large corporations are the main players to one in which the household economy and individuals are the key players.

One more example. Last August, the Mental Health Institute of the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development, a pro-business think tank, published findings from a survey on industrialists' mental health and business operations. The report in conclusion says: "The reduction of the number of employees will only increase their spiritlessness and make them mentally unstable. In this state of human resources, Japan's economy will not be revitalized. Taking into account the recent increase in suicide and crimes, easy employment adjustment should be avoided."

These opinions are based on a common understanding that as long as large corporations are allowed to pursue maximum profits, the economy and society as a whole will decline and indeed be devastated, which in turn will undermine the basis of business operations.

Recent opinions in criticism of "restructuring as a panacea" are very important. They represent the business community's understanding that democratic control of large corporations, which the JCP advocates, is a necessary policy that will help improve the people's living conditions and promote a decent development of Japan's economy in accord with the law of social development.

The JCP 21st Congress decision set out the prospects for our cooperation with those who support a revised capitalism. "The question we are now raising in Japan is can democratic change take place within the framework of capitalism, and can it be supported even by those political forces standing for revised capitalism? This theoretically means defending the capitalist system" (Central Committee Report to the Japanese Communist Party 21st Congress). Although the Congress put this forward as a theoretical possibility in the future, it is becoming a realistic task.

The JCP will work to extensively develop exploratory dialogues and cooperation with all those who are concerned about the present Japanese economy, including broad sections of business people.

Financial failure is so serious that the present course is bound for either massive tax increases or malignant inflation

The other pillar of economic democracy we are proposing is democratic fiscal reform. Financial failure is the worst expression of the present LDP politics at an impasse. The Obuchi government is responsible for the loose finances being accelerated uncontrolled. In just one and a half years since its inauguration, the government debt will increase to over 100 trillion yen.

Japan's fiscal aberration is the worst of all major countries. The combined deficit of the state and local governments for a single fiscal year is 9.4 percent of Japan's GDP. Their debt amounts to 645 trillion yen, which is 129.3 percent of the GDP. Every Japanese citizen is forced to shoulder a burden of 5.1 million yen.

EU's fiscal rules provide that a nation's deficit must be under three percent of the GDP and a debt under 60 percent of the GDP. In light of these international standards, Japan's deficit is three times the upper limit set by the EU and its debt double the EU standards. Obviously, Japan is a bankrupt nation.

The Prime Minister says, "Japan has become the world's largest debtor nation." But he cannot present the people with any prescription for dealing with the fiscal crisis; he is not willing to be responsible for fiscal policy. He is continuing to squander tax money on supporting the general contractor construction companies and major banks. "After us, the deluge" is what Obuchi's attitude is all about.

The prime minister said, "Between two stools you fall to the ground" to explain his plan to exclusively tackle economic recovery, saying that the fiscal situation will improve when the economy recovers.

The Japanese people are well aware that what the government is seeking is not economic recovery but electoral votes. He is making an empty argument when he says that the fiscal situation will improve as the economy recovers.

As a matter of fact, the recent major tax reduction for large corporations and for high income earners has only helped to seriously decrease tax revenue. During the past decade, national revenue has dropped by 13 trillion yen, half of which is due to the economic recession and the other half as a result of the tax reduction for the large corporations and the rich.

What will happen if nothing is done to deal with this problem? Even if an economic growth rate of two percent is achieved, as the government predicts, an increase in tax revenue will fall short of offsetting the increase in debt payment, and the debt will snowball.

The present course will necessarily lead to a catastrophe in which the nation will have to choose between a major tax increase or malignant inflation. The present ruinous fiscal policy, which is nothing but criminal, must not be left untouched any longer.

The JCP proposes a new fiscal reconstruction plan and calls for national discussion

In the 1996 general election the JCP proposed a ten-year plan for fiscal reconstruction, which proved to be effective in our campaign. Since then, the debt of central and local governments combined increased by about 200 trillion yen. The fiscal crisis has gone thus far. The JCP proposal four years ago was about national fiscal policy. And now, the local fiscal crisis is getting more serious year by year. Taking this into account, we are planning to put forward a new proposal for fiscal reconstruction with both central and local governments in perspective.

First, a major change in the structural wasteful expenditure is needed. We will propose that the 50 trillion yen for yearly public works projects be reduced to half by reviewing or canceling wasteful huge projects; that the 70 trillion yen scheme for supporting major banks should end; that the five trillion yen military budget be halved and the "sympathy budget" for the U.S. forces ended. All these are areas which the LDP government has regarded sacrosanct.

Second, reform of the revenue side to avoid a tax revenue shortfall. It is urgently necessary to correct the unequal tax system which is unfairly kind to large corporations and high income earners. In dealing with corporate taxes, it is necessary to change Japan's scope of taxation which is much narrower than any other country in the world. On the income tax side, it is important to end low-rate segregated taxes on incomes from interests, shares, and land. These incomes should be combined and taxed. It is also necessary to levy appropriate taxes on speculative capital transactions as practiced in most major countries.

The present fiscal failure is so serious that it is impossible to balance the budget for one particular fiscal year. Fiscal reconstruction needs to be done in stages over a certain period of time.

But if the two major tasks as mentioned above are carried out properly, fiscal reconstruction can be achieved without forcing the people to pay; such a budget would ensure money for improving the people's living conditions by avoiding expenditure cuts in such areas as welfare. A reduction and eventual abolition of the consumption tax will become feasible in the course of democratic fiscal reconstruction.

After this Central Committee meeting, we will make a comprehensive proposal on this question, and call on the people to engage in national discussions to end the fiscal crisis in order to form a national consensus on how to achieve fiscal reconstruction.

(3) On JCP Relations with Asian Countries-- Developing JCP's Foreign Policies

The JCP is beginning to have impact on Japan's foreign policy The JCP 21st Congress decided to put greater emphasis on relations with Asian countries. There have since been some new developments in this field: the JCP and the Communist Party of China normalized relations and their leaders met for summit talks in 1998; a JCP delegation made a tour of Southeast Asian countries in September 1999; JCP Chair Fuwa made proposals in January and November 1999 concerning diplomatic relations with North Korea; and JCP members of the Diet participated in a suprapartisan delegation to North Korea in December 1999.

Commenting on these developments of the JCP's relations with Asia, a Foreign Ministry official said: "The normalization of JCP-CPC relations and Mr. Fuwa's visit to China turned out to be the turning point and the JCP's efforts have begun to make an impact on Japan's foreign policy."

How have JCP efforts in foreign relations proved to be as effective as this? It is largely because JCP foreign policies are consistent with the powerful call of Asia for negotiated settlements of international disputes, non-alignment, sovereign independence, and rejection of nuclear weapons. The JCP has accurately understood these objective conditions in Asia by boldly putting into practice its foreign policy as a political party.

The JCP has put forward what can be done even before the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is terminated

JCP foreign policies have been developed through these practices. The proposals the 21st Congress put forward for increased relations with Asia threw light on some foreign policy guidelines for an independent and neutral Japan to follow after the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

The Asia diplomacy which the JCP has developed since the 21st Congress is a practical application of what we decided on at that Congress. In other words, JCP diplomacy has made clear the immediate guidelines for Japan's foreign policy to follow before the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is abrogated.

On such example was the "Five Principles for Japan-China Relations" that JCP Chair Fuwa proposed at the JCP-CPC summit talks in 1998. It was about basic principles governing relations between Japan and China, not just for an independent and neutral Japan but also for Japan under the LDP government bound by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

In discussions the JCP delegation had during its tour of Southeast Asian countries, there was a large measure of agreement on what could be the common tasks to be tackled even before solving the problem of the U.S. military presence in Asia. In Malaysia, government officials told the JCP delegation that achieving stability on the Korean Peninsula and stable Japan-China relations will help create an international condition conducive to the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. It was impressive to hear them state that they are 100% in agreement with JCP policies of opposing hegemony and pressing ahead with diplomacy based on the principle of independence.

Regarding North Korea, the JCP has proposed that Japan should refrain from supporting preemptive strikes and should make efforts to open diplomatic channels without attaching any conditions as an urgent task for avoiding a tragic war under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the War Laws and for helping to settle disputes through peaceful negotiations.

Our call for three reforms in Japan's foreign policies

The new trend of foreign relations, which the JCP has developed in Asia, are in sharp contrast with the LDP foreign policy which regards military means as the only solution, neglects Asia relations, and remains subordinate to the United States. Clearly, their policies are against the times and are facing a serious deadlock. LDP politics has lost a rational sense of reality in foreign policy.

The worst result ever of such LDP policies has been legislation of the War Laws. What's more, it is becoming clear in a short period of time that the War Laws are not only extremely dangerous for the Japanese people but are irrelevant to the present situation in Asia. This is clear from the recent developments on the issue of North Korea; advocates of the War Laws assumed that North Korea is one of the major targets of the War Laws being invoked, but the situation regarding North Korea has changed significantly in favor of peace since last autumn.

As part of the effort to prevent the War Laws from being invoked in disputes in the Asia-Pacific region (such as on the Korean Peninsula and in Taiwan), the 4th CC Plenum decision stated that "our call is for their peaceful resolution and our activity is to prevent the U.S. from invoking a preemptive strike strategy and launching an interventionist war. This activity is getting more significant as a practical application of JCP foreign policy." Prospects are now developing for making the invocation of the War Laws unreasonable with the force of reasonable foreign policy.

The JCP calls on the government to make changes in Japan's foreign policies on the following three points as urgent measures to be taken even before the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The JCP will do all it can to further develop diplomacy with Asian countries in line with these proposals.

First, in settling international disputes, Japan will give negotiated solution the highest priority and reject a military solution, keeping the world order provided for by the U.N. Charter.

Second, as a country in Asia, Japan should shift its foreign policy away from placing too much emphasis on its relations with the U.S. and other G-7 countries to placing relations with Asian countries at its center.

Third, Japan will establish a foreign policy which is not subordinate to the United States or any big powers but which is based on the principle of independence representing the position of the Japanese people.

We are confident that these are proposals that can be embraced as reasonable guidelines by a majority of the people, irrespective of differences in attitude toward the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

The importance of getting a majority of the people in favor of the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in line with the JCP Program

The JCP can propose such a foreign policy change as stated above because it firmly stands for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The three changes in Japan's foreign policy which we call for can only be achieved when the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is abrogated.

The JCP 3rd CC Plenum in the autumn of 1998 called for efforts "to get a majority of the people in favor of the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty." I want to reiterate that we will carry on with our tenacious efforts to get a majority in favor of that goal as part of the implementation of the JCP Program.

Significant in relation to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty are recent revelations of secret agreements between the Japanese and U.S. governments concerning prior consultations under the Treaty. That these secret agreements exist is proof of the deceptiveness of the prior consultation system established at the time the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was revised in 1960 because it does not restrict the bringing in of U.S. nuclear weapons to Japan or limit the U.S. from foreign interventions from U.S. military bases in Japan. The JCP strongly demands the disclosure of information pertaining to the Japan-U.S. secret agreements.

Problems of U.S. military bases in Okinawa; we oppose the state structured on military bases being strengthened against the current of the world and Asia

The issue of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa has entered a critical phase as the governor of Okinawa Prefecture and the mayor of Nago City announced their "acceptance" of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The Japanese government's response to this issue has exposed to the whole country a most shameful aspect of its subordination to the U.S.

At the Japan-U.S. defense talks on January 6, Japan's Defense Agency Director General stopped short of proposing a consultation on the question of setting a time limit on the use of the new base in Okinawa; he only muttered to himself timidly that "the Japanese government attaches importance" to a "15-year time limit on the use of the base," the limit the Okinawa governor had publicly promised. He also drew the conclusion by himself as if he were wondering about to himself that "it is difficult to forecast changes of international situations."

The election promise of a "15-year limit on the use of the base," which the Liberal Democratic Party and the present Okinawa governor made to the people of Okinawa and Japan is now a major deceit. The truth is that the United States is planning to replace the outdated Futenma Air Station with a state-of-the-art military base with Japan's tax money. A U.S. Department of Defense report states that this base will be designed to have a 40 year operational life and a 200 year fatigue life, and will deploy the Osprey, a vertical landing/take-off aircraft.

The JCP will do its utmost to let the people know that this is not a mere relocation but a major strengthening and perpetuation of the U.S. bases in Okinawa and to this end it will increase the national struggle in solidarity with Okinawa Prefecture's people who strongly oppose the relocation of U.S. bases within the prefecture.

At a time when Asia's overall movement is towards peace, it is the height of absurdity to build a state-of-the-art forward military base in Okinawa that could be used into the 22nd and even 23rd centuries in addition to its projected use in the 21st century.

Internationally, there is a trend towards getting U.S. forces abroad withdrawn, as is shown by the withdrawal last year of U.S. forces from the Panama Canal. In Europe, the U.S. troop strength is substantially being reduced. This being the trend, it is extremely abnormal to perpetuate and even strengthen the Japanese state structured on U.S. military bases well into the 21st century and beyond.

This struggle against U.S. bases is being waged as the Group of Eight leaders are scheduled to meet in Okinawa in July, and it is important to widely inform the rest of the world how extraordinary and savage the history and actual position of U.S. bases in Okinawa is. The JCP is prepared to render as much resources and efforts as possible to make the G-8 Okinawa Summit an opportunity to tear down the Japanese polity structured on U.S. military bases.

(4) On World Order of Peace -- Contradictions Are Deepening and U.S. Hegemony is Increasingly Isolated

Arrogant U.S. attitude defies world order of peace

In dealing with the bombing of Yugoslavia by U.S.-led NATO forces and the moves towards establishing a global system of intervention and preemptive strikes as represented by NATO's "new strategic concept" and the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, the 4th CC Plenum called for a struggle to defend peace from these threats and safeguard the order of peace based on the rules of peace as established in the U.N. Charter.

Hidden truths behind the bombings of Yugoslavia have begun to be told. At the final stage of the peace talks on Kosovo, the United States suddenly tabled a proposal which Yugoslavia could not accept. That was designed to upset the talks in order to begin the air strikes. It has become clear that this was a "premeditated war." It has also become clear that the so-called "ethnic cleansing and genocide" in Kosovo the U.S. publicized as an excuse for their bombing was of an extremely exaggerated scale.

The U.S. now openly uses "humanitarian intervention" as a pretext for war. In a speech last September, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen declared that the U.S. would have a greater free hand to resort to preemptive strikes: He said the United States would consider using force when there is a sign that a regional conflict could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. In a bid to wage a war of intervention more effectively, the U.S. openly demanded European members of NATO engage in an arms buildup.

But this arrogance has come under strong international resistance and criticism. As criticism is growing worldwide of U.S. hegemonism, the U.S. is becoming more and more isolated.

Military hegemonism is more isolated internationally A ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Countries last September adopted a final communique declaring: "We reject the so-called 'right of humanitarian intervention' which has no legal basis in the UN Charter or in the general principles of international law."

At the U.N. General Assembly which opened last September, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, having in mind the airstrikes NATO carried out against Yugoslavia in the name of "humanitarian intervention," raised a question: "Is there not a danger of such interventions undermining the security system and of setting dangerous precedents for future interventions?" In response, not only China and Russia criticized it severely but some NATO countries such as France and Germany expressed concerns one after another that the bombing should be an exception and that it should not be a precedent.

The U.S. Senate last October voted down the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), arousing harsh criticism throughout the world including among U.S. allies. This is a manifestation of the arbitrariness and outrageousness of the U.S. policy of prohibiting nuclear tests and nuclear development by other countries and even using nuclear threats to enforce such a ban, while never allowing other countries to interfere with its own nuclear tests and its overwhelming superiority in nuclear forces.

Economic hegemonism exercised in the name of "globalization" faces ever more serious contradictions and failure

Second, U.S. economic hegemonism is faced with ever more serious contradictions and failure.

One is the failure of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) policy. To deal with the economic crisis that broke out in South East Asia in 1997, the U.S.-led IMF has tried to impose on the region's countries a "structural adjustment policy" which imposes austerity measures at the sacrifice of the people and deregulation in exchange of loans, and by so doing, totally depriving the economic sovereignty of a given country. Thailand, Indonesia and, the Republic of Korea, which followed this prescription, were hit hard economically. Malaysia, which rejected such pressure, succeeded in achieving economic recovery.

The IMF was obliged to concede that the Malaysian formula did work. And faced with severe criticism by the developing countries, the U.S. had to talk about the need to review the IMF's role, namely the need to end the "structural adjustment policy" the U.S. and the IMF imposed on the developing countries, and get back to its original role of providing emergency loans.

In another major development, the U.S. failed to force the World Trade Organization (WTO) 3rd Ministerial Conference (November 1999 in Seattle) to adopt what the United States wanted to impose on it. Unable to reach any agreement, the Conference broke down, as it became apparent that contradictions between the U.S.-EU proposal and the developing countries' position on such issues as agriculture, labor standards, and anti-dumping were too deep. This represented another fiasco of the Clinton administration.

Their attempt to impose an international order giving U.S. multinational corporations priority in the name of "globalization" is now faced with sharper contradictions.

Note that a number of international organizations have come up with reports criticizing "globalization." The 1999 annual report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported "Global inequalities in income and living standards have reached grotesque proportions." The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that as globalization increases, the number of people who live in poverty continues to grow..., and that as the world economy bipolarized and gaps between the rich and poor countries, and between rich and poor people have widened, poverty has become ever more serious. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that the undernourished population in the developing countries in the world reached 790 million.

Autocratic action destroys the ruling basis; the same law applies

In the airstrikes against Yugoslavia , it appeared that U.S. hegemony was manipulating NATO countries into being mobilized to the war. However, as clear from recent political developments, contradictions arising from U.S. economic hegemonism are too deep to mend and are creating discord within the hegemonic political coalition.

In this situation, not only those who oppose U.S. hegemonism, but also those who accept U.S. leadership as superpower, are warning that an open pursuit of hegemony will not help to make the U.S. system of control stronger but will endanger it.

Recently, a recent editorial of The Economist magazine stated, "To insist on going it alone is not only unhelpful. It is self-defeating, since a country without allies forfeits influence the more it stands alone." Autocratic action will only help to forfeit their ruling base, again in conformity with law.

An international order of peace based on the U.N. Charter, or an "international order" in which the U.S. has a free hand to arbitrarily take hegmonic action through intervention and aggression. Which of these two ways has a promising future?

The JCP calls for all military blocs to be dissolved throughout the world. But at the same time, it works hard to build broad international cooperation in the effort to oppose all forms of hegemonism and build an international order of peace based on the U.N. Charter.

(5) Research Commission on the Constitutional and the Struggle for the Defense of the Constitution

Let us develop debate and movement to lay siege to the advocates of Constitutional revision

With a research Commission on the Constitution established in the Diet, a five-year long debate will start shortly. The Constitution will be one of the major issues in the national elections. When the setting up of such a commission was proposed, the JCP opposed it because it was apparently aimed at laying the groundwork for an adverse revision of the Constitution. But now that it has been set up, we will participate in it and state our opinions.

What the forces advocating changes in the Constitution want to do is get the Research Commission to conclude that *Article 9 of the Constitution should be deleted. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the main objective they have in mind. But tactically, they won't openly propose removing Article 9. It is important to engage in debates and the movement that opposes their arguments and lays siege to them.

Research Commission on the Constitution calls for full research in order to defend the constitutional principles of peace and democracy

Given that the Research Commission has been set up for "research," we (from the position of safeguarding the constitutional principles of peace and democracy) call for full research in the following three areas:

First, research to make clear the pioneering significance of the present Constitution. For example, the Research Commission should undertake a comparative study of the constitutions of major countries. This will throw into sharp relief the pioneering significance Japan's Constitution has in the world, such as the lasting peace provided for in Article 9 and the fundamental human rights including "the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living." The JCP is going to help make clear its pioneering values in what the JCP calls as the five principles of the Constitution, namely the people's sovereignty, national sovereignty, lasting peace, fundamental human rights, and parliamentary democracy, and local autonomy.

Second, what the advocates of Constitutional revision describe as the "gap between the letter of the Constitution and the reality" is in fact a gap between the pioneering principles of the Constitution and the aberration of LDP politics. The fact is that the Constitution has not been implemented faithfully. In light of the pioneering principles of the Constitution, the JCP will propose restraining LDP politics against these principles.

Third, we propose carrying out historical research on the origin of the argument that the Constitution was "imposed on Japan," which the pro-revision forces try to use to justify their demand that the Constitution be revised.

Declassified U.S. documents have made it clear that the U.S. government (with the aim of getting Japan rearmed) began studying the policy to revise the Constitution in 1948, only a year after Japan's new Constitution came into effect. Based on these historical facts, we will bring into sharp relief the fact that the argument for a revision of the Constitution originated in the United States.

It is also important to conduct an in-depth study of the historical process leading to the establishment of the Constitution to unravel the fact that the progressive principles of the Constitution reflect the Japanese people's democratic and peaceful aspiration as well as international democratic opinion that defeated the alliance of militarism and fascism.

Article 9 as valuable pioneer of international order in the 21st century

The JCP will do its utmost to frustrate any plan to make the Research Commission on the Constitution a foothold for constitutional changes focusing on Article 9 and to strengthen opinions in favor of the full implementation of the progressive principles of the Constitution.

Last year, the International Citizens' Peace Conference was held in The Hague, the Netherlands. The first item of the "Ten Fundamental Principles for a Just World Order" it adopted was a call on the world's parliaments to adopt a resolution declaring renunciation of war as exemplified in Article 9 of Japan's Constitution. Article 9 attracts international attention precisely because of its role as a pioneer for the 21st century world peace order.

We renew our call for a broad front to be built on this particular aim of opposing any adverse revision of the Constitution and any violation of its peace principles.





(1) Present Political Situation and the Significance of JCP Advances

An election to pass judgment on the three-party ruling coalition which only helped to deepen contradictions of LDP politics

On the present political struggle and the significance of a JCP advance.

I want to remind you of the importance of the "two points" which the 4th Central Committee Plenum emphasized.

First, a major point at issue in the coming election is for the people to pass a severe judgment on the continuation and strengthening of LDP politics in the form of the coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Komei Party.

Basically, this reactionary regime was set up because the LDP, both in domestic politics and foreign relations, became unable to run the government and because it bogged down to the point where it became unable to maintain a parliamentary majority in national elections. The coalition government was to make up for the loss, in disregard of the people's will. But it resulted in incurring new serious contradictions.

One thing is that it has become clear that what unites the three ruling parties is partisan concern, and no coalition partner is ready to accept responsibility for Japan's politics.

The Liberal Party is very much involved in the partisan power game to choose between two ways: a merger with the LDP and a departure from the coalition. With this in mind, they are playing with the election system. The Komei Party always seeks to gain "achievements" under its name for whatever cause available, and is playing with fiscal policies with the aim of setting up port barrel projects. Following the distribution of coupons which have been ineffective in boosting the economy, the Komei Party is trying to introduce a program of benefits for dependent children which will be funded by a tax increase. The LDP is only interested in maintaining and prolonging its political power by the force of numbers.

This is how the coalition is developing an extraordinary setup that has no sense of responsibility. This setup is far removed from the people's sufferings and anxieties, and the coalition partners are debasing themselves in party politics.

The other thing concerns contradictions arising from the Komei Party's participation in the government. We have pointed out that it would not only endanger Japan's democracy, but also be a fatal weakness of the LDP-LP-Komei coalition. The accuracy of this warning has been confirmed by political developments.

Ironically, the Komei Party's participation in the ruling coalition helped to fortify the opposition bloc and weaken the ruling coalition. This has been a new factor undermining the LDP's traditional base of support.

The JCP found that the promise of a separation of the religious body Soka Gakkai from the Komei Party, which Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda made in 1970, has not been kept. We have pointed out that Soka Gakkai began its involvement in politics with the intention of spiritually controlling Japanese society, and criticized that its dangerous structure threatens democracy, represented by their call for a campaign to "fight evil religious sects." They are unable to refute our criticism. The JCP will continue to do its utmost to defend Japan's democracy.

Let us make the general election an opportunity to pass severe judgment on the three-party coalition, which in all fields is incapable of steering the country and is pursuing party politics at the cost of the people.

As a positive change is taking place in the position of the opposition parties, we will engage in constructive debate on what "Opposition" means

Second, the situation relating to the opposition parties. A positive change has been taking place in the advances of the joint parliamentary struggle of the opposition parties. This joint struggle is gaining momentum. What used to be a mere joint struggle against misgovernment has developed into a joint struggle to achieve policy objectives. For example, in the extraordinary Diet session, the three opposition parties proposed legislation to revise the law banning company donations to individual politicians which were enacted.

Political agreement among the opposition parties is very limited at present, but if we learn from such agreement and sustain the efforts to develop joint struggle we can broaden points of agreement.

As clear from the present position of national politics, the time is not ripe yet for electoral cooperation with other opposition parties based on policy agreement. In the coming general election, each opposition party will wage a campaign on its own to pass judgment on the three-party coalition government. The opposition parties will engage in constructive debates with each other in order to seek the voters' fair judgment by putting up their own political positions to meet the people's expectations in their interests.

This general election will be a referendum on LDP politics which is governed by a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Komei Party, and also the true meaning of the Opposition will be put to vote. Only by standing firmly against LDP politics and by presenting the people with policy alternatives, can we fulfill the role of an opposition party. The JCP is an opposition party which has put forward a concrete proposal for "Remaking Japan" which is about political restructuring that replaces LDP politics. We will campaign to appeal to the broadest possible section of the people, declaring that a JCP major advance will be the greatest guarantee for democratic change in politics as well as for forming an opposition front capable of confronting the LDP.

JCP position on alternative government

In the JCP 21st Congress, we adopted a major goal to establish a democratic coalition government in the early part of the 21st century. Basically, this is what the JCP proposal for alternative government is about. The Congress decided that the goal of the first phase is to "achieve more than 100 JCP seats in the House of Representatives and dozens in the House of Councilors." In the coming general election, we must come as close to these aims as possible, and make a major step forward towards establishing a democratic coalition government.

As a result of the general election, the three-party ruling coalition could lose their majority. Should that happen, establishing a coalition government by the opposition parties will become a realistic and burning issue.

At that stage, the major question would be a choice between a coalition caretaker government being formed by the opposition parties based on better policies breaking away from the traditional LDP framework or and prolonged LDP politics with opposition parties divided in dealing with such a political situation. This is a question which every opposition party, like it or not, must answer.

At the 3rd Central Committee Plenum we decided that in such a transitional political situation, we will take active part in talks aimed at forming a caretaker government in order to realize even partial changes in the interests of the people. We will carry on the election campaign by broadly making this position known to the people.

The three-party coalition has come to a dead-end; we will press them to dissolve the Diet

The LDP-LP-Komei government is coming to a dead-end at a time when the dissolution of the House of Representatives is an issue. The Ordinary Diet Session will soon be convened. The ruling coalition doesn't have confidence in and prospects for electoral victory in the event that the House of Representatives is dissolved at the early stage of the coming parliamentary session. But if they delay that decision, it will only help to make it clear that this is an incompetent government which cannot even dissolve the House of Representatives. This is the dead-end they have reached.

What's happening is that this government, formed without electoral endorsement, is now delaying the people's judgment to continue misgovernment, which simply is unacceptable. The JCP strongly demands an early dissolution of the House of Representatives for a general election. Aware that they are at an impasse, unable to decide when to dissolve the House, we need to work harder to push them into immediately dissolving the House. Of course, we must be prepared for a snap election in order to secure a major JCP advance.

Struggles in Osaka and Kyoto: Important elections bearing on the political currents in the 21st century

The February 6 elections for Osaka governor and Kyoto mayor have very important bearings not only on local citizens but also on the future political direction in the 21st century at large.

These elections will be taking place at a time when the LDP's loss of governance and large-scale failure are apparent in both localities, where a wide range of the people are seeking a change of politics.

In both Osaka and Kyoto, the task is for us to pass judgment on the "all-are-ruling-parties" setup which is already bankrupt and anachronistic in national politics.

The Central Committee confirms that we will do our utmost for winning victories in both elections.

(2) Possibility of a major JCP advance and our goals in the next general election

Further JCP advance is possible depending on our efforts

The next general election will be a major battleground in which there is great possibility for the JCP to make a major advance depending on our efforts.

A new relationship is emerging between the JCP and the public as LDP politics is at an impasse and JCP policy proposals have turned out to be effective.

Among the people, there is an increasing tendency to see the JCP as an ordinary political party. The JCP has come to be regarded more and more as a political party which is an essential part of people's lives.

Recent opinion polls indicate that those who don't have any particular party to support form a section which shows a dramatic growth.

Having accumulated various experiences with politics, these non-party people have become diligent in thinking about politics. This has created a situation in which conventional politicking is not necessarily effective.

Non-party people, who by and large are critical of the three-party coalition government led by the LDP, have a kind of mobility and are exploratory.

Straightforward activity to reach three goals in the general election

The three goals of the JCP in the next general election are in place as set out in the 4th CC Plenum decision as follows:

1. Exceed the vote-getting goal as a percentage of the electorate in the constituency.

2. Win as many extra JCP seats as possible in all proportional representation constituencies.

3. Stand JCP candidates in all single-seat constituencies and even challenge seats in a bold effort.

The goal of exceeding the vote-getting goal as a percentage of the constituency electorate is important to keep in mind.

In making efforts to achieve this goal, we should develop our tested policy of focusing on the proportional representation part of the general election.

Our struggle in the single-member constituencies

In the 1996 general election, the JCP had its two candidates returned in single member constituencies. In the next general election we need to do much more to clear the hurdle of the single-seat constituency as a first step to get closer the our goal of "More than 100 JCP seats in the House of Representatives."

(3) Political Debate

At issue is who can steer the national government

The main issue we put forward in the general election is a choice between: the continuation of LDP politics under the three-party coalition or new politics to be created as a result of a major advance of the Japanese Communist Party.

The LDP is aware that this will be a major issue. This year's LDP Convention decision says: "The Communist Party has a self-righteous and closed character covering its communist ideology with heavy make-up. How can we allow them to steer the national government in an new era?"

There is nothing new in this time-worn anti-communist campaign. But the point is that the LDP for the first time expressed its sense of crisis over a possibility that they will be replaced by the JCP as the captain of the ship of national government.

We will take an active part in the debate on "Japan in the 21st century," and in particular which of us, the LDP or the JCP, has the practical capability of steering the course of the nation.

Repelling anti-communist attacks

Anti-communist campaigns are based on the fixed notion that the Communist Party is an evil. We must be exact in replying to such attacks.

On this particular question, we will be careful about making ourselves understood by a wide-range of people. We must have dignity and avoid engaging in mudslinging.

Massive political publicity

The centerpiece of political activities we will engage in our campaigns is massive publicity. We will place emphasis on the effort to make the JCP presence felt among non-party people and those who have supported other political parties and who have been distanced from the JCP.

We will be flexible, fresh, and creative in trying to reach the broadest possible section of the people.

(4) Building on gains we made in the United Efforts

How the JCP has grown numerically and qualitatively

The results of the United Efforts on the whole helped to lay political and organizational ground for a major JCP advance in the next general election, although there are things we have to overcome in the future.

First, we have successfully set the tone of party activity in which "branches are the key players."

Second, an increasing number of JCP branches have begun organizing their activities based on the demands of the people. To date, 72 percent of all JCP branches are involved in such activities.

Third, a new beginning has been made in the effort to increase party membership and Akahata readership.

Fourth, The United Efforts have provided us with an opportunity to improve the leadership of JCP intermediate bodies and the way activities are organized.

Summarizing the stage of development based on facts and carry on advances which have begun

In the membership campaign, only 20 percent of all branches have recruited new members. It is important for us to take a hard look at the fact that we need to do out utmost to use every possibility to recruit new members.

In the organ paper readership campaign, although we have made advances during the past three months since October 1999, our campaign is still flagging. In 15 prefectures (out of 47) we made advances during the United Efforts, but overall the party has not made up the losses.

Let's accomplish the goals

Based on the JCP's voting strength (7,260,000 votes in the 1996 House of Representatives general election), the JCP 21st Congress set new goals: "recruiting 10 percent of JCP voters and winning 50 percent of voters as Akahata subscribers" by the end of the 20th century so that we can enter the 21st century with a doubled membership and 1.5 times larger Akahata readership.

Great as they are, these goals are not impossible if we make major efforts to do everything possible to dramatically expand the political influence of the JCP and if we learn the lessons of the United Efforts.

Strengthen the party during the election campaign

Activity to increase party membership and Akahata readership during the election campaign requires pioneering efforts.

We must overcome the notion that efforts to strengthen party organization may well be thwarted by the election campaign.

JCP branches in workplace as a driving force for JCP advances

With massive corporate restructuring and personnel reduction policies, major changes are taking place in workplaces. Workers are increasingly interested in the JCP, and their expectations for the JCP are higher than ever, thus giving us new possibilities for further JCP advances.

The recent victories of labor in their disputes with Sega Enterprise Ltd., Kansai Electric Power Company, and Maruko Alarm Co. are very significant in that they amount to legal and social recognition that the Constitution applies to workplaces, that violation of human rights and the abuse of power to dismiss workers, including coerced retirement are impermissible, and that discrimination against Japanese Communist Party members based on ideology cannot be condoned.

In the course of the United Efforts, many JCP workplace branches have opened new frontiers in the movement for workers' demands at workplaces focusing on making efforts in the following three areas: (1) Present the prospects for changing national politics in relation to the demands of workers for jobs and rights; (2) organize the struggle to defend jobs; and (3) give national perspectives to the struggle at the workplace. We should work further to develop activities by proposing timely policies that fit in with the actual conditions of the workplace and increasing the movement for realizing workers' demands.

A large number of JCP workplace branches are working in very difficult conditions due to bad working conditions and various kinds of persecution by the management. That said, the role of the Japanese working class as well as the role of JCP workplace branches call for us to face up to the tardiness we now have; we must not be resigned to accepting the present situation as unavoidable "peculiar difficulties."

All the more because of the difficulties, it is very important for workplace branches to hold their meetings regularly, organize study meetings, and carry out activities based on "policies and a concrete program."

A call on youth and students to be builders of a new nation

Efforts to strengthen activities among young people are very important for fostering successors of the JCP and the progressive movement and for achieving a victory in the coming elections.

It is important to note that the Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ) is beginning to make new advances. During the past three years, the DYLJ has recruited about 4,000 new members each year. In its 27the National Congress, the DYLJ called on all Japanese youth and students to become DYLers and take part in the effort to build a new Japan in the 21st century.

Financial activity

Basically, the JCP finances are based on three resources: membership fees, collection of subscriptions to Akahata and other other JCP publications, and voluntary contribution from JCP supporters.

With the coming general election in mind, it is also necessary to make expenditures cost-effective by getting rid of wasteful and inefficient expenditures.

(5) Five essential preparations with branches as the key players cooperating with JCP supporters associations

We must establish our campaign posture with branches as the key players so that all JCP members can voluntarily participate in the electoral struggle.

First: All branches will make it clear to do their utmost to accomplish more than what they determine as their vote-getting goals (expressed as a ratio to the number of eligible voters). Building on last year's United Efforts and learning lessons from them, all branches will make plans for their general election campaign.

Second: It is necessary to make all branches and their members accurately understand the present political situation and the clear possibility of a JCP advance.

Third: Maintaining the "Learn and struggle" style of party work, we will make efforts to enable all JCP members to study the JCP Congress decision, the Central Committee decision, the JCP Program, and the JCP course of "Remaking Japan so that they can discuss them with people in their communities.

Fourth: JCP members' activities will not be confined to one particular framework; the JCP will make efforts to help every JCP member achieve political growth. (Akahata January 16, 2000)

Speech by Presidium Chair

by Tetsuzo Fuwa, Presidium Chair

The discussion by CC members from both the party central and prefectural committees is very active and meshes with the Presidium Report. As stressed by all speakers, we are at a very critical moment both for Japanese society and for the development of future JCP advances.

I want to speak about the stage of political development we are about to enter in this year of general elections.

1990s: Significant changes taking place in relations between the JCP and society

It is important to note that enormous changes took place in the 1990 in relations between the JCP and Japanese society.

One of the characteristics of these changes is that the JCP's political line and what the Japanese public want have come closer to each other.

We are now extensively discussing "Remaking Japan" with various sections of the people. This proposal for "Remaking Japan" is a product of the interaction between JCP policy and what society needs. This proposal is an application of the JCP Program, but we did not formulate it based on wishful thinking. We always have in mind that our contemporary application of the JCP Program must mesh with what Japan's political, economic, and social conditions call for. This is what characterizes our theory of remaking Japan.

Another characteristic of changing relations between the JCP and Japanese society is that dialogues based on our proposal for "Remaking Japan" have begun and that such dialogues are spreading extensively with a wider spectrum of opinion, building on dialogues we have had so far with various strata of voters. Listening to discussion in this Plenum, I believe it very important that such dialogues are developing with those who used to be part of the strong support base of the ruling LDP, and even those among business circles, including influential business people. Such dialogues are developing on an unprecedentedly large scale and in a bold manner.

In business circles many people are beginning to question the present state of capitalism. What we have proposed in our "Remaking Japan" is not a patchwork of partial reform measures in this or that economic area. As the Presidium Report says, in putting forward our argument for "remaking Japan," we raised a fundamental question about the basic structure of the nation's fiscal policy, which allocates 50 trillion yen for public works projects and only 20 trillion yen for social security, and "capitalism without rules," which Japan's capitalism is about. What are being discussed in Japanese society, especially in the business circles, are problems related to capitalism as a whole, rather than reforms in particular areas.

Two CC members from the party center in today's discussion quoted what Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia says in an article he contributed to Mainichi Shimbun (newspaper). This is a very interesting article, which discusses not only Japan but also capitalism in the present day world. While calling the ruined Soviet Union "communism," Mr. Mahathir said that "the advent of communism and socialism in the early years of the 20th century forced capitalism to adopt a more human face." "Today, without the challenge of communism, the true ugliness of capitalism has revealed itself." Should democracy take sides with unrestricted capitalism? This is what he posed as a question that affects the whole world.

In many parts of the world, U.S. capitalism and its intrusion on others is causing problems all over the world. The manner in which Japanese capitalism operates has also become a major issue. This is the very reason for the in-depth dialogues developing between the JCP and the public on economic matters.

Profound changes taking place in our activities can be confirmed by the greater similarity between the JCP's political line and what society calls for. And here we can also find objective conditions for a new and dramatic JCP advance.

In the 1970s we experienced a major JCP advance. But the political conditions which sustain its advance today are even more significant and profound.

Organizational growth lags behind the political progress

That was how we, in the latter half of the 1990s, made major JCP advances in elections. Such electoral advances would accelerate further development of our dialogues and provide the JCP strength for new victory, setting an overall trend of JCP advances. So, let me take a moment to review the feature of the progress the JCP made in the 1990s.

Frankly, we started the 1990s after a major political setback; in the House of Councilors election immediately after the Tiananmen Incident in 1989 the percentage of the JCP vote declined to 7.0%. There were three national elections in the first half of the 1990s (the 1990 House of Representatives election, the 1992 House of Councilors election, and the 1993 general elections), and with small gains or setbacks, the percentage of the JCP votes did not increase from the 7% levels.

A breakthrough was made in the 1995 House of Councilors proportional representation election in which the JCP polled 9.53%. In the 1996 House of Representatives proportional representation constituency blocs, our percentage of votes advanced to 13.08%, followed by 14.60% in the 1998 House of Councilors' proportional representation election.

In the last decade, we started off at 7% of votes, the lowest level in JCP history, and in the second half of the decade, we roughly doubled the voting rate. The JCP reached a peak in the 1990s when it got 10.75% of votes, but the percentage never exceeded the 11% mark. So numerically, we can observe the depth and breadth of the current remarkable progress of our party.

However, the problem is the fact that our organizational strength has not caught up with this electoral progress. The Presidium Report described it as "a major gap." As the analysis of the 4th CC Plenum stated, during the almost 20 years the JCP sustained a reactionary offensive but the after-effect persists in our organizational capacity. We have a variety of problems, including the decreasing percentage of young members.

We must say that whenever we achieve major JCP progress, we cannot necessarily make an equal level of progress in every aspect of our activities. Although we have achieved great political progress in the latter half of the 1990s, the JCP's organizational strength has not achieved a matching level of progress. This is a major feature of JCP activities during the late 1990s.

If we leave this problem unsolved, it is obvious that we cannot securely embark on the path toward a brighter future in the 21st century with further JCP advances.

Main point of the United Efforts

The United Efforts we tackled last year had many tasks and characteristics. Here, I want to stress that one of the main tasks in the movement was to establish throughout the JCP organization the readiness to boldly tackle the problem of our lack of organizational strength which is lagging behind the political gains, and to overcome it in a forward-looking manner.

As analyzed in the Presidium Report, the United Efforts recorded many important positive achievements. Since the task was too big to meet fully in a short period, there are many problems unsolved.

The task was for the United Efforts to get prepared to fill the gap between the growing political influence our party has achieved and the serious lag in our organizational progress. This is a crucial task we must tackle to keep the momentum of progress in the 1990s and try to launch even greater JCP advances in the 21st century. So, it is now important to maintain our stance on this until we reach a point where we have the organizational capacity sufficient to become a springboard for new organizational development.

We must not let what we achieved in the United Efforts be left behind as an episode of the 1990s.

Counting on "favorable wind" will never bring victory to the JCP; we need spirit to develop our way for ourselves

This year we will definitely have a general election. As the Presidium Report emphasized, there certainly are conditions for a major JCP advance. But we can only take advantage of such conditions when we do our utmost. Let me stress the pressing necessity to ambitiously challenge the task of making a great leap with spirit.

When it comes to an election drawing near, you would often hear someone say, "We will do our utmost if there is a good chance to win." Such an attitude represents passivity, and the danger is that it can easily lead you to become relaxed when the possibility of a victory is real. In other words, at no time will you do your utmost because you will not work hard if there is a slim possibility of victory and you will not work hard if a victory becomes a real possibility.

In the present situation, we must not forget that the JCP cannot count on a favorable trend to secure its victory in the elections. For our opponents, a possible JCP advance would bear on the very survival of the reactionary political system they represent. It is only natural that the more the JCP advances, the stronger their counterattacks become to block such a JCP advance. This is an invariable principle in politics. It is essential, therefore, for us to hold on to the determination that we will make efforts to develop our way for future progress so that we can repel any intensive attacks, all the more so because the other side is guarding against a possible "change of government." How can we create such a strong power of determination in ourselves? How can we make it the common spirit of all JCP members and all JCP Support Association members? This is a key issue JCP leading bodies at all levels must tackle, with the Presidium Report points out as an important aspect.

As the general election draws near, media predictions of the results are available. Although newspapers are not doing it yet, weekly magazines are making happy-go-lucky predictions, which include a very optimistic prediction that there will be a major increase in JCP seats. At times, they even expect that the JCP will win in constituencies where victory may not be expected even by the JCP prefectural organization.

Overall, this reflects the fact that there is a good chance for a JCP advance. However, if we feel flattered about such prospects, we will almost certainly fail. We must be ready to accept the most negative predictions as the closest to reality.

For example, a magazine article recently said, "It is almost impossible for JCP candidates to be elected in single-seat constituencies (of the House of Representatives). This comment is to the point. Recent local election results indicate how difficult it is for the JCP to get its candidate elected in a two- or three-seat constituency, and it would be far more difficult to do so in single-seat constituencies. Experience shows that the JCP has won victories in constituencies where it worked hard enough to surmount the difficulties.

In addition, the 4th CC Plenum set a goal of getting an extra number of seats in all proportional representation constituency blocs. With the current uneven achievement among different blocs, the level of effort to be made may differ from each other. But in general, this also is a very formidable undertaking. In blocs where the JCP holds one seat should double or even triple the number, and in blocs where there are currently two seats, 50% or more increase of seats is necessary. A very difficult task indeed.

The real struggle in the coming election will be for the JCP to actually fulfill this very difficult task which is almost impossible to achieve, by making all-out efforts to mobilize every wisdom and power within us. This point should be made amply clear in undertaking the task of making a major JCP advance, and this is what I want to underline.

So, in political debates, political publicity campaigns, in dialogues with voters without regard for differences, and in efforts to fulfill these tasks, we are called on to work harder than ever to achieve a major JCP advance in response to the people's expectations. This is how we should get prepared for the historic struggle in the 2000 general election.

We owe the JCP political line and successful activities to the JCP Program

Last but not least, a word about the JCP Program. Our opponents always say, "A fearful armor is hidden under a soft image." By "fearful armor" they mean the JCP Program.

However, the truth is completely the opposite. The truth of the matter is that the present JCP line and activities are based on the JCP Program.

Let me expand on a couple of key questions involved.

First, the JCP proposal for "remaking Japan," which I earlier referred to. At the basis of the immediate objectives, the JCP has put forward the "remaking Japan" as a method for the political and economic transformation of Japan. This has to do with the basic position of the JCP Program calling for a stage by stage transformation which we describe as "democratic change within the framework of capitalism." At the time when the JCP was discussing a draft JCP Program, the theory of socialist revolution was very fashionable internationally, and in Japan too, there was a strong current favoring this theory. The current position of the JCP Program was chosen after defeating this fallacy. So this programmatic position of the JCP enables us to set forth concrete programs for democratic change.

The JCP Program analyzes scientifically the root of contradictions in Japan's society, politics, and economy, and presents the basic direction for their solution. This helps us to have a clear perspective for Japan's social progress to be achieved through ending the outrageous rule by Japanese monopoly capital and Japan's subservience to the United States. This is why we are now able to propose "remaking Japan" with precise policy proposals and fully in conformity with the real situation of Japan's society and public opinion.

Another point I want to emphasize is the theory of majority revolution. This is not just about respecting the majority opinion, though it is a basic principle of democracy. Whatever twists and turns may occur, we maintain our vision that in the long run, we can unite the majority of the Japanese people behind our proposal for "remaking Japan." This vision is firmly established in ourselves because it is the conclusion of a rigorous analysis of what is taking place in society.

Therefore, we need not be impatient in dealing with various problems that may arise. As we work to solve these problems one by one, taking into account the demands on the ground, we will be able to set out to resolve the root cause of the problems in a longer perspective based on majority will. This enables us to flexibly and calmly work on day-to-day problems and put forward long-term solutions. As we deal with national security and foreign policy matters, political power, or other matters, various complex problems may emerge and we may be compelled to make complex responses. Still, with a conviction that we can ultimately solve the problems when the time is ripe on doing so based on majority will, we can flexibly propose practical measures as interim solutions. This shows how the JCP Program is supporting our present activities.

Our proposal for alternative government: Coalition government accords with the principle of democratic development of politics

Thirdly, the JCP proposal for a coalition government. The JCP Program is consistent in maintaining that establishing a coalition government, not a one-party government by the JCP, should be the principle in the course of the democratic development of politics. The JCP Program states that we seek a coalition government made up of combined forces even as we take up reforms in Japan's society into the stage of socialism.

Let's take a brief look at Japan's political history: In 1955 the LDP was formed through a merger of conservative parties at the time, and the LDP's one-party-rule continued for 38 years until the Hosokawa Cabinet was established. The Socialist Party, the then largest parliamentary opposition party, also maintained in its program that it was ideal to form a Socialist-only government, but that when that was hard to come by, it could make compromise to form a coalition government. This is in contrast with the JCP consistently maintaining that we will achieve political reform of Japan through establishing a coalition government.

This explains that the JCP is a political party calling for a coalition government as political principle. Herein lies a very important characteristic of the JCP Program.

This is a question which is relevant to the on-going debate over the election system. The present issue is the proposal for parliament seat reductions for the proportional representation constituencies. This has been proposed by the LDP and the Liberal Party with the aim of completely changing the election system into one based on simple a single-seat constituency. The basic premise of a single-seat system is that two major political parties exclusively are entitled to contest government based on one-party rule. In the United States the two major parties are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party competing with each other for government, and in Great Britain the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Advocates of a single-seat constituency system take no heed of "respecting public opinion," the most essential aspect of parliamentary democracy.

In Japan, however, a coalition government has become real even for the ruling parties. As its clout wanes, the LDP can no longer opt for a government by itself. The opposition parties also now see a coalition government as a matter of course. But the LDP and the LP are now trying to deal with this question of Diet seats with a view to establishing a single-seat constituency system, which presupposes the single-party government. Therefore, the current debate over cutting the number of proportional representation constituency seats entails dual problems; it is not only undemocratic because it undermines the "reflection of public opinion," the basic principle of democracy, but also unrealistic in the present political situation which shows the reckless attitude of the proponents favoring the two-party system and single-party government theory. We need to be clear and careful about this fundamental contradiction in their argument.

As clear from the foregoing three points, the JCP Program is effective enough to repel any kind of attacks from anti-communist forces. The JCP Program is not just a document which shows the vision of a distant future; it sets out the guidelines for making a progressive breakthrough under the present-day conditions in Japan. Aware of this significance, let us go on working with greater vision and confidence.

Looking at Japanese society with the spirit for change and a scientific point of view

Let me add one more thing about the JCP Program. Recently, a news reporter said to me, "I well understand what you describe as the concrete implementation of the JCP Program. But why is the JCP Program written in such difficult language? People will understand it lot more easily if it is written in the way you talk to an audience." My answer is: "The JCP Program is written in the terms of social science." In a New Year interview I said that the spirit of change and a scientific viewpoint to see things are what scientific socialism is all about. It is from this standpoint that the JCP Program sets out the present situation and future vision of Japanese society. In "the language of social science" means examining society through such a "scientific point of view."

It indeed has significance. Only accurate and scientific definitions of social phenomena and precise and detailed analyses will enable the flexible application of the basics in accordance with each phase of changes in the situation. With regard to the creation of a vision of social development, only through the use of scientific definitions of social political matters and accurate analyses can we envision the long-term development of the world according to a scientific understanding of social change.

In this sense, the JCP Program looks at and discusses things from a "scientific viewpoint." So, I want to stress that the task is for the JCP to grasp deeply its significance and explain the JCP Program to many people by making it easier for them to understand the contents and true value.

Our struggle in 2000 will start with the two elections in Osaka Prefecture and Kyoto City. We have heard from the heads of the JCP committees of the two localities directly responsible for party activities in these election campaigns. Their remarks also made us feel that we have a very worthwhile and challenging year ahead of us to carry out our work.

Exerting our full strength throughout the party, let us make 2000 the historic year of change, to mark the start of a truly new politics. Thank you. (Akahata January 15, 2000)

Concluding Remarks

by Kazuo Shii, JCP Secretariat Head

Statements in the discussion and reactions from JCP members throughout the country are proof of the JCP making advances after the United Efforts' achievements

I appreciate your participation in the two-day discussion in this 5th Central Committee Plenum. I will make a concluding statement on the discussion.

A total of 37 members spoke. Their statements on the whole were vigorous and supportive of the Presidium Report.

Party members throughout the country listened to the Presidium Report via communications satellite. Yesterday, a total of some 10,000 party members listened to it live or on video. The Central Committee received reactions from more than 1,000 members. We have realized that many interpreted correctly the dramatic changes taking place in the situation since the 4th CC Plenum, and showed pride and confidence in the role played by the JCP, which is increasing its presence in society.

Many also expressed fresh determination to work for further JCP advances in the coming general election. Some said, "The proposal to get more votes than the set targets in their ratio to all eligible voters came home to me," and others expressed their ambition to get more than two or three times the votes they got in the last House of Councilors election (1995). There were positive responses to the proposal, expressing their resolve to increase JCP membership to 10% of the votes cast for the JCP in the 1996 general election and the Akahata readership of 50% of the JCP votes. We are very glad to hear these positive responses.

These statements made in the discussion and in reactions from JCP members from throughout the country make us feel that the JCP is on the right track towards new developments both in quality and numbers.

As LDP politics reaches an impasse, conditions increase for the JCP to actively implement the JCP Program

The Presidium Report stated that the proposals and actions of the JCP are beginning to influence and even change actual politics. This analysis had repercussions among many members.

In the 1990s, LDP politics proved a complete failure, and there is a good chance emerging for us to put the JCP Program into practice as we deal with the burning questions of the day.

Referring to "profound changes taking place in relations between the JCP and Japanese society in the 1990s," Chair Fuwa said in his statement during the discussion, "The JCP Program line and what the Japanese public demands are getting closer and coming into accord."

We are proposing to "remake Japan" as a practical application of the JCP Program under the dramatic progress and changes taking place in the 1990s.

On the financial question, for example, the JCP proposes correcting the upside-down expenditure in which only 20 trillion yen is allocated to social security while 50 trillion yen is poured into public works projects. It was in the 1990s that the national and local governments began to spend 50 trillion yen yearly on public works projects.

Pressed by the United States in the so-called Japan-U.S. structural impediments talks in 1990, the Japanese government worked out a basic plan of public investment with a budget of 430 trillion yen over 10 years, which later became a 630 trillion yen plan. Since 1992, investment in public works has been increased year by year in the name of "economic stimulus measures." This is how the abnormal expenditure and the distortion of finance became apparent, resulting in the allocation of 50 trillion yen to public works projects.

We proposed redressing the upside-down expenditure in such a process. This was first raised by Chair Fuwa in his speech to commemorate the JCP founding in 1997. The proposal was also included in the decision of the JCP 21st Congress held in the autumn of the same year. Three years have passed since then, and conditions are growing for the proposal to reach the public and gain support from a wide range of people.

The JCP has also put forward a proposal that "capitalism without rules" must be corrected. A call for "democratic control of large corporations" is included in the JCP Program. It was in the 1990s that the JCP began to call for a correction of "capitalism without rules."

As we entered the 1990s, the bubble economy burst and the nation's economy fell into a prolonged recession. Faced with the situation, big companies have become more outrageous and rushed only to gain immediate profits without caring about what follows. "Karoshi," death from overwork, gained international notoriety as this problem raised the question "Does Japan's capitalism have no rules at all?"

Amid the international criticism growing of the nature of Japan's capitalism totally ignoring rules, we began to call for correction of "capitalism without rules." As I mentioned in the Presidium Report, what we are calling for is even shared by some people in business circles and is also an understanding in common among a wide range of people.

In the Presidium Report, I referred to the importance of developing foreign relations with Asian countries. This marks a new development which meshes with the present-day situation. Regarding Japan's future course, there has been a dangerous change taking place in the Japan-US Security Treaty with the new Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation worked out, followed by the forcible enactment of the War Laws. This has only helped to increase friction between Japan and Asian counties as well as between the Japanese government and people. Internationally, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has openly sought to establish its hegemony both militarily and economically; it has strengthened the interventionist system on a global scale. The U.S. has recklessly sought to rule the world economy through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). But these maneuvers have only increased contradictions throughout the world.

In concert with these developments, the JCP has developed foreign relations with Asian countries as an implementation of the course we adopted toward peace in Japan and the rest of Asia. The JCP put forward this policy based on the JCP Congress decision and put it into practice. This implementation was designed to further develop and enrich the policy.

In the 1990s LDP politics reached an impasse in every field. The JCP has proposed policies to break through the impasse in all fields. Our proposals have captured the hearts and minds of the people, and though still small, have had impact on actual politics. These political developments have contributed to making JCP policies effective in real politics.

Possibility of JCP advance has historical reasons

A situation like the present one never existed in the past when the JCP made major advances from the 1960s to the early 1970s.

The period of JCP advances coincided with the high-rate economic growth period, in which contradictions of policies serving large corporations burst out as prices soared and pollution got more threatening. Even under these conditions, thanks to the people's struggle,the people had the benefit of using part of the economic growth to improve their living standards. Large corporations must fulfill their social responsibilities and observe social rules. Free medical care for the elderly, which was initiated by progressive local governments, became common and finally adopted as a national system. LDP politics was still capable of engendering economic growth, but at the same time contradictions with the general public sharpened. These were the circumstances in which the JCP won major advances.

However, in the 1980s and the 1990s, the deadlock LDP politics reached grew more serious year by year.

In the 1970s, Japan suffered two oil shocks. In the 1980s, Japan's economy entered a phase of low growth rate. At this stage, large corporations obtained record-breaking profits while making massive attacks on every aspect of people's lives. Economic growth did not mean the betterment of people's living conditions. A new form of poverty spread.

In my report to the JCP 2nd National Conference in 1991, I summarized the 1980s as a decade of "an increase in new poverty." In that period, large corporations committed outrages in the name of using the "vitality of the private sector." In the public sector, the buzz-word "administrative reform" was used to justify social security cuts.

In the 1990s, the bubble burst, followed by the prolonged economic recession, which made the political deadlock more apparent. While the impasse of LDP politics was reaching an extreme, the JCP began to make new advances in the latter half of the 1990s.

In this dramatic political development, our argument that a major JCP advance in the coming general election depends on our own efforts has historical and realistic grounds. Every party member must grasp this point and participate in preparations for the general election.

Advance in General Election, a challenging task of breaking untrodden areas

There is the possibility that the party can make a leap in the general election, depending on our own efforts. However, it is no easy task. As pointed out by many members, every JCP member must understand this point and tackle the task with firm determination.

This is certainly a very challenging and difficult task to accomplish. It is necessary for us to face up to the task based on the determination shared by all JCP members to break through this difficult situation.

What is the significance of a JCP advance in the coming general election? It was in the 1996 general election that the JCP made a real advance. Though the JCP made an advance in the 1995 House of Councilors election, it was in the 1996 election that a full-scale JCP advance began. At issue in the coming general election is whether or not the JCP can achieve another major advance by building on what it gained in 1996. We are going to enter this election to win an unprecedented victory.

Our goal in the election is to win larger numbers of JCP votes than the set goals as expressed in the ratio to the electorate. As mentioned in the Presidium Report, we set such an ambitious goal for the first time. In order to secure a major JCP advance in the coming election, we must not be satisfied with the usual ways of preparations. So, we set the goal as stated above. A proposal to overcome the difficulty in having JCP candidates elected in single seat constituencies is indeed a challenging task of building a new JCP position.

Let us overcome inertia which keeps our activity within bounds

How can we successfully accomplish the task? It is essential to overcome inertia arising from unfounded satisfaction with the monotonous repetition of activities.

Many speakers in the discussion said they were tackling new activities with greater determination and enthusiasm than ever. We know that even when the JCP is making advances, inertia may take on various forms. As we go forward it is very important to constantly make sure that if we are not trapped in monotonous repetition.

For example, in evaluating the political situation, it is often the case that party understanding falls behind actual dramatic changes taking place because of the belief that society does not change so easily. It is also true that the consecutive JCP advances in recent elections can cause you to have groundless optimism that further advances will be secured. This tendency derives from a kind of inertia that persists in evaluation of the political situation. Even if there is an objective possibility for further JCP advances, we cannot count on the wind blowing in our favor. Conscious efforts are essential for achieving such an advance. Grasping the political situation from the viewpoint of changing society is essential for the secure development of JCP activities.

Another question is about the need for the JCP to overcome the gap between increasing JCP political influence and its organizational strength. In the Presidium Report I said that making up for this gap is essential for our advances in elections. The gap is the party's organizational strength falling behind its increasing political influence. Chair Fuwa's statement emphasized that further JCP advances would not be forthcoming unless this weakness is overcome.

A decisive departure from inertia is necessary as we make efforts for the party's electoral success. There might be an optimistic view that even with reduced party strength, we would be able to carry the election. This is a wrong way of drawing lessons from the recent elections. As long as such thinking persists, a major JCP advance will not be possible. We also have called for the elimination of the thinking that it is natural for the readership of Akahata to decrease as an election comes closer. This opinion represents stereotyped thinking and the Presidium Report calls for it to be overcome.

In waging the coming election campaign, the JCP will work hard to fill this gap and create an upswing in JCP strength. As stated in the Presidium Report, this is a demanding task that requires new efforts. I want to call on all JCP members to make a fresh commitment to make a breakthrough.

Let us carry on and develop what we did in the United Efforts which led to new development of JCP activities

In the recent United Efforts, the party took a major step to break through the monotonous repetition of what we have done so far and open up new possibilities for the further development of the JCP.

We used new methods in the United Efforts. From beginning to end, the whole party held fast to the principle that party branches are the key players as the way of party leadership as well as party activities. It was also a step to make the JCP a party capable of making progress in all areas of activity to realize the people's demands, increase popular support for the JCP, party membership and Akahata readership. The JCP must be able to consciously pursue not only one task but all tasks comprehensively and reasonably.

This being a new development we have achieved, the party must not reduce it to a mere temporary effort. Let us make the JCP known to the electorate through a massive political campaign and carry on the tasks of the United Efforts as three activities in our election campaigns to ensure a great leap in the coming election.

House of Representatives proportional representation bloc seats reduction -- Our opposition is definitive and we will get JCP parliamentary representation strong enough to fend off such legislation

One more word regarding the concept of "depending on the JCP's conscious efforts"; the more the JCP advances, the stronger the reactionary backlash from the ruling parties.

The burning issue is the bill to cut House of Representatives seats from the proportional representation blocs. Apparently the bill is designed to prevent the JCP from achieving further advances.

Members of parliament are the link between the Diet and the public. The argument that the smaller the better concerning the number of parliamentary seats is unreasonable because it will only make the link weaker. The proportional representation system is the only system that can reflect the people's will in elections, and reducing seats from this part of the election system is doubly unreasonable.

What is more, the plan to only reduce proportional representation bloc seats will undermine the basis of the parallel system of the single-seat and proportional representation. When the parallel system was introduced, its advocates explained that in the single-seat constituencies the public will is intensively expressed while the public will is reflected in the proportional representation blocs; the two systems supposedly create a multiplier effect. That was the argument in favor of the combination of the two systems.

What does a reduction of only the proportional representation system mean? It totally runs counter to the fundamental purpose of the combination of the two systems and leads to the denial of the proportional representation system in favor of a simple single-seat system. This is why we say that the proposed bill is indeed aimed at a large-scale alteration to undermine the fundamentals of the parallel system.

I want to stress that such serious reform of the election system should not be

imposed without giving the people a chance to make judgment. If the government wants to change the system, it should ask the people's opinion by dissolving the House of Representatives and holding a general election.

What is happening is that the present coalition government, which was formed using the force of numbers, is disregarding the public will in order to change the election system to its advantage. If such maneuvers are allowed, democracy will not be maintained and the government will become despotic. The JCP will persistently oppose such maneuvers.

The JCP will do its utmost to stop the outrage by increasing joint struggles with the other opposition parties. Of course, we cannot make any predictions of what the outcome of the struggle will be.

We must emphasize that we naturally will make all-out efforts to defeat the outrage in the Diet but we have to be prepared for the worst situation. Even if the seat reduction bill is rammed through the Diet, the JCP will work to fend off the disadvantage and win a major advances. I call on all of you to join together to resolve to do your utmost.

In the election we maintain the goal to get more votes than the set targets in their ratio to all eligible voters, and this cannot be thwarted by any change in the election system. We will courageously work toward this goal. The JCP has set another goal to increase as many extra seats as possible in all proportional representation blocs. Even if the House of Representatives seat reduction bill is enacted, this goal should be maintained as an essential one. Let us confirm this point in the name of the JCP Central Committee.

Historic upheaval - Let us win advances with necessary efforts

Reacting to this Central Committee Plenum, many JCP members say they now feel that the political situation is changing more rapidly than they had expected

In the course of preparations for this CC Plenum, we re-read the JCP 21st Congress decision to find that much of what we decided is becoming real at a more rapid pace than we expected.

As I stated in the Presidium Report, those questions raised by that Congress, such as developing foreign relations with Asian countries and cooperation with revised capitalists, are becoming real at a higher speed than we expected.

Our time is one of a historic upheaval. Let us work harder to win major JCP advances in the general election. With this, I conclude the discussion. (Akahata January 16, 2000)

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The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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