At Speech Assembly to Mark the 80th Anniversary of the Japanese Communist Party
July 8, 2002 - Tokyo International Forum
Good evening, everyone. I am SHII Kazuo of the Japanese Communist Party. I want to first express my warm greetings and thanks to everyone in this hall and to all those who are watching this speech assembly via communication satellite for your participation.
I want to thank Rev. OSHIMA Ryojun and Mr. YONEKURA Masakane for their encouraging greetings. My thanks also go to the many people from various circles for their congratulatory messages.
As Central Committee Chair FUWA Tetsuzo will speak about the 80-year history of the JCP and the general outlook for the 21st century, I will devote my speech to "Political issues and the JCP." Let me specifically review the Koizumi government's one year in power and talk about political prospects from several angles.
One of the biggest changes taking place in the past year should be the burst of the "Koizumi bubble," namely the steep fall of support rates for the Koizumi Cabinet.
You all remember that just a year ago, the Koizumi Cabinet was enjoying very high support rates at around 80 percent, and it was likened to a whirlwind. His every move, even his haircut, was laudable, and people lined up for posters of Koizumi. The JCP was the only political party to state from the outset, without fear, that Koizumi's "reform" is a sham by showing its own proposal as real alternatives.
That is why the JCP had to endure adverse winds. In the House of Councilors election, the JCP was forced into a setback. In last year's JCP founding anniversary assembly shortly after the election, I stated that what the JCP called then for will be given life and vigor in future political developments. This has been affirmed dramatically by the political developments in the past year.
What is Koizumi politics, after all? It was a kind of desperate tactic for attempting to weather a crisis of the LDP by making empty promises that he would "change" and even "destroy" the LDP in order to prevent the public from being estranged from the ruling party.
They used very simple ways and means. First he fabricated enemies and called them "resistance forces." Then he acted as a "hero" fighting those fictitious opponents. Koizumi politics is seriously to blame for manipulating the public through deceptive politicking.
The past year has clearly seen that the prime minister's antagonism with so-called "resistance forces" was a fabrication and that the prime minister's "reform" is illusory. I think that this fact became clearer from the revelation of the many scandals involving "money for political influence."
One scandal after another has been revealed, involving SUZUKI Muneo (LDP House of Representatives), KATO Koichi (former LDP secretary-general), and INOUE Yutaka (former House of Councilors president), as well as suspicions concerning the cabinet's secret funds. The question is what Prime Minister Koizumi has said and done in response to these scandals.
The prime minister has two sentences he repeats when faced with political scandals. At the revelation of a suspicion involving a politician, he would say, "If a politician has come under suspicion, he or she should make clear what it is about." When a politician is urged to resign to take responsibility for a scandal, Koizumi would say, "Whether to resign or not is a matter to be decided by the politician." He has repeated these two statements over again. Prime Minister Koizumi pretends that he has nothing to do with any political scandals. He has not even once exerted a self-cleansing effort as the LDP president.
In an attempt to justify corporate donations to politicians, a major source
of political corruption, he has constantly argued that "sports and music
events receive corporate money, so corporate donations are not necessarily evil."
Corporations sponsor music or sports events because they know that such donations
will be an effective means of advertisement. But corporations may not find the
LDP an effective vehicle for their advertisement. If a corporation becomes an
LDP sponsor, it will only mean tarnishing its own name and image. Corporate
donations are distorting politics to their advantage. It is intolerable to see
the prime minister maintain a defiant position by deliberately mixing up two
different things: corporate donations for advertisement and political donations.
The JCP revealed the details of how part of the state secret fund was abused for party politics. For the purpose of passing bills through parliament smoothly, the cabinet office distributed quality business suits worth one-million yen to several Dietmembers. When asked about the 500,000 yen allegedly given to him from the "secret fund," the prime minister just said, "It's an allegation about what might have happened 10 years ago, and I don't remember." He even refused to look into the allegation. At the time, the JCP did not confine its investigation into the allegation about 500,000 yen for Koizumi. We tried to raise questions about the undercover money system, but Prime Minister Koizumi completely refused even to discuss it.
Where is "reform" to be found? Look at politicking that pursues vested interests, which is the corrupt foundation of LDP politics and you will realize there is no such thing as antagonism between the prime minister and the opposition force within the LDP. The prime minister, the LDP, and the other ruling parties are all comrades in politics who together oppose any genuine reform that would make politics clean. The past year has been a clear proof of this.
I believe that the JCP, backed by the people, has played a significant role in bringing about these political changes. Recently a senior board member of an opinion polling firm affiliated with a business organization sent us a comment on the JCP. He said:
"The JCP's revelations concerning 'Muneo house' made politics interesting.The firmly united JCP has recourse not only to make frontal attacks but also to use undercover information. The JCP is a political party that can be entrusted with internal information concerning corporate wrongdoing. This gives the JCP the edge over other parties." He is right.
The comment went on to say: "A year ago, when 80 to 90 percent of the general public was in favor of Prime Minister Koizumi, the JCP was as critical of the Koizumi Cabinet as it is now. People are well aware that the JCP is the very opposite to what the LDP stands for."
It is easy to criticize someone whose power is waning. A political party that can say someone is wrong even when they enjoy an extraordinarily high approval rate has courage.
Prime Minister Koizumi deceived the public when he said he would "destroy the LDP." He also cheated the public when he had a fixed fight with the "resistance forces" (within the ruling LDP). He is to blame for all of this. He has reneged on his own promise to change the LDP because he has done nothing to change the corrupt LDP. He is also to blame for this. I want to take this opportunity to demand an early dissolution of the House of Representatives and a general election to seek the people's judgment.
Koizumi's policies have been devoted to an "ultimate life-support operation" of LDP politics, so their failure has proven very costly. This has deepened the crisis of LDP politics and marks the beginning of a period of new political turmoil. I think this is the beginning of a nationwide quest for real reform.
I have two points which I want to discuss with you.
First, I want to talk about people's living conditions and the economy.
Let me begin with the issue of living standards and the nation's economy.
Prime Minister Koizumi has spent the past year repeatedly telling people, "Endure the present hardships and the economy will be better tomorrow" as a result of structural reform.
The prime minister has kept his promise as far as "hardships" are concerned. The government's call for the "complete disposal of bad debts" has meant pushing small- and medium-sized businesses into bankruptcy.
Since the year the Koizumi Cabinet was established, 51 credit unions and associations that have supported regional economies were forced out of business. A fierce confrontation is under way in parliament over the government bill for a major adverse revision of the medical insurance system to force patients to shoulder an extra burden of 1.51 trillion yen.
In June, the government Tax Commission published a report calling for ordinary citizens and small- and medium-sized businesses to pay more in income tax, consumption tax and size-based tax. If this plan is put into practice, it will be a tax increase of more than 23 trillion yen.
I've never seen such a cold-hearted and merciless government as this one which completely disregards hardships the people have to endure. Our response to these attacks should be to increase the struggle to defend our living conditions in all areas. In particular, we will do everything possible to increase the struggle to block the bill for the adverse revision of the medical insurance system in the next 23 days before the end of the current Diet session.
What will the future of the nation's economy be like with the people being asked to endure such hardships?
The structural reform of the Koizumi Cabinet from the outset has been dependent on the U.S. economy. But the U.S. economy is failing due to the burst of the bubble, frauds, and corruption. This is doubly damaging to the government's structural reform policy.
In the first place, Japan can no longer count on exports to the United States to escape its domestic economic recession.
At a time when the government's policy of urging banks to write off bad loans is causing many business failures, increasing unemployment, and discouraging people from spending money, the Koizumi Cabinet is saying that the U.S. economy, which is in good shape, will enable Japan to bolster exports to make up for the losses. It's like walking a tightrope.
In its monthly economic report for May, the government declared that the nation's economic recession was bottoming out, although personal consumption and capital investment, which are key elements of domestic demand, were sluggish. The only reason the government gave for the assessment was that exports increased slightly. But this assessment soon proved wrong, as the U.S. economic was clearly slowing down.
I would say the other issue is more serious. What is billed as the Koizumi "structural reform" is modeled after American capitalism. And everyone now knows that U.S. capitalism is neither "fair" nor "transparent," it is a system plagued with fraud and corruption.
Late last year, U.S. energy giant Enron Corporation went bankrupt after the revelation of its accounting frauds. In June, WorldCom, Inc., one of the largest long-distance telephone carriers, which is larger than Enron in terms of asset, admitted to window-dressing. At this point, no one knows to what extent the U.S. economy has decayed. What's more, Enron's accounting frauds involved the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, one of the world's five leading auditors. The auditor colluded with its client in a window-dressing scam. Such an auditor needs its own auditor and a new auditing company needs to be established. This isn't a joke in the United States.
The common thread that run through Enron and WorldCom is that corporate giants are driven by stock prices.
An "NHK special" on June 22 stated, "Enron's bankruptcy indicates that something is wrong with the United States." I found it a good program. It showed how Enron manipulated its stock price using whatever means to raise it almost ninefold. Enron suffered an enormous loss in the course of its forcible growth. It tried to conceal the loss in some 2,800 shell companies it created for that purpose. The Enron management continued to explain that the company's earning was increasing although it was suffering huge losses.
The TV program referred to a book entitled "Liar's Poker," which is widely read by U.S. stock dealers. "Liar's Poker" is a game. Players tell lies to each other. A player will lose the game when his lie is discovered and the one who continues to tell a lie to the end will be the winner. The game is simple but cannot be ethical. "Liar's Poker" tells you how to be a smart liar.
A former Enron employee in an interview segment on the TV program admitted that Enron was playing "Liar's Poker" by betting on the company's destiny. I think that this comment reveals the fact that raising stock prices is everything in "casino capitalism."
Prime Minister Koizumi and Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister TAKENAKA Heizo have been telling the public that the economic success in the United States will guide us in carrying out the "structural reform." They are saying: Raise stock prices and increase corporate profitability above anything else; get rid of regulations that hamper profit-making efforts; cut the redundant workforce, eliminate unprofitable small- and medium-sized businesses; accept the law of the jungle; do not worry about the growing gap between rich and poor; catch up with the era of high risks and high returns; do not be afraid of crossing a risky bridge; and devote yourself to casino business. These are of course what they are saying, not me. To all those advocates of these things, I would ask a question: Is making Japan a "Liar's Poker" player the way to "reform"?
True lessons for Japan to learn from the present economic situation in the United States would be the following two things:
One is the need to stop depending on exports and give priority to boosting domestic demand by switching economic policy to one of placing emphasis on measures to improve living standards, including job creation and security, support for small- and medium-sized businesses, and cuts in the consumption tax rate, all of which will contribute to increasing household spending.
The other is the need for Japan to switch economic policy to one of attaching importance to "corporate responsibility" instead of trying to copy a "casino capitalism" that only focuses on raising stock prices.
European countries are capitalist countries, but they are exploring a different way. In July last year, the European Commission, which is the European Union's government, published a consultation document entitled "Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility," and called for discussion on it. The document's basic idea is that corporations not only serve stock holders, but are responsible for the whole society - employees, business partners, local communities, the environment, and human rights- and that the full-fledged development of the economy and businesses is possible only when corporations fulfill these responsibilities.
This is a direction similar to the JCP proposal for "an economy and society that function by rule to defend the people's livelihoods." I am sure that this is the way to create a society that is really prosperous and equitable in the 21st century.
Next, let me move on to the question of peace and foreign policy. I'll deal with this subject to examine Japan's future course in connection with the new U.S. pursuit of hegemony.
The biggest event the world has witnessed in the past year is the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States and the subsequent retaliatory war against Afghanistan.
The question is: What are the true lessons of these incidents? In Afghanistan, a new government was established to replace the Taliban regime, but the retaliatory war goes on, killing more than 3,000 innocent civilians. The number of victims further increased in May and June. The U.S. air strikes using large helicopters and jet bombers hit a wedding ceremony in June and they lasted several hours. The wedding ceremony that was full of joy was suddenly turned to hell, killing 48 people.
Despite the war that caused so many casualties, Osama bin Laden, who allegedly masterminded the terrorist attacks, has not been captured, nor has the al-Qaida group been eliminated. All this shows that terrorism cannot be eradicated by war and that there's no way out in a war against terrorism. Only through united international actions based on law and justice can we help root out terrorism. This is the lesson we need to learn from the terrorist attacks and the retaliatory war.
Nevertheless, what the United States has learned from what has happened is contrary to what it should learn. The lesson the United States has drawn can be summarized as follows:
"Conventional wisdom will not apply to terrorist organizations that do not have land or people to defend or states that seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. We will not hesitate to carry out preemptive strikes, or even preemptive nuclear strikes, if necessary. This is a new strategy we now need."
The Bush administration has announced this new dangerous strategy in President Bush's "axis of evil" threat in January and the "Nuclear Posture Review" which the administration submitted in the same month to the U.S. Congress. It is reported that the "National Security Strategy" to be published in autumn by the White House is expected to officially adopt this dangerous strategy.
The U.S. administration's decision is not just on paper. The New York Times recently reported that the primary target of U.S. attacks is Iraq and that the U.S. Central Command is ready to strike Iraq under an operational plan to send in as many as 250,000 troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime.
This has aroused severe criticism in many countries, including Non-Aligned Countries and EU countries. Criticism is also arising in the United States.
I want to mention a critical comment written recently by Bruce G. Blair, president of the Center for Defense Information, a Washington think tank. Dr. Blair based his criticism on experiences he had as a Minuteman ICBM launch control officer. Yes, he was on this very dangerous assignment for many years. He warned that the U.S. insistence on "preemption" in using nuclear weapons is tantamount to inviting other countries to maintain and even use such weapons. Dr. Blair emphasizes how dangerous it is for the United States to do so, and went on to say:
"U.S. nuclear weapons played no role whatsoever in deterring the most immediate threat to the American homeland....The real lesson, which apparently was lost on the drafters of the Bush review, is that all of these weapons of mass destruction (WMD) must be completely eliminated.... The only answer to the scourge is a WMD-free world. No country can be exempt from the ban. Not even the United States."
The lesson of the 9/11 tragedy should be that nuclear weapons must be eliminated -- this call is beginning to be heard in the United States.
I want to take this occasion to call for a united international effort to stop U.S. hegemony from putting the world in a state of nuclear terror and chaos in contravention of the U.N. Charter.
Look at Prime Minister Koizumi's reaction to the new U.S. strategy. I clearly remember two parliamentary discussions in which I was struck by his answers to my questions.
One was at the House of Representatives Special Committee meeting on the contingency bills on May 7. Referring to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Ramsfeld's article that insisted on the need for preemptive strikes, I urged the prime minister to declare such a U.S. policy as unjustifiable. To my surprise, his answer was that he understood that "preemption" is a U.S. option.
The other was on June 12. I used the "Question Time" (one-on-one debate with the prime minister in the Diet) to raise questions about the U.S. "Nuclear Posture Review" report that set out a policy of affirming nuclear attacks against non-nuclear countries. I said that Japan, the only atomic-bombed country, should reject such a policy. His reply was: "The United States has the right to maintain options."
No previous Japanese prime minister has been as open as Koizmumi in expressing such a view in favor of the United States. I remember a debate I had in parliament in 1997 with HASHIMOTO Ryutaro, the prime minister at the time, on the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. I asked him whether Japan will cooperate with the United States by enforcing the 'Guidelines' in U.S. wars involving preemptive attacks. Mr. Hashimoto's answer was that Japan will not start from the premise that the United States will use force in violation of international law. So he explained away by expressing his belief that it is highly improbable that the U.S. will carry out such illegal actions. By contrast, Prime Minister Koizumi shows understanding toward what he calls U.S. "options," regardless of whether they are illegal or not. This is unbearable!
In June, there was a media report that at a summit meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi in February, U.S. President Bush stated that the United States no doubt will strike Iraq. The report said that the U.S. president twice said that strikes should be quick and that Mr. Koizumi parroted in English what Mr. Bush said apparently to make sure that his understanding is accurate.
These statements appeared convincing to me. Now that Mr. Koizumi has virtually approved of U.S. strikes against Iraq, he cannot but show understanding toward U.S. action, whether it involves a preemptive strike or a nuclear attack. I must condemn the Koizumi government for its extraordinary submission to U.S. policies in disregard of Japan's independence.
Everyone should realize how dangerous it will be to allow the present government to have the contingency laws enacted. The JCP has said that the contingency legislation is not for defending Japan. It has argued that it is a dangerous scheme that allows the Self-Defense Forces to take part in U.S. wars anywhere in the world, use military force, and mobilize the public for war.
In planning wars, the United States conceives first-strikes and use of nuclear weapons. We must not allow Japan to take part in such wars. Never, ever. This issue remains in the Diet. Let us continue to fight to get the bills scrapped and push the government into completely giving up passing such legislation.
Look back on the past year and you will realize that the JCP has exerted power of reason in dealing with the tumultuous international situation.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent retaliatory war, the JCP twice sent letters to governments of the world, requesting them that the matter be solved by law and reason instead of resorting to war.
When India and Pakistan, both non-aligned countries, were on the brink of war, the JCP sent letters to both governments, stressing that their dispute should be settled in a manner consistent with the great cause of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The JCP has put into practice a peace diplomacy, which is exactly what the government, guided by Article 9 of the Constitution, should carry out based on reason. The value of the JCP, which represents sovereign independence established through many ordeals, has been proved real in the turmoil and crises that have taken place throughout the world in the past year.
I acutely feel that Japan's submission to the United States is one of the root causes of Japan's economy and foreign relations being distorted. There can't be any real change without ending this submission.
We are calling for a Japan which is truly independent, a Japan without the Japan-U.S. military alliance; we are calling for the establishment of an economy that has regulations for doing away with the arrogance of major corporations. This is our proposal for "Remaking Japan." In the present tumultuous world it is clear that this proposal offers hope for the 21st century.
How can we pave the way for remaking Japan? We can do that by further strengthening the forces for true reform both in national and local politics. It is essential to achieve an advance of the party that can really promote change and change power relations between political parties. In the House of Representatives general election, in the October by-elections, and in simultaneous local elections next year, the JCP will exert an all-out effort to achieve these aims.
To this end, we must get result in our efforts to build a stronger and larger
During the past year, the JCP has joined together with a wide range of people to achieve various results that had a significant impact on real politics. I want to emphasize that these are gains achieved by our parliamentary struggle supported by grassroots activities throughout the country.
For example, the JCP Dietmembers Group did a great job revealing suspicions about Suzuki Muneo, in concert with the JCP Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly Members Group and the JCP Nemuro City Assembly Members Group.
A JCP member of the Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly first heard about "Muneo Clinic" in September 2001 during her visit to Shikotan Island (one of the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido) on a Japan-Russia "exchange program without visas." On another occasion, a JCP member of the Nemuro City Assembly discovered a banner reading: "Mr. Suzuki, You are a friend of ours" at the entrance of "Muneo House" (a Japanese government-funded accommodation facility) on Kunashiri Island (part of the Russian-held Chishima Islands) and obtained that photo.
In Hokkaido, the JCP succeeded in increasing its seats in the prefectural assembly from two to six, thus exerting power to uncover the scandal. This power produced a photo panel which became familiar to many people as it was shown on TV talk show programs dozens of times.
I feel great pride in the JCP with its 4,400 local assembly members working hard to defend the interests of residents, a source of JCP strength in dealing with any questions whatsoever.
I think I should mention the gains achieved by the struggle to eradicate unpaid overtime work. Years of struggle in the workplace and parliamentary debates on this issue produced results: the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare in April last year issued a circular instructing the prefectural labor bureaus to take steps to end unpaid overtime work at offices and factories. During the more than one year since then, there have been significant steps taken to end this lawlessness.
Between October and November last year, the Labor Standards Inspection Offices inspected 2,589 business offices (mainly of electronics firms and auto makers) and discovered that employees were forced to work overtime without pay at 750 offices, and issued administrative directives to stop the unpaid overtime.
In April, at the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation offices in Amagasaki and Itami cities (in Hyogo Prefecture), measures were taken to end unpaid overtime work as a result of a campaign led by the JCP workplace branch. This remarkable advance was brought about by JCP workplace branches' campaign calling on workers to record hours they work overtime. This caught the attention of the daily Mainichi Shinbum, which started a special coverage by setting up a news team on unpaid overtime work. These new developments led Sharp Corporation and Sumitomo Life Insurance Company to deal with unpaid overtime work in their offices.
I want to emphasize that tenacious efforts by JCP workplace branches and workers have helped bring about these changes.
In its 80 years, the JCP led indomitable struggles in the prewar days; it has fought in defense of sovereign independence, established a party program that shows an alternative, and built a communist party larger than any other communist party in the developed capitalist countries; in many workplaces, communities, and on campuses more than 400 thousand JCP members are working hard to defend the interests of the people in cooperation with 2,000,000 Akahata subscribers. All this is the source of our pride.
But we need to further strengthen the JCP. I would like to ask you for more support for and cooperation with the JCP.
With this I conclude my speech. Thank you.
(Translation by Japan Press Service)