The closing remarks on discussion of the proposal for the partial revision of the JCP Program

Shii Kazuo
Chair, Executive Committee,

November, 5, 2019

Thank you for the two-day long assembly discussion.

During the meeting, 46 of our comrades took the floor. The satellite communication we provided was accessed at 1,536 access points with 10,918 viewers and we had a total of 31,049 viewers through intra-communication and the Internet. We received 1,037 comments from all over the country.

On each of the proposals, each presenter will give concluding remarks respectively, and on behalf of the Executive Committee, I will give concluding remarks on the proposal of a partial revision to the Party Program.


On amendment requests and questions regarding the revision proposal

The proposed partial revision of the Program is greatly welcomed, both among the assembly discussants and in comments submitted from all over the country. Though the proposed revision relates to a wide range of matters, we have had positive feedback overall.

First, I will address the amendment requests and answer the questions on the revision proposal. The amended items are as distributed. We have made some lexical or terminological fixes.

The phrase "people in a weak position" has been removed

Regarding the content, we have deleted the phrase “other people in a weak position” and added “indigenous peoples, and others” into the section 9 which addresses the international development of human rights. The original phrase "people in a weak position" was based on the comprehensive concept of "people in a vulnerable position" used in United Nations documents, but some argued, “when you say you are in a weak position, you feel a sense of discomfort." The original phrase is not to refer to women and other people as "weak people", but rather to mean "people who have been placed in a weak position", but they insisted that they felt a sense of incongruity in the word "weak" itself. Therefore, we decided to remove the expression "people in a weak position". Even if we delete it, I think that the meaning of this part is understood clearly. We have decided that words that give discomfort to some should not be left in the Program.

On the term "civil society"

Regarding the term "civil society" as is used in the draft, some comrades proposed to replace this term with "citizens' movement."

The term "civil society" is a common term that has already been established in the international community, such as the United Nations, and is used as a comprehensive concept that encompasses individuals and organizations that are voluntarily involved in the activities of the United Nations. It includes experts in various fields, religious leaders, and parliamentarians, for example, as stated in the preamble of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We also participated in the United Nations Conference on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as members of the Diet, and we have been listed as members of "Civil Society" as clearly stated in the treaty. In this way, "civil society" is a term with a broader meaning than "citizen's movement", and I would like to leave it in the draft.

Why did the change in China as stated in the report occur?

We will answer some questions.

Some comrades asked, "Why and when did the change in China mentioned in the proposal report happen, and what triggered it?"

It's a rather difficult question, but I'd like to answer it to the extent that I can.

Regarding the question "when," we recognize that the problem with China’s behavior in international relations started to appear around the end of the Hu Jintao administration and the early stage of the Xi Jinping administration, or around 2008 and 2009. It was in 2009 that China showed its reluctance to straightforwardly commit to the abolition of nuclear weapons by shelving it as its "ultimate goal" on the international stage. It was in 2008 that it took the first act of letting their public vessels intrude into Japan’s territorial waters of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. It was in 2009 that it began to publicly claim its rights over almost the entire South China Sea.

We think that behind this is the fact that China surpassed Japan in GDP and became the world's second largest “economic power” during the same period. As China became economically powerful, the Chinese leadership was supposed to address issues more humbly and sincerely. But, they did not do so, rather, the face of "great power chauvinism and hegemonism" appeared. We believe that this is the background to the problem.

More fundamentally, we must point to the historical conditions that China has been subjected to. The Chinese Revolution began in a literally underdeveloped country. In particular, the revolution occurred in a non-parliamentary manner in the form of a revolutionary war with the absence of various effective systems of freedom and democracy, and the development of freedom and democracy was not prioritized in the post-revolutionary period following the introduction of a "one-party system" Soviet-style. These factors created the major obstacle to the democratic development of Chinese society.

In addition, one of the other underlying historical conditions is that Chinese society has a history of great power chauvinism. Before the modern era, China, as a major power in East Asia, has a history of creating tributary systems affecting neighboring countries and putting them in a position of subordination. With that history, its great power chauvinism and hegemonism appeared in various forms even after the Chinese revolution, including violent interference in the internal affairs of the Japanese Communist Party at the time of the "Cultural Revolution" during the Mao Zedong era.

And, all the more because of that history, it is absolutely necessary that the Chinese leadership exert strong self-control and prudence in order not to fall again into great power chauvinism and hegemonism. During the period of several years since 1998, when the relations between the JCP and the CPC were normalized, such self-control and prudence of the CPC was undoubtedly exerted, such as officially announcing "serious examination and correction" to its interference with the JCP. But it was ephemeral.

Thus, fundamentally, the historical conditions that China placed was behind all of this.

Why is Africa not included in the move toward regional cooperation for peace?

Among the questions asked was, "Why is Africa not included in the move toward regional cooperation for peace?"

The African Union (AU) exists as an organization comprising all 55 countries on the continent. The countries of the continent have played a positive role in working for the abolition of nuclear weapons, including the entry into force of the African Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty in 2009. The Japanese Communist Party has actively cultivated the relations of cooperation with African countries on this issue, by utilizing venues such as the United Nations conferences.

However, the principle of non-interference has not been observed in the region, and in the case of conflict and civil war in Burundi, Rwanda and Sudan, the AU turned to military intervention. In this way, there are still left various problems regarding the peaceful resolution of conflicts. With that in mind, the Program does not include Africa in the areas where regional cooperation for peace is advancing.

At the same time, the liberation from colonial rule on the African continent has become an important part of the great development of world history, and we closely watch with hope the further development of the countries on this continent.


The draft Program as a vital force to advance the current struggle in Japan

Now, in light of the discussion, what I would like to emphasize is that though the proposals are mainly about international relations, it is not a "story of distant foreign countries" but rather will be a vital force that advances the current Japanese struggle. This was highlighted in the discussion. I think this point is very important. Based on the discussion, I would like to touch on four points.

Grasping the global trend is the foundation on which you advance the struggles in Japan with conviction

First, grasping the global trend will be an indispensable foundation for advancing Japan's struggle with conviction.

In the discussion, a comrade said, "When you look at the daily news, what is happening in the world is only a bunch of dark stories, but I read the draft proposal and saw a bright way forward." There were a lot of similar comments sent to us from across the nation.

Certainly, the world looks like a series of dark, terrible events when you only look at small portions separately. However, on a large historical scale, the world has made steady progress despite various twists and reverses.

The 20th century was exactly such kind of century. When you only look at events separately, it is no exaggeration to say that the 20th century was a series of wars and acts of oppression, and that there has never been a century in which so many people fell victim to violence. But when you look at it on the centennial scale, it is the century through which the human race recorded huge progress. That is what Section 7 of the Program states.

And in the 21st century, if you look at events as isolated phenomena, there also seems to be a continuation of dark news such as war and terrorism. However, when you look at the twenty years of this century so far as a whole, progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons, regional cooperation for peace, and international human rights protection are sharply evident, as the draft proposals argues.

The revision proposal embraces such a broad view of world history. As mentioned in the report, our fundamental position is to capture the progressive prospects of the world in the 21st century by analyzing the enormous historic changes recorded in the 20th century. This position was basically the position of the 2004 revision of the Program, but I think that this revision is a thorough adoption of this position.

And what I would like to emphasize is that it is the people’s struggle in each country that have been the driving force supporting such progress in human history in both the 20th century and the 21st century. The world theory of the Program is based on the standpoint of the scientific socialism and historical materialism that "the people's struggles make history," and grasping this firmly is surely very important in order for us to advance our struggle in Japan with conviction.

Struggles in Japan and around the world are directly connected

Second, the fight in Japan and the fight in the world are directly linked through "globalization." In particular, with the Internet and SNS rapidly pervading, such linkage has become more evident. Any event anywhere in the world will be transmitted throughout the whole of the world in an instant, and they will have various interactions.

The fight for “a world without nuclear weapons,” for more fundamental protection of human rights and achievement of gender equality, for the closing of the gap between rich and poor, for dealing effectively with climate change, etc., as described in the report, are all major problems in the world as well as serious issues which concern a lot of Japanese people. On these issues, the world's movements have an immediate impact on Japanese public opinion and movements, and thus, are deeply related to each other.

The proposed revision analyzes these issues through the perspective of the global trend of the world in the 21st century and the contradictions of world capitalism, and clarifies the prospects for resolution. Then, it calls for strengthening international solidarity on these issues.

The proposed draft will help to meet the expectations of the Japanese people who are seriously seeking to solve issues which are required to be resolved on a global scale, and develop Japan's fight by relating it to the global trend.

The Significance of China-Related Program Revision: A meaningful effort to advance the cause of World Peace and Progress

Third, I would like to address the significance of our proposal to delete the part which includes China in a group of states which “are beginning a new quest for socialism,” based on the judgment that the rationale for judging China as such is no longer the case after making clear the problems with China in the international political arena in line with objective facts and reason.

Many comrades said that this revision would help to overcome misunderstandings and prejudices against the Japanese Communist Party. Attacks that equate the Japanese Communist Party with the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have been widely carried out. Not only that, the Chinese government's great power chauvinistic and hegemonistic behavior and human rights abuses have been widely criticized and worried about among Japanese people, and it is also true that "a negative image" of socialism is an obstacle to the advance of the Japanese Communist Party. There is no doubt that the new proposal will be very helpful in resolving these misunderstandings and prejudices and making the Japanese Communist Party more attractive to the general public.

At the same time, I would like to emphasize that our party's frank criticism of the problems China has in its international relations is not only because of our desire to overcome the misunderstandings among the Japanese public, but also because we believe that it will help to achieve peace and progress in the world.

Though the newly emerging great power chauvinism, hegemonism and the human rights abuses in China are serious, to squarely criticize China based on objective facts and reason is, frankly speaking, weak when you look around the world.

The Abe administration is also weak in its stance of frankly raising and criticizing the problem of China's hegemonistic behavior, even if it uses any of separate acts of China to enable the administration’s increase in military spending as a reaction, such as the response to the Senkaku Islands issue. It does not make any proper criticism of the human rights abuses taking place in Hong Kong. This situation is continuing.

Under these circumstances, I believe that the Japanese Communist Party's criticism of China based on facts and reason has dealt a blow to China's acts of great power chauvinism and hegemonism. That is why, as clearly stated in the report, the Communist Party of China called for the removal of the description of "new hegemonism and great power chauvinism" that was included in the resolution of the JCP 27th Congress three years ago. Because it was felt as, they asked for it to be deleted.

I would like to emphasize that in this sense the Japanese Communist Party's criticism of China's actions is an effort to further the cause for advancing world peace and progress, and I would like to express my determination to fulfill this international responsibility as a party with a strong independent tradition.

All of our struggles now are preparing for a future society

The fourth is how significant the draft program emphasizes the proposition that "Social changes [initiated] in a developed capitalist country are the high road to socialism or communism."

We have drawn such a conclusion from looking closely at the world’s history.

As mentioned in the report, our party never denies the feasibility of socialist change in countries where capitalism has been underdeveloped as that it would be theoretically unfounded and arrogant.

At the same time, the century-long experience of world history since the Russian Revolution has proved that socialist transformation of countries where capitalism was underdeveloped was extremely difficult. Under these circumstances, let us perseveringly challenge the unexplored path to open the way to socialism and communism from a developed capitalist country. This is the position of the draft Program.

The proposal report alludes to the "rich and great potential" along with the "special difficulties" of socialist transformation in a developed capitalist country. What I would like to emphasize in my closing remarks is that our current struggle is a struggle to overcome the "special difficulties" and to prepare for realizing "the rich and great potential."

Our ongoing across-the-party campaign to promote Party strength is nothing less than a struggle to fundamentally strengthen the subjective conditions of social change, break through "special difficulties", and build the maximum and best guarantee to advance social progress in Japan.

In addition, the fight for the creation of an “economy governed by rules” including shortened working hours, and the fight for the creation of a society where all individuals can live with dignity by achieving a rich development of human rights form the fight to enrich elements that will lead us to a future society. These struggles are directly connected to our vision of a future society.

Our current struggles are fundamentally aimed to prepare for the emergence of a future society, which the JCP aspire to realize. With this in mind, let us fight with such a great ambition, and make a big leap forward of the Japanese Communist Party.

In particular, I sincerely emphasize that you should make the draft proposal become your political and theoretical driving force for the success of the party-building campaign, and on that note, I conclude the discussion.


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