After an absence of 69 years, JCP decides to attend Diet opening ceremony

December 25, 2015
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on December 24 held a press conference in the Diet building to announce that the JCP, after an absence of 69 years, will attend the opening ceremony of the Diet because the Emperor is no longer making political statements there.

The JCP chair added that the party, however, will continue demanding a drastic reform of the current form of the ceremony which adheres to the prewar customs to one which is appropriate to the concept of popular sovereignty as stipulated in the present Constitution.

On the same day, Shii met with Speaker of the House of Representatives Oshima Tadamori and informed him of the party’s intention to be present at the opening ceremony of the Diet. Shii, at the same time, urged the Lower House chairperson to consider revising the current style of the ceremony.

The prewar and wartime Diet was just a legislative support organ of the Emperor. The opening ceremony of the Imperial Diet was held based on the principle that “sovereign power resides with the Emperor” under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The current form of the ceremony still incorporates the prewar ritual. Therefore, the JCP has been proposing that the ceremony be based on the principle that “sovereign power resides with the people” under the present Constitution. This is why the JCP has been refraining from taking part in the opening ceremony of the Diet.

The following is an excerpt of the explanation Shii gave at the press conference:

The Emperor’s remarks in the opening ceremony used to include political statements such as praise for or positive references to policies of the Liberal Democratic Party government or of the U.S. administration. This was a clear violation of the Constitution that stipulates, “[H]e shall not have powers related to government.”

During the past 30 years or so, the Emperor has followed the constitutional provision, and his remarks have become merely ceremonial formality. Given this development, the JCP has decided to attend the opening ceremony of the Diet from now on.

However, the issue of the current outdated form of the ceremony still remains. It is necessary to reconsider the manner in which parliamentary events are carried out. The JCP will continue demanding fundamental reform so that the opening ceremony will fully comply with the present constitutional principle of popular sovereignty.

The JCP has judged that the party’s attendance at the ceremony will be a constructive step toward achieving this objective.


The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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