The JCP 28th Congress Opening Speech

Kazuo SHII
Executive Committee Chair

January 14, 2020
Atami, Japan

Dear delegates and observers gathering here,
and the people throughout Japan watching on the Internet,
I now declare the opening of the Japanese Communist Party 28th Congress.

On behalf of the Central Committee, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation and solidarity to all party members who have exerted their efforts to prepare for the success of this Congress.

Tribute to departed comrades

The last Congress was held in January 2017. In the 3 years since then, 13,828 comrades have passed away. Each one of them held tight to their original commitment to help to build a new Japan, to protect citizens’ rights, and to achieve world peace and social progress, working hard as a JCP member to the very end.

Please join me in a moment of silence to pay our respects to them.

Thank you. Please be seated.

Introduction of visiting members of diplomatic corps in Japan

We have invited foreign diplomats in Japan to observe this Congress as invited guests. I will read out their country names in the Japanese alphabetical order: Iraq, Palestine, Hungary, East Timor, Vietnam, Botswana, Madagascar, Moldova, and Laos. Ambassadors and diplomats of these 9 countries are present here today.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to them for coming to join us during the Congress. I truly hope that this will be an opportunity for us to deepen our mutual understanding and friendship.

Welcome and gratitude to guests

During the 3 years since our last Congress, united efforts of citizens and opposition parties have overcome various difficulties and hardships and been developing dramatically. We have invited to this Congress many of our friends who are fighting together with us in this united struggle.

Representatives of 3 parties and 2 parliamentary groups involved in the joint struggle, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, the Social Democratic Party, “Okinawa no Kaze”, and Hekisuikai, as well as a guest who has made a special contribution to the development of the joint effort, will deliver their speeches later.

We have also invited leaders of citizens’ movements. Along with friends we have been working together with for a long time, our new friends in the joint struggle who are representatives of the “sougakari” action committee, the Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitution, and the Metropolitan Coalition against Nukes, will be speaking during the Congress.

We have received messages in solidarity from Iwate Governor Tasso Takuya, Saitama Governor Ono Tomohiro, and Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny, as well as municipal heads, leaders of various organizations, and political parties and organizations abroad. They will be read out later.

Atami City Mayor Saito Sakae, representing the city where this Congress is being held, will also speak at the Congress. This is his fourth time to do so.

On behalf of the JCP Central Committee, I would like to express my warm welcome and appreciation to all who have taken part in the Congress as a guest as well as those who have sent their warm messages of solidarity.

“Question” and “hope”

In regard to the question of how we can further develop the united struggle of concerned citizens and opposition parties, I would like to touch on the JCP’s basic position regarding the joint struggle.

Last August, we called on opposition parties to begin talks aimed at building a coalition government of opposition parties based on the achievements of our united efforts in the last 3 national elections. We have been able to have such talks with heads of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, the Social Democratic Party, and Reiwa Shinsengumi, and we have reached a consensus on the need to “defeat the Abe Cabinet, initiate a change in government, and restore constitutionalism.” We believe this has marked a significant progress toward achieving our objectives.

How can we further develop this process into success, win victories in the upcoming general election, bring down the Abe administration and build a new politics? The JCP is determined to maintain the following two basic positions and contribute to the development of the united struggle.

First is to work on the two tasks together: to raise public awareness of the problems associated with the Abe administration policies and show the public policy options they can support and place their hopes on.

The Abe administration is now facing moral collapse as well as a domestic and diplomatic stalemate. It has to be removed from power. To demand a thorough investigation into various scandals involving the Abe administration such as the “cherry-blossoms viewing party” and casino bribery scandals, is the opposition parties’ responsibility. We need to restore democratic values which the Abe cabinet has attempted to destroy and the administrative and bureaucratic systems it has distorted, uncover hidden documents, and reveal the plethora of wrongdoings. I would like to emphasize that this is a very meaningful task that cannot be avoided in order to build a new direction in politics in Japan.

At the same time, it is important to inform the general public of policy options they can support and place their hopes on. To depart from the Abe administration policies, we propose three focal points: restore constitutionalism, democracy, and pacifism based on the Constitution; reduce disparities and implement policies prioritizing people’s livelihoods; and value diversity and respect the dignity of individuals. We believe that these three points of focus have already become the opposition parties’ common stance.

We need to place them as foundational principles of the united struggle, and confirm our will to jointly establish a new government, elaborate policies that the coalition government will implement, and discuss thoroughly how to respond to issues we cannot agree on prior to forming a coalition government. With the general election in mind, in order to create a viable option of a government that citizens can feel they can trust, we express our determination to have heart-to-heart communication with each other as well as the general public and exert all our wisdom and energy to achieve our goals.

Unity in diversity

The second is to stick to the stance of what we call “unity in diversity.” This means that opposition parties will value and respect differences in positons on specific issues and work to be united based on their common grounds.

The JCP and other opposition parties have different policies, ideas, and world views. It is precisely because we have such differences that we form different parties. To recognize our differences, respect each other’s positions, and firmly unite based on common points is the path to ensure cooperation and success in our joint efforts as opposition parties.

The JCP has its own policies on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the Self-Defense Forces, and the emperor system. We also endorse the position of overcoming capitalism and moving on to socialism/communism. We tirelessly inform the general public about those policies and prospects. At the same time, we never try to force other opposition parties in the united struggle to accept our policies. For opposition parties to stick to this position of uniting on common grounds is the best guarantee to develop the joint struggle strongly and flexibly.

The other day I had an opportunity to talk with Sophia University Professor Nakano Koichi, who is a founder of the Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism. Professor Nakano said, “As long as opposition parties call for diversity, it is inevitable for them to assume diversity on their way to get there.” As we pursue politics that values diversity, we need to value diversity on a path to achieve it. We cannot deny this. Only by respecting diversity among opposition parties can we build politics that values diversity and respects the dignity of individuals. This is our conviction.

To “question” issues and show “hope” as well as to maintain “unity in diversity” – by holding fast to these two basic positions, we will do our utmost to bring the united struggle of citizens and opposition parties to success and create a coalition government composed of opposition parties.

Historical significance of the Congress

For the development of the united struggle, it is the JCP’s grave responsibility to increase our strength and make further progress.

This Congress has special historical significance in our party history.

Its task is to revise the JCP Program for the first time in 16 years. Following the establishment of the basis of the Program at the 8th Congress in 1961, we revised it extensively in the 23rd Congress in 2004. Since then, the Program has exercised its vital power as a compass to show the party’s future course. To this Congress, we have proposed a partial revision of the Program centering on the world situation and related parts of the theory concerning the establishment of a future society. This revision will bring fresh and rich vitality to the entire Program. I will report on the draft amendment of the Program.

The draft First Resolution (political tasks) clarifies our policies on how to carry out our two major tasks: developing the united struggle of citizens and opposition parties and achieving JCP progress. How to accomplish these two major tasks is our crucial challenge. Secretariat Head Koike Akira will clarify our basic stance on this question in his report on the draft First Resolution.

The draft Second Resolution (party building) focuses on the broad policy of our party building efforts aiming toward 2022, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the JCP. During the process of the united struggle, we have made new connections and friends, creating unprecedented and historical opportunities to build a stronger and larger party. How can we make full use of these new connections to bring party building efforts to success? Considering the crucial importance of this particular task, we have written a separate draft resolution regarding party building for the first time in the party’s history. Vice Chair Yamashita Yoshiki will give a report on the draft Second Resolution.

For success of historical Congress

The Congress has the two tasks to fulfill.

The first is to refine and adopt the three draft resolutions: the draft partial revision of the Program, the draft First Resolution, and the draft Second Resolution. In discussions during the Congress as the last stage concluding the intra-party discussions, let us gather the party’s wisdom and experience to further refine, deepen, and adopt them as our scientific compass to help define our future course.

The second task is to elect new Central Committee members who will lead the party to give shape to and implement the Party Program and Congress Resolutions. It is crucial for the Congress to build a new Central Committee where younger members and women members can freely share their perspectives and exert their skills together with veteran members.

Let us join forces to bring to success the 28th Congress which is historically significant both for Japan’s future and the JCP’s future. With that aspiration in mind, I conclude my opening speech.

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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