The Japanese Communist Party Central Committee held its 3rd Plenum on October 19 and 20 at the JCP head office.
Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo gave the Executive Committee report to the plenum, which was made up of the following four main issues: (1) International terrorism and the JCP position; (2) Struggles to safeguard the people's living conditions; (3) Election struggles - review and future plans; and (4) Building a strong JCP.
On the question of terrorism, Shii made clear the JCP's standpoint and its practical application, and the problem of the present U.S.-led military campaigns. He severely criticized the Koizumi Cabinet for rushing to have the Self-Defense Forces participate in the on-going war by taking advantage of anti-terrorism measures, a move that would undermine the Constitution. He also called for a struggle to put an end to the retaliatory war.
On the struggle to safeguard the people's living conditions, Shii stressed that the JCP is called upon to play an activist role in organizing struggles. He expounded on the struggle against corporate restructuring and for job security, the struggle against the adverse revision of the medical services and for improvement of social services, and the need for refuting the government argument for "structural reform."
On the review of the House of Councilors election (held on July 29), Shii explained the lessons learned from three points of view which the JCP 22nd Congress adopted: policy proposals, efforts to defeat anti-communist attacks, and building a strong JCP. He also referred to specific cases, including the JCP campaign under the 'non-binding' system that was added to the proportional representation election, JCP publicity, discussion with the electorate, and other efforts to increase electoral support. Based on these lessons, he put forward a basic policy for a JCP campaign in preparation for the next House of Representatives general election, local elections, and local government head elections.
On party building, Shii emphasized the need to seize the historic opportunity we now have to focus on making the JCP stronger. He proposed a six-month "Membership-Akahata Readership Drive," referring also to targets, present conditions, specific focuses, and other points to be taken into account in carrying out the drive.
Fuwa Tetsuzo, Central Committee chair, spoke after the Executive Committee report expounding on three issues: the struggle against international terrorism, the importance of the JCP playing an activist role as organizers of the struggles, and the effort to build a stronger party.
General discussion followed the Executive Committee report and CC Chair Fuwa's speech. Forty-four members spoke in the two-day discussion.
Executive Committee Chair Shii made the concluding remarks. He said that the proposal for a "Membership-Akahata Readership Drive" has been welcomed nationally. In calling for this drive to be successful, he spoke (among other things) about subjective and objective conditions for success.
The Plenum unanimously adopted the Executive Committee report, the speech by CC Committee Chair Fuwa, and the concluding remarks.
The Plenum elected CC member Fukushige Taijiro to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee meeting which preceded the 3rd Central Committee Plenum elected Ota Zensaku and Wakabayashi Yoshiharu to the Standing Executive Committee. It appointed Shikasho Shichiro as a member of the Central Organ Paper Editors' Commission.
Good morning, everyone. I offer warm greetings to all those who are watching this meeting via communications satellite.
I will make a report on behalf of the Executive Committee to the 3rd Central Committee Plenum.
Terrorist attacks occurred simultaneously in the United State on September 11, and U.S.-led forces started retaliatory strikes against targets in Afghanistan on the evening of October 7 (local time). International politics is now in a major crisis.
The JCP at this juncture sent a letter signed by CC Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo and myself on September 17 to about 130 government leaders, making our case that efforts to eradicate terrorism must be through legal means, not military retaliation.
When U.S.-led military strikes began, we sent a second letter to the same government leaders on October 11. This was to propose a shift away from a military campaign and war escalation by a handful of countries to U.N.-led efforts that apply non-military measures to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Now, let me expand on the basic position that runs through these two letters.
International community's unity is essential in the effort to root out international terrorist groups
First of all, acts of terrorism are brutal, and criminal acts that cannot be justified by any religious beliefs or political views whatsoever. The elimination of terrorism is an important task and an essential condition for humans to live in peace in the 21st century.
In the two letters we set out the JCP view on ways to do away with terrorism, concerning means that are in conformity with law and reason and are truly effective.
Secondly, building a solid grand unity is more important than anything else in the effort to deal with the present task of eliminating international terrorist groups.
Osama bin Laden, who is suspected of organizing and prosecuting the terrorist attacks on the United States, and his terrorist organization called Al Qaida are said to have a network of criminal organizations in dozens of countries throughout the world. Such an international terrorist organization cannot be eradicated without unity being built in the international community.
Even if the United States and some other countries succeed in destroying the Afghan regime by military force, the problem will not be solved; on the contrary, such a way will only create cracks and antagonisms in the international community and prepare a hotbed for further terrorist forces.
Only when the international community and international opinion politically isolate terrorists completely, will terrorists be boxed up, and terrorist groups can be swept off this planet.
Thirdly, the military attacks carried out by a handful of countries, including the United States, must be replaced by a strenuous U.N.-led effort in line with the provisions of the U.N. Charter.
As we have proposed in our letters, it is necessary to establish charges against bin Laden and Al Qaida, and demand that the Taliban regime extradite bin Laden and other suspects; certain measures should be applied in case extradition is rejected; and the suspects must be put on trial in pursuit of the facts behind the tragedy and punishment meted out. These steps should be taken one by one by a unanimous effort of the international community, led and controlled by the United Nations.
When it becomes necessary to take measures for the extradition of perpetrators of terrorist crimes, measures under Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter will have to be invoked under the initiative of the United Nations. In that case, a solution through non-military means, including economic measures, would be sought in accordance with Article 41 as much as possible in a manner that would take humanitarian concerns for the Afghan people into account. The fundamental principle of the U.N. Charter that international disputes must be settled peacefully must apply to the problem we are faced with today.
When measures under Article 41 are exhausted and the international community has decided that these measures are not enough to solve the problem, Article 42 allows military measures to be taken. Military measures are the last resort and they can only be taken under the authority of the United Nations.
Even when military means have to be taken, U.N.-led efforts must take the necessary and sufficient procedures. This is the only way to obtain the understanding of the international community, and secure the unity of the international community. It will be an effective means of eliminating terrorism.
Under Article 9 of the Constitution, Japan must limit its participation in and cooperation with U.N. measures to non-military aspects only.
The U.S.-led military strikes launched on October 8 (JST) against Afghanistan poses a serious threat to a reasonable settlement to the present problem of terrorism and to the peace and security of the world.
These military strikes raise serious questions in that a handful of countries engaged in military attacks before indictment and non-military measures were fully implemented through the United Nations.
Following the recent terror incident, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling on member states to make efforts to bring the suspects of the terrorist crimes to justice. The Security council, however, did not identify suspects and demand their extradition, or take the necessary non-military measures.
In the Gulf Crisis and war of 1990-1991, the UNSC imposed economic sanctions against Iraq and adopted a resolution authorizing the use of force. At the time, the Japanese Communist Party criticized the U.S. and other forces for rushing to war before every non-military measure such as economic sanctions were fully implemented. Compared with the Gulf War, the on-going military strikes are full of problems in that they are not based on the consensus of the international community.
The military campaign, which has been launched by a handful of countries at their discretion, is a retaliatory war creating serious difficulties.
Air strikes have destroyed an NGO office for humanitarian aid work in Afghanistan, causing casualties among the civilian staff, and killed or injured many innocent people. It is highly probable that many more starving refugees will fall victim to the effects of the war.
The United States has described the air strikes as "limited strikes against military facilities." But U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has openly said that unintended casualties are unavoidable. Even those countries which show understanding toward the military attacks are strongly opposed to causing casualties among innocent people. Taking the lives of citizens who have nothing to do with terrorism must not be condoned.
It is serious that the letter from the U.S. government to the UNSC stated the possibility of expanding military strikes beyond Afghanistan. Rumsfeld suggested that Iraq may be a target. These statements arouse serious concerns about the war being further escalated.
Another serious point is that the U.S.-led military strikes are causing cracks and contradictions in international opinion which has been firmly united on the need to make efforts to end terrorism.
The Malaysian prime minister, the Indonesian president, and other Islamic government leaders have expressed opposition to the military strikes. The Organization of the Islamic Conference held an emergency meeting of foreign ministers. The foreign ministers agreed that terrorism must be eradicated and that the U.N. should be at the center in this effort, but the U.S.-led military strikes divided them. Islamic people are increasing their protests.
These cracks and divisions in international opinion benefit the terrorists who are ready to resume subversive activities. In fact, the terrorist forces led by bin Laden are taking advantage of the U.S.-led retaliatory war in carrying out propaganda to distort the problem by describing the international struggle for the elimination of terrorism as a confrontation between the U.S. and Islam.
The U.S.-led retaliatory war is creating a series of grave problems. Apart from the immediate military outcome of this war, we must point out that the military retaliation has caused serious contradictions and adverse currents against world peace and the effort to bring an end to terrorism.
In Japan and the rest of the world, public opinion and movements calling for an end to terrorism and at the same time opposing the war of retaliation are developing. The JCP calls on the international community to demand that the course be changed from the U.S.-led retaliatory war to one of U.N.-led efforts to bring the suspects to justice . To this end, the JCP calls for an immediate halt to the U.S.-led retaliatory war.
The JCP is convinced that only U.N.-led measures can help rebuild international unity against terrorism, completely isolate terrorist forces to the point where they can find no shelter, and bring them to face international tribunal.
There is no knowing how the situation will evolve. However, the JCP will use its influence to work with the international community based on the messages expressed in our two letters.
The Japanese government's response to this question has been one of unconditionally supporting the U.S.-led retaliatory war and implementing its plan to send Self-Defense Forces quickly in violation of the Constitution, without any serious examination of ways to eradicate international terrorism.
The law for Japan's participation in the retaliatory war is very serious in that it allows the Self-Defense Forces to take part in the on-going war for the first time since the end of World War II. The law for implementing the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (War Law) is the first post-war law to provide full-fledged mechanisms for Japan to send the Self-Defense Forces abroad. It was explained that the "War Law" is strictly for emergencies. The latest legislation is designed to involve Japan in a foreign war. The real danger now is that in the first year of the 21st century, Japanese troops will go to war for the first time since the end of World War II to kill people in foreign countries at the possible cost of their own lives.
First, the Guidelines Law would be invoked when it is necessary to cooperate with the U.S. Forces acting in response to situations that would threaten the peace and security of Japan in "areas surrounding Japan." By contrast, the bill now being considered in parliament, puts no restrictions on geographical areas or on activities which Japanese Self-Defense Forces will cooperate in. In other words, Japan will participate in any war that the United States starts "for the elimination of terrorism," regardless of location, enemy, or means. What's more, the U.S. Forces will not inform Japan in advance of planned military operations. So the bill is about giving the U.S. Forces carte blanche when Japan takes part in the retaliatory war.
How dangerous it is for Japan, without any independent attitude in its relations with the United States, to pass such legislation. When questioned by JCP members in parliament, Prime Minister Koizumi did not deny the possibility that Japan will cooperate with the U.S. Forces even if the U.S.-led campaign expands its operations beyond Afghanistan. This is a good example of Japan's extraordinary subservience to the United States.
Secondly, the government used to justify Japan's logistical support for U.S. forces in such areas as transport, supplies, medical services, and other activities which are indispensable to a war, as constitutional, saying that these activities will not involve the use of force. This sophistry is no longer tenable now that Japan's participation in a war is becoming a real possibility. It is now obvious that Self-Defense Forces activities, if the bill is enacted, will amount to the use of military force abroad, which is in violation of the Constitution.
As the JCP has revealed in parliamentary question periods, activities that NATO countries engage in as an exercise of the right of collective self-defense are almost the same as those which are being sought by Japan's new legislation. The government's claim that the legislation does not constitute an exercise of the right of collective self-defense will not be accepted as valid internationally.
The government insists that SDF activities would not be conducted in "combat areas." But, the legislation will enable the Self-Defense Forces to operate in other countries. How is it possible to distinguish "combat areas" from "non-combat areas" in a fight against terrorists? It's absolutely impossible, as confirmed by the prime minister, who said that SDF units "would have to go into dangerous areas," and that "they will have to be prepared for some sacrifice."
Thirdly, the government emphasizes the need to help refugees as a means to cover up the dangerous nature of the present bill. But it is U.S. military attacks that are making the refugee problem increasingly serious. How contradictory and hypocritical it is of the Japanese government to try to send SDF units abroad ostensibly to help refugees while extending military support to the U.S. Forces.
In fact, relief work for refugees is undertaken by organizations which maintain a neutral position, including United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). If Japan is eager to help refugees, it should strengthen its earnest support for the efforts of these organizations.
Activities to help refugees are not work to be done by military forces. Japan's participation in activities in support of refugees will only help to expose refugees to enemy attacks because Japan sides with the U.S. in the war.
What the government is stating or doing on this issue shows that the government's major concern is the wish to send SDF abroad rather than taking care of refugees. It would be correct to say that the government is using the refugee problem only as a pretext.
The whole parliamentary discussion on this issue has revealed how arrogant and irresponsible Prime Minister Koizumi is in dealing with the Constitution.
The prime minister stated, "In the Constitution, there are discrepancies between what the preamble describes as international cooperation and Article 9. We have drafted the bill taking these discrepancies into account." However, the truth is that 'international cooperation' in the preamble to the Constitution mean cooperation in the international community based on the principle of lasting peace, not cooperation for war. The preamble and Article 9 both unequivocally take a position in favor of lasting peace. Pitting the preamble against Article 9 in order to participate in the war in the name of 'international cooperation' is an insult to the Constitution and must not be tolerated. The fact is that major discrepancies are found between the Constitution and Liberal Democratic Party politics.
At a time when international peace is being endangered and the constitutional principle of peace is about to be undermined, the JCP, which has consistently opposed war for the last 79 years since its founding, is called upon to exert its influence through its principled stance.
We call for a halt to the U.S.-led retaliatory war. We will join with the broadest possible coalition of people in doing our utmost to oppose the enactment and implementation of the unconstitutional law to allow Japan's participation in war.
We strongly demand that the Japanese government respect Article 9 and use its influence to get the international community to find a solution to the problem through U.N.-led efforts based on law and reason.
Let us develop this struggle at the grassroots level, in communities, workplaces and on campuses, with JCP bodies and branches taking the lead.
Let me now discuss the U.S. Bush administration's behavior seen in its response to the terrorist attacks.
At the start of the Bush administration, the JCP offered two viewpoints for the new administration's foreign policy. One was concern about a world strategy that does not hesitate to go it alone and use force in order to protect the so-called national interests of the United States. The other is the fact that key senior administration officials are urging Japan to choose to exercise the right of collective self-defense. These two concerns have manifested themselves in dealing with responses to the terrorist incidents.
Noting the Bush administration's response to the terrorist attacks, some people say that the administration's foreign policy approach has changed. They say that before the terrorist attacks, its "unilateralism" which disregards international rules was conspicuous, as represented by its withdrawal of support for the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and its rejection of ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). They say that it has fundamentally changed its position to one of "internationalism." The issue is not so simple.
The Bush administration has been consistent in rejecting any U.N. Security Council resolutions that would limit U.S. military action, although it will use such resolutions if they benefit the United States. This means that the United States may seek non-military measures to be adopted by the United Nations, but that its military action can be carried out if the United States and its allies decide to do so.
It is necessary to understand that this is the present manifestation of U.S. unilateralism.
For an international unity in the effort to eliminate terrorism, the international community is strongly called on to seriously work for the equitable settlement of the Palestinian problem.
The United Nations General Assembly convened in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States failed to achieve a consensus on the adoption of a resolution calling for the elimination of terrorism. The biggest problem was that differences were not resolved over the definition of terrorism in connection with the means of the Palestinian people's struggle for self-determination. This is reflected in the outcome of an emergency foreign ministers meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) which was held immediately after the start of the military strikes against targets in Afghanistan. The document adopted by the meeting stated that the international initiative towards "achieving security and stability in a world free from terrorism and injustice must also include the achievement of security and justice for the Palestinian people."
A just solution to the Palestinian question has been a major task for peace which has an important bearing not only on the Middle East but on the whole world. In this regard, we must not overlook the fact that the United States has always turned its back on a just settlement of the problem based on U.N. resolutions. Osama bin Laden and terrorist groups are trying to utilize the Palestinian question to justify their crimes, which is absolutely impermissible. A just solution to the Palestinian question is an urgent task now more than ever as we are faced with the task of building an international unity in the effort to root out terrorism.
In 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed to recognize each other and issued a "Declaration of Principles," also called the Oslo Accords, outlining the establishment of a provisional Palestinian self-rule government. In 1996, the Palestinian Authority was established. Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority aimed at determining the final status of Palestine were planned, but the year 2000 set by the Oslo Accords as the deadline of the negotiations passed without substantial talks being held. And violent clashes have been taking place since the autumn of 2000, causing heavy casualties.
We believe that a just solution to the Palestinian question can only be possible by an international effort on the basis of the following points, which the JCP has long called for:
-- The Palestinian people will exercise their right to national self-determination, including the right to establish a state;
-- Israel will withdraw its troops from the occupied lands; and
-- Palestine and Israel will recognize each other's right to exist and establish conditions for their peaceful coexistence, rejecting a policy of extermination of the other.
The JCP earnestly call on the disputing parties and all countries concerned as well as the international community to make every effort to stand firmly behind international law to find a just and peaceful solution to the Palestinian question.
We also demand that the Japanese government use its influence to take reasonable diplomatic initiatives instead of acting as instructed by the United States.
In the half year since the cabinet of Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro came to office, the nation's economy turned from bad to worse rapidly. Just look at personal consumption, capital investment, the unemployment rate, small- and medium-sized business bankruptcies, and the economic growth rate. The economic indicators are all deteriorating into the worst, showing that the Japanese economy is going into free fall in all aspects.
The present economic slump has been caused by the Koizumi Cabinet's "structural reform" policy which has made people earn less and spend less, thus contributing to the contraction of domestic demand. The main components of the "structural reform" are: (1) the write-off of bad loans held by major banks, which will only help increase small businesses failures and the unemployment rate; (2) creation of an economic system that will encourage large corporations to carry out restructuring; and (3) a "fiscal structural reform" that will mean shifting increased financial burden onto the people.
No one can deny the adverse effects the terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the retaliatory war have had on the Japanese economy, but Japan's economy had long been in a very bad shape when the terrorist attacks occurred. Some argue for acquitting the government of its responsibility by describing the economic downturn as something inevitable. Others try to take advantage of the present situation to make their case for the need to carry out the structural reform plan by enduring "hardships." We must not allow these arguments to be sustained.
With the world economy plunging seriously following the terrorist attacks on the United States and the prolonged and deepening crisis of Japan's economy, the urgent task now is for the government to end its policy of serving the best interests of large corporations and begin implementing a policy that really cares about the people's livelihoods. This is essential for a democratic reconstruction of the Japanese economy.
Given such a serious crisis of the people's well-being, a national struggle is the way for us to respond to the problem.
I want to call for a national struggle to be waged in all fields: the defense of employment and work; improvement of social services; support for small- and medium-sized businesses; cuts in the consumption tax rate and the abolition of the tax itself; a democratic reform of education; the vitalization of agriculture; improvement of the public housing system; and increase in scholarship availability. It is also urgent to strengthen the a movement calling for reliable safety measures and government compensation for the damage related to mad cow disease (BSE).
Never in the past has the JCP been called upon to discharge its activist role so urgently in organizing struggles to defend the interests of the people in all aspects of living conditions, including the defense of peace.
The JCP will make every effort in all fields to carry out its policy proposal for "Remaking Japan" in which the people are the key players. In this effort we will attach importance to the JCP's policy-making activity that encourages people's input. It will help people to understand the great cause of their struggle and contribute to the development of the struggle under an accurate vision.
On September 10, the JCP Central Committee issued an appeal and set up a task force to tackle the problem of corporate restructuring and workforce cuts being carried out by major corporations to meet international competition while the unemployment rate is breaking a record every month.
Many JCP workplace branches and workers have welcomed the appeal. They particularly noted the appeal stating that there is no rationale behind these attacks that corporations are carrying out in the name of restructuring, that the struggle against such an outrage is of national significance that has a bearing on the sound social and economic development in Japan, and that diligent working people are the greatest assets of the country.
The JCP Central Committee has started public discussions on this question using this appeal. Also, JCP prefectural and district committee representatives are visiting local trade unions, business organizations, and local governments for discussion in pursuit of common efforts to resolve the problem of employment. Some JCP district committees have held public meetings to discuss the issue. Now, the JCP is called upon to play an activist role in organizing popular struggles through dialogues with the broadest possible strata.
As we work to develop the struggle, it is very important to let people know how unjustifiable corporate restructuring is, and how great the cause of our struggle is.
With the government persisting in a policy of encouraging corporations to carry out restructuring, there is a vicious tendency prevalent among corporate managers to regard companies that carry out personnel cuts as "good" companies. Among workers, there is an atmosphere in which they feel obliged to accept restructuring. We must do all what we can to overcome this tendency by encouraging and supporting them.
For example, electronics and telecommunications corporations, which have made huge amounts of profits in the "IT bubble," are so self-centered that they push ahead with massive personnel cuts under the pretext of surviving the "IT recession." They emphasize the need to increase international competitiveness as they demand that workers endure inadequate working conditions in Japan, in terms of longer working hours and lower wages. It is important to defeat every one of such pretexts based on fact and in a manner that meets the sentiments of workers.
Japan's major corporations have a significant role to play in the Japanese economy, and their social responsibility therefore is great. In European countries, the struggle of the people and workers have achieved the establishment of the thinking that corporations are responsible not only to shareholders, but to the employees and other people concerned. European countries have enacted regulations concerning dismissals and established various rules by which major corporations are called upon to fulfill their social responsibilities. We need to let Japanese people know this fact.
JCP branches in the workplace have a significant role to play in this struggle.
Recently, we held a meeting with JCP branch leaders in the private-sector companies to learn what they have experienced in the struggle against restructuring offensives. It was suggestive that they are carrying out struggles under the common demand for "regulations protecting workers in the workplace," linking the effort to eliminate illegal labor practices to a movement to call on the government to establish regulations to protect jobs.
In many workplaces in major companies, labor practices that disregard the labor laws and labor contracts are prevalent. Personnel reductions result in forcing workers into unpaid overtime work and discouraging employees from taking paid holidays, forced changes of company affiliation, and dismissals in disregard of the existing conditions of retirement.
It is important to note that some JCP workplace branches expose such illegal labor practices and bring those cases to court, the Labor Commissions, and the Labor Standards Inspection Offices. Thanks to strenuous efforts we are getting results.
Some important victories have been won in this struggle. The operator of pub-restaurant chain Shirokiya was ordered to pay its employees back wages for their overtime work. The Keihin Works of NKK Corporation (one of Japan's major heavy industry giants involved in steel, shipbuilding, steel fabrication, construction, industrial machinery, and engineering) stopped the practice of changing workers' company affiliation without their consent. McDonald's Japan allowed part-time workers to use paid holidays; and video game maker Sega Corporation withdrew its policy of "keeping workers in an isolation room."
At Suzuki Motor Co., the JCP workplace branch exposed that the company production plan was based on the assumption that yearly paid holidays will be reduced. This has prompted the union to include the demand for an increase in paid holidays.
All these examples show that if we raise our voices, we can make our way against difficulty. I call on all JCP workplace branches to play an active part as workers' reliable partners in the struggle.
The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) is calling for regulation of corporate restructuring which we can support. In the Rengo union movement, some member unions not only support but cooperate with corporate restructuring plans, while others try to accept restructuring plans only on condition that workers' demands are reflected.
The other day, I was invited to speak at the annual Rengo summer seminar where I found agreement emerging between us on the need to call on the government to establish rules that would protect jobs. It is noteworthy that a Rengo leader in a recent statement went so far as to call on the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) to lead a joint struggle on this issue. Our position is that regardless of the differences between national trade union centers, unions must seek to increase common actions for common demands agreed upon.
In waging the anti-restructuring struggle, it is important to develop solidarity and cooperation with all sections of the people. We call for solidarity and support to be extended from around the country to workers fighting against restructuring.
Not only workers but their families and local residents and businesses will all be affected by corporate restructuring. We call on all democratic organizations to participate in this effort as their own.
We will make efforts to join forces with local people to develop a struggle to defend the local economy, particularly by strengthening common actions with local governments, small- and medium-sized companies, and local businesses.
In making progress in the national struggle, it is important to keep up coordination between parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggles. Every gain we achieve in the Diet, such as promises the government makes, including issuance of government directives, must be utilized fully to support the popular struggle.
Now, let me report on the struggle against the major adverse reform of medical services and for improvement of social services.
The Koizumi Cabinet's plan for the adverse reform of medical services includes an increase in the insured person's payment for medical treatment to 30 percent from the present 20 percent of hospital bills. It will also raise stage by stage the starting age of the free medical care system for elderly people to 75 from the present 70. These will be the worst of all postwar changes in medical services in terms of shifting heavier burdens onto the people.
More serious than anything else is that the increase in the patient share of medical costs will make people refrain from visiting doctors, and this in turn will accelerate the worsening of the state of national health. In fact, this has already happened with the increase in 1997 in patients' burdens from 10 % into 20 % of medical costs and the increase in the elderly's share of medical costs in this year 2001. It is obvious that a further increase in patients' burdens will mean creating a more serious situation. It is the way of trampling down Article 25 of the Constitution, which provides for the right of the people to live, by flagrantly cutting off a lifeline for the people. The task now is for us to block this outrageous scheme.
In developing our struggle on this question, it is important to explain to the public how unreasonable the government policy of forcing the people to pay more for medical services is, and to show an alternative way to establish medical services which the people can rely on.
The government describes medical costs in Japan as extraordinarily swollen and takes it for granted that the people will have to shoulder a greater burden to help hold down government medical expenditure. The fact is, however, that the Japanese government does not necessarily spend more money than other major capitalist countries on medical services.
The government cites the deficit-ridden medical insurance system as the reason for its proposal for adverse medical reform, but the problem arises from cuts in the government's expenditure on the medical insurance system. What the government must do now is correct its irresponsible policy and restore the previous levels of government spending on the medical insurance system.
Money for it can be secured if the government ends the extraordinarily wasteful public works projects and controls drug prices, which are among the highest in the world.
In strengthening this effort, it is important for the party to take the initiative and launch a public discussion and a struggle in cooperation with democratic organizations. We call on JCP branches and intermediate bodies to be active in organizing activities such as opinion surveys following discussions, symposiums, and interactive speech assemblies.
In pursuit of increased cooperation and joint action for demands agreed upon, we will reach out to all those organizations and individuals who are adversely affected by the government policy, including senior citizens' organizations, trade unions, organizations of small- and medium-sized businesses like the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hospital operator organizations, and local governments.
Cooperation with local government and struggles in local assemblies are particularly important. In many local governments, the National Health Insurance System is on the verge of collapse. There are a large number of defaulters and many of them have been deprived of health insurance policies, thus adding to the contradictions.
What is more, the planned staged raise of the age of elderly persons who are entitled to receive medical care under the elderly health care system will put many elderly persons on the National Health Insurance system, forcing local governments and elderly people into contradictions that will never be resolved. The doubled nursing care insurance contributions have only helped sharpen the contradictions.
In our discussions with concerned local government authorities, including local assembly debates, we will do all we can to have local governments implement steps to safeguard residents' living conditions while urging them to demand that the central government withdraw the plans for adverse reform of the medical services system.
Political debates for refuting the economic theory that supports the Koizumi Cabinet's "structural reform" are important for the development of the people's struggle.
At the basis of the economic theory justifying "structural reform" lies the ideology that the relentless pursuit of profits by large corporations is more important than everything else and that every stumbling block to such efforts must be removed. This ideology is translated into policies idealizing the "blatant market economy" and "deregulation as panacea." The origin of this ideology is the U.S., and it is the United States that is forcing Japan to adopt this ideology. Japan has embarked on the course of "disposing all non-performing loans at the earliest possible time" due to strong pressure from the United States.
Such an economic theory that neglects social justice or human dignity will only help devastate society and hinder the sound development of the economy. This is what the "Koizumi reform" is all about.
The JCP is countering this adverse current with a plan for an "economy and society that have democratic rules."
The JCP 22nd Congress decision states that in the 20th century the "blatant market economy" of the 19th century became irrelevant and various systems of controlling the excesses of monopoly capital have been achieved through people's movements in many countries. The course which the JCP puts forward recognizes these historical accomplishments.
The economic theory for "structural reform" is nothing but an anachronistic replica of the 19th century's idea on the economy repackaged.
The emergence of this adverse current shows that contradictions of modern world capitalism have become serious and the LDP government's economic policies have completely failed. There is no future in economic policies that only help large companies seek greater profits and which pay no attention to the people's living conditions.
The House of Councilors election in July took place in adversity engendered by Prime Minister Koizumi' extraordinarily high popularity. This whirlwind phenomenon was a product of a major operation to prolong the life of the Liberal Democratic Party government. This operation was designed to make people cherish the illusion that reform will be carried out taking advantage of the people's keen demand for change away from the serious no-way-out situation of LDP politics, which is responsible for the protracted economic crisis, worsening living conditions, and political corruption and abuse of political power.
Although the JCP put up a strrong struggle against this "whirlwind," it only secured five out of eight seats up for election, and the number of votes the JCP received in the proportional representation constituency decreased to 4.33 million.
I want to sincerely thank all JCP members, Akahata readers, and JCP supporters for their courageous struggles despite the adversity we experienced. Our thanks go also to all voters who cast their votes for the JCP.
In the speech assembly the JCP held to mark its 79th founding anniversary on August 10, we gave a tentative review of our election campaign. Later, we received opinions from inside and outside the party. They gave us encouragement, severely criticized us, or made earnest proposals for improvement. We thank all those who gave their opinions. Taking into account these opinions, the JCP Central Committee has studied ways to achieve a new JCP advance.
Our review of the election struggles to learn lessons from them should be conducted with the last JCP Congress decisions, the fruit of the party's wisdom as the basis. Let's take a look at section five of the JCP 22nd Congress Resolution "For a democratic coalition government -- what is to be done for new JCP advances?" Using this as the measure, I will explain from three angles what lessons we should draw from the election campaign.
First, "We use policy debates to develop our activities to make our proposal for a progressive and democratic line embraced by the people."
In reviewing the JCP election campaign like the one in the Upper House election, which took place in difficult objective conditions, it is important to base our examination on whether our efforts can withstand the test of history and contribute to future political development. Everyone knows that in 1993, when the "non-LDP" whirlwind prevailed, we put up a good fight in direct confrontation with it, paving the way for the later JCP advances.
In the light of this basic viewpoint, the JCP campaign on the whole can be described as indomitable and pioneering. The Standing Executive Committee statement immediately after the Upper House election pointed out that the JCP campaign calling for 'Remaking Japan' "will prove to be valuable assets in future political discussions." Later developments proved this statement to be correct.
For example, the JCP call for a move away from a foreign policy subordinate to the U.S. has become even more significant at a time when Japan's response to the international crisis caused by the terrorist attacks and the retaliatory war is a focus of public attention. The JCP has proposed a reform and democratic change of the economic policy calling for and end to "capitalism without rules" and the correction of an "inverted fiscal structure." The proposal has shown the way towards a grand perspective for a national solution of this issue as we review the JCP election campaign.
The 22nd Congress decided that "we cannot evade taking up the struggle to expose and defeat the increasing anticommunist attacks which are taking on new forms."
Anticommunist campaigns raged throughout the country during the House of Councilors election. The Komei Party and its parent religious organization Soka Gakkai spearheaded the anticommunist attacks. In no past national election has Soka Gakkai been so blatant in using the extraordinary "politico-religious" structure to spread flagrant anticommunist lies without regard for ethical concerns. This shows that, with the Komei Party taking part in government, Soka Gakkai members' activities are motivated exclusively by "faith" and "anticommunism" and that they are involved politically and socially decadent and illegal acts.
The JCP on the whole bravely responded to their attacks with calm and reason. In the meeting of JCP prefectural committee chairs in April, we proposed that the need is to strongly counter anticommunist attacks, and criticize other opposition parties accurately as the key to changing the situation in a constructive manner. The proposal was welcomed in the party with the effect of re-energizing the party. In the House of Councilors election campaign, the anticommunist forces had plans to distribute anticommunist leaflets on a national scale, but the attempt was thwarted. This is part of the achievement based on the firm determination and efforts of the JCP to not allow anticommunist demagogue to be spread.
JCP Central Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo published an article entitled "I ask Mr. Ikeda Daisaku of Soka Gakkai if his 'serious reflection' 31 years ago was a falsehood aimed at deceiving the public." It was an in-depth analysis of the bottom line of extraordinary anticommunist and anti-social activities carried out by the Komei Party and Soka Gakkai. Soka Gakkai and Mr. Ikeda revealed their inability to answer, and they just managed to maintain arrogant postures. The point CC Chair Fuwa raised in the article is important because it is not only about their election campaign but about the aberrant group's participation in the government as well as about democracy in Japan.
The JCP is being tempered in the struggle against anticommunist attacks, but the party has not completely defeated the ever intensifying anticommunist attacks aimed at containing JCP influence.
In reviewing the JCP struggle against the anticommunist attacks, it is important to examine our activities in light of the JCP 22nd Congress decision that we should speak about the JCP Program and history in our day-to-day activities to a wide-range of people, and to overcome through popular struggle the anticommunist climate which has the historical roots in Japan.
In this regard, there was some weakness in the party center, as seen in delays in publishing print material to make known JCP history and its political course. Learning lessons from this, we should drastically strengthen activities to give the public an accurate picture of the JCP through its day-to-day activities.
The third point is: "Building a strong JCP both in quality and in number."
In the course of preparations for the present Central Committee plenum, we surveyed JCP district committee chairs throughout the country concerning problems they now have with party building efforts. Almost all respondents said that what they experienced in the recent election campaign made them keenly aware of the need to build a strong JCP both in quality and in number which can withstand any sudden gusts of wind and be able to advance. Their responses reflected their earnest desire to make a breakthrough.
As regards the "quality" side, respondents indicated that they want to see every party member capable of realizing the value of the JCP in ways that mesh well with their feelings.
A number of district leaders stated that members do reach out to readers but would stop short of confirming their intention to vote for the JCP. This is a reflection of the difficulty we had in the House of Councilors election campaign. A campaign dubbed as the "Koizumi whirlwind" was "reform" to be carried out without regard for the possible hardships the people may have to suffer. There was an atmosphere that would suppress any disagreement with the call for hardships to be endured.
That was the situation in which the JCP both at the center and local bodies as well as party members were asked to develop the ability to convincingly promote the JCP to the people and increase electoral support for the JCP. Many district committee chairs stated that it is important for party members to articulate what the JCP is in their own words making use of each member's style, and to substantially increase study of scientific socialism and party's policies.
Regarding the "numbers" side, thanks to the party's strenuous efforts, we managed to secure support from voters who have ties in one way or another with the JCP in day-to-day activities despite the adversity facing us. Support from those who have no such day-to-day contacts with the JCP was not gathered sufficiently in the adverse whirlwind.
Our great regret is that the JCP had to wage the election campaign as we suffered a major setback in the readership of Akahata. The readership was 330,000 less than what we had at the time of the 1998 House of Councilors election, and was 130,000 less than at the 2000 House of Representatives general election.
It should be noted that the JCP bodies which had built a strong party that has close ties with the people managed to withstand anticommunist attacks in the election campaign. In the Nishiyodogawa-Konohana district of Osaka, the JCP received 25.3 percent of votes cast in the single-seat constituency, second only to the Komei Party, and ahead of the Liberal Democratic Party. In about two years, the number of JCP members in this district increased 1.4 times.
The biggest lesson for the JCP to learn from the House of Councilors election campaign is that we must broaden our heart-to-heart relationships using human feelings through day-to-day activities and build a solid support base for the JCP so that we can repel all kinds of "whirlwinds."
Holding fast to the JCP 22nd Party Congress decision and learning from lessons of the 2001 House of Councilors election, we will to make every effort for a new JCP advance in the coming general election and local elections.
Our immediate central task is to win a JCP advance in the next general election. I would like to remind you that our basic direction should be found in drastically strengthening ties between local residents and the JCP. JCP members of parliament as well as local assemblies and JCP candidates will take a lead in this effort.
Under the present House of Representatives election system, which is made up of single-seat constituencies and multi-seat proportional representation constituencies, we must beware of the danger that the JCP's daily connections with residents at the grassroots level can become weaker. We must consider this danger more seriously than in the previous election system in which each constituency had more than one seat. Also, interactive learning between voters and the JCP -- the Central Committee and branches -- will be devitalized. Activities at the JCP Central Committee and those by Dietmembers will also get run-down. We must concede that JCP Dietmembers have weaker ties with the electorate than those parties which have seats in single-seat constituencies.
This weakness is so serious that we need to make conscious efforts to strengthen JCP connections with the electorate. From this point of view, we will substantially improve activities of JCP candidates, both for the House of Representatives proportional representation constituencies and single-seat constituencies.
We will be ambitious in setting the party's numerical target for the House of Representatives general election in accordance with the JCP 22nd Congress decision: "In the House of Representatives general election, we will without fail defend the present number of JCP seats. We will seek to obtain a number of extra seats in the proportional representation segment and some in single-seat- constituencies."
The JCP campaign in the general election will be centered around the proportional representation constituencies. All JCP prefectural and district committees as well as branches are called upon to carry out responsive activities to achieve their vote getting targets in order to contribute to a JCP advance in the proportional representation constituencies.
In every proportional representation constituency, incumbent JCP Dietmembers and candidates will step up day-to-day work to increase their ties with the electorate through activities in support of the demands of the people.
We must grow strong enough to get seats in single-seat constituencies, which can only be possible through systematic efforts. The single-seat constituencies are the basic electoral arena in which we will contest Diet seats. Whether the JCP has a seat in the single-seat constituencies or not, we must develop ties with voters in this basic arena and take active part in response to voters' demands.
The JCP will put up able candidates in the single-seat constituencies who will make every effort to win extra JCP seats by developing close ties with voters through day-to-day activities. Even if a JCP candidate fails to win a seat in the next general election, we should help him/her continue to work as a JCP candidate seeking a seat.
Bearing this in mind, let's resolve to make a new JCP advance in the next general election.
Since the House of Councilors election in July, there have been ups and downs for the JCP in the local assembly elections. In more than 80 percent of the off-year elections, the JCP received more votes than it got in the proportional representation constituency in the House of Councilors election. In some districts, the JCP received 1.5 or 2.0 times what the JCP received in July.
These facts suggest that in this changeable political situation it's possible to make a new JCP advance by increased efforts.
Note that JCP candidates running in the on-going local elections are seeking their re-election; they were elected four years ago when the JCP was making a major advance . It is necessary to exercise cool judgment on power relationships between political parties, so that we can set aggressive and realistic political objectives.
There have been failures in recent elections by running too many candidates without taking into account the objective conditions . It is necessary to carefully analyze the political conditions and even to make a definitive decision to reduce the number of candidates.
We need to look at the increased anticommunist attacks in the recent local elections, in conjunction with seat cuts in a number of local assemblies. We must bear in mind that without defeating those attacks, we will not be able to secure a victory.
With LDP politics faltering, local residents' demands are becoming more urgent. Voters keep an eye out for candidates they can trust to work for their demands, and also scrutinize the achievements and roles of JCP local assembly members and candidates. Fully aware of this, we will improve daily efforts to help them and local JCP bodies in day-to-day activities.
It is particularly important to decide on candidacies as early as possible so that the JCP can start preparations for the campaign without delay. We have less than two years to go to the next simultaneous local elections in 2003. Were it not for strenuous efforts, it would hardly be possible for the JCP to maintain the positions it secured in the previous election, and make further advance. Lose no time in choosing JCP candidates.
We need to improve the joint struggle setup for local government head elections. The point is that all political parties, groups, and individuals taking part in a joint organization are allowed to do whatever they can by respecting each other's position. The JCP as a political party must bear responsibility for the entire election campaign and perform its due duties.
In some elections, there was a tendency to ask the JCP to be modest in the campaign. In those elections, however, joint struggle was not successful as it could not exert full power. In such cases, our camp was unable to repel anticommunist attacks, thus creating difficulties.
In another case, a joint struggle organization in which the JCP was a member, took part in a joint struggle council for a mayoral election. This helped prevent the JCP from exercising its say , even though other member organizations were given such a right.
There can be various forms of joint struggle for local government head elections, but the need is for the JCP to become able to fulfill its political mission in all phases, from selection of a candidate to policy making and organizational issues. We want to discuss fully with related organizations so that joint election campaign organizations will be reasonably reinforced.
A lesson we drew from the July 29 House of Councilors election is that we need to build a powerful JCP, both in number and in quality.
In order to make new JCP advances in the next elections by defeating the new anticommunist back current, we must uplift the effort to strengthen the party numerically and qualitatively. Building a mighty JCP is a key to organizing a majority of the people in favor of the Democratic Coalition Government which we are aiming to establish in the early part of the 21st century as our historic task.
Now is the time for us to put greater energy in the effort to build a strong Japanese Communist Party.
We propose a six-month united effort to increase JCP membership and Akahata readership, in which we will particularly focus on the recruitment of young people.
All prefectural and district bodies as well as branches will have a five-year plan to contribute to achieving a JCP membership of 500,000 by 2005.
The task of strengthening the JCP qualitatively is very important in getting results in the coming United Effort and in making steady advances in building a JCP capable of fulfilling the historical task in the 21st century.
We must find ways to build a JCP that is resilient enough to stand up against adversity, and a JCP with members who learn and reach out to the public in a manner that responds to people's feeling by talking to them using members' personal character and encouraging flexibility.
Cooperating with the Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ) we will organize discussions and campaigns for young people's problems to be solved.
Recently, youth and student movements against terrorism and war have been developing. The JCP policy on job-related problems of youth has served to launch a movement, and various initiatives in such areas as sports, environmental protection, and friendship and solidarity are making advances. The "Network for Changing Japan" movement is also making progress.
The JCP must do more to help the DYLJ to study more, work for youth demands, and strengthen ties with the broadest possible diversity of young people.
Next year, we will celebrate the 80th founding anniversary of the JCP. The JCP history is full of twists and turns, but on the whole, we can be proud of the indomitable traditions which the JCP has established through its dedication to the cause of peace and social progress since the prewar period.
The historical role of the JCP is all the more important at a time when the Japanese people want to defend peace and get out of the crisis of deteriorating living conditions.
This is the 40th year since the JCP Program was established. The present complicated political development confirms the analysis we made at the JCP 22nd Congress, that a new politics which Japanese society wants and what the JCP Program envisions for the future of Japan are getting closer.
The simultaneous terrorist attacks on the United States literally were a crime against civilization and humanity. If such atrocities are left uncontrolled, humans will not be safe anywhere. I think that the eradication of terrorism has an important bearing on the survival of humanity in the 21st century, and it needs truly effective responses utilizing wisdom and incorporating all-out efforts.
It was from this position that Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo and myself have sent two letters to some 130 government leaders to express our opposition to the U.S.-led retaliatory war.
We are fighting against terrorist groups. However, no country has the right to make military strikes against a country and force its people to fall victim to the war on the grounds it harbors the terrorist groups. War will necessarily causes casualties among innocent people. What's more, the Soviet invasion and the civil war which erupted in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal in the last 20 years have caused starvation, displacement, damage from land mines, and shortage of water to the people of Afghanistan who are now falling victim to the U.S.-led air strikes. A variety of international aid activities have been so far carried out despite severe difficulties. But the outbreak of the war has interrupted such assistance by international organizations and NGOs, inflicting enormous damage to the Afghan people in addition to direct damage caused by air strikes.
The United States, while carrying out its air strikes, seems to be trying to present itself as a "humanitarian support" provider using air drops of food. This act, however, cannot justify the war. I read a media report that a U.N. staff member, who is to report on the "right to food" to the U.N. General Assembly on November 8, condemned the United States at a news conference for dropping food in Afghanistan while continuing air strikes. The person said that this act raises doubts about and damages the trust in the world's organizations involved in food assistance efforts. I thought this statement was very much to the point.
The purpose of the anti-terrorism struggle should be to indict terrorist groups and bring them to justice. This aim will not be achieved simply by overthrowing a government militarily, or by capturing one or two suspected terrorist leaders.
Essential to an effort to root out terrorism is building a solid and broad unity in world opinion as well as in international politics, including in the Islamic world, to isolate the terrorist forces. In this struggle, it is necessary to create a situation in which terrorism is defined as an international crime throughout the world so terrorists cannot find shelter.
But the on-going retaliatory war goes against this aim and will disrupt international unity. The military campaign was started before international unity, stronger than ever, against terrorism could be utilized. This brought about big cracks in the Islamic world over whether to support the retaliatory war, giving rise to strong opposition to the military retaliation. It would be little wonder if the terrorist forces understand that they found a new excuse to justify terrorism and a new hiding place to go to.
That's why we have consistently stressed the importance of the agreement and unity of the international community, and the role of the U.N. that represents it.
In order to isolate the terrorists and the government that patronizes and harbors them, measures against them will be necessary. Such measures will be effective in frustrating the terrorists only when they are taken by the United Nations based on international agreement and backed by international unity.
Taking into account the brutal nature of the terrorists, measures beyond economic sanctions may be necessary at some point to achieve anti-terrorist objectives. Even in that case, what is called for will be not a war between states but a kind of police action. The United Nations must be the main player in such actions to be carried out based on agreement and unity of the international community.
Japan cannot participate in U.N.-led military action because of its Constitution. However, because of the Constitution's Article 9, Japan can take an initiative in promoting a U.N.-led responses to crises of this kind. I believe that this is the point Japan should focus on using Article 9 as its contribution to international politics.
The proposal which the JCP made to the international community in its two letters is exactly what the Japanese government should do if it truly stands for the Constitution.
But the Japanese government is acting to the contrary. Since the terrorist attacks on the United States, the Koizumi Cabinet's main concern has been to let Japan's Self-Defense forces go as close to the battlefield as possible, and remove legal restrictions on the overseas dispatch of SDF units.
Past governments have developed a framework of allowing Article 9 to be trampled upon using tricks. The Koizumi Cabinet has carried through the outrage using totally irresponsible statements and arguments in parliament. This is the method he uses to mislead the nation.
We are convinced that the method which the JCP has proposed in its two letters is the only effective way to fight international terrorism without causing casualties to innocent people. We will maintain this position as we continue to wage the struggle to thwart terrorism and war.
Lastly, I will touch upon the Middle East question. Everyone knows that the present problem is related to the Palestinian question and other questions in the Middle East. We do not side with the view that the settlement of the Middle East question is prerequisite to the resolution of the problem of terrorism. Our position is that international terrorism must not be condoned no matter who the perpetrator is.
The JCP has long established a clear position toward the Middle East question. Let me briefly talk about that. Ever since the movement started demanding the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, we have supported the cause, maintaining its independent position. Looking back on the past, there have been two important developments.
One is related to the terrorist attack 23 years ago. In March 1978, an armed commando of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) assaulted a passenger bus in the suburb of Tel Aviv killing and injuring many people, including women and children. At the time, in an Akahata editorial on March 24 we protested against the Israeli aggression which was the background of the terrorist incident, and at the same time gave the clear view on terrorism, saying, "We do not condone unjust attacks on noncombatants or the use of non-combatants as means of military action regardless of who is to blame for what happened."
The then director of the PLO Tokyo Office launched an attack on us, saying that the JCP stood on the side of Israel. The JCP refuted the false charge. In October 1981, I had talks with visiting PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. I used that occasion to explain to him what had happened between the PLO Tokyo Office and the JCP and asked him to do whatever necessary to resolve the problem. The PLO Tokyo Office director was also present at the meeting. Chairman Arafat on the spot promised to look into the affair. The PLO Tokyo Office then stopped attacking us.
This is how the JCP, in connection with the Middle East question, has consistently stated that terrorism involving innocent people must not be condoned for any reason since that time. It is consistent with what we are saying about terrorism today.
There is another experience we had in making our independent position prevail with regard to the Middle East question.
In the 1960s-1970s movement in support of the Palestinian people's struggle, the call for "extermination of Israel" was predominant. In 1973, Kenji Miyamoto, JCP Executive Committee chair at the time, used his speech at the National Press Club of Japan to make clear the JCP position on this argument for the first time. He said that the JCP does not join with those who call for the extermination of Israel; as a matter of course, we recognize the Israeli right to exist as a state. This means that the goal should be to establish co-existence between a Palestinian state and Israel in the Middle East.
At the time, this was regarded as a courageous statement because it was a minority opinion in the international movement in supporting the right to national self-determination of the Palestinian people.
Later, however, the recognition that Israeli has the right to exist as a state came to be accepted by the movement as the premise of the resolution of the problem. Building an international order in the Middle East, which we had sought, became a common understanding in the international community. This is what happened in JCP history in regard to the Middle East question.
The JCP position on how the Middle East question and terrorism should be resolved has been consistent and based on an independent position.
Second is about the struggle against corporate restructuring, the adverse revision of the medical system, and on other key issues.
On this question, the Executive Committee Report states that it is important for the JCP to "play an activist role in organizing struggles," instead of just responding to national political issues by putting forward specific policies.
This involves a profound problem of Japanese society. In the capitalist world, Japan is a country with few social struggles. Our society is vulnerable to government and corporate attacks on the people's economic life. This is what has characterized the Japanese society for the last 20 years.
In particular, trade union responses to such attacks are very weak. Specifically since the reorganization of the labor front in the 1980s, have lost their vitality very quickly. In the early 1980s, I referred to this problem in my speech at an annual general assembly of the Conference of Trade Unions for Promotion of United Front (which was later reorganized into the National Confederation of trade Unions - Zenroren). I pointed out that Japan was becoming "the most comfortable country for monopoly capital." The subsequent 20 years have seen the tendency becoming stronger.
This is an important issue if Japanese society is to make progress. That is why I made my point on that when I spoke at the JCP 21st Congress in 1997 on how and on what conditions we can establish a Democratic Coalition Government. I pointed out that "a major change in political power relations conducive to establishing a democratic government is impossible without epoch-making advances of the mass movements in every field." It also emphasized that "to get a democratic break through in the trade union movement is an urgent social task arising from the people's needs." The trade union movement's weaknesses are now apparent and pose a very serious problem in dealing with the problem of corporate restructuring.
Restructuring is being planned on a scale that Japan has never experienced. By contrast, however, union opposition is powerless. Knowing this, employers are likely to be forcible in planning corporate restructuring. If unions do not rise against such large scale personnel cuts, that would be a phenomenon unique to Japan.
In election campaigns and in parliament, we have repeatedly pointed out that many of the European countries are regulating dismissals by law to prevent corporations from carrying out restructuring without regard for the workers' interests and that Japan is far behind them in this regard. European countries have established such regulations through great struggles of workers led by trade unions. In Europe, too, there were called for deregulation from the late 1980s through the 1990s. In France and Germany under conservative governments, calls for deregulation were used often as leverage to remove regulations on dismissals. However, dismissals in such circumstances would have had to face major opposition; a government move to revoke the law regulating dismissals would have encountered major opposition arising from the workers and would have been a major issue in the elections. This is what the struggle in France and Germany was about. As a result, the workers of the two countries restored the once revoked legal regulations of dismissals in strengthened forms. Their struggles have also brought about EU regulations of dismissals.
In Japan, there was a period following the end of World War II in which massive dismissals and personnel cuts became a major issue in the trade union movement. Even less militant unions used to put up an unyielding resistance to the attacks as a matter of life and death of workers.
The trade union movement in the postwar period recorded numerous such struggles. Before I came to work for the JCP head office, I was a secretary at the National Federation of Iron and Steel Workers' Unions (Tekko-roren) for 11 years. Tekko-roren was not as strong as other unions affiliated with the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (Sohyo), but put up a firm struggle in 1954 against dismissals of 1,000 out of 4,000 workers at Hokkaido's Japan Steel Co.,-Muroran Works. The union waged a 193-day struggle with support from across the country.
Unlike the rest of the world, Japan no longer has such vitality in its labor movement. It is very serious that the decline in our struggles in Japan lies behind the illegitimate corporate restructuring now prevalent.
Of all those problems that threaten the people's well-being, the proposed adverse revision of the medical services is a wide-raging attack on all sections of the Japanese people, threatening their lives, medical care, and health. The attitude of the Liberal Democratic, Komei and Conservative parties is one of expecting that their majority in the Diet will enable them to get the bills enacted without taking into account the strong public opposition.
The government and large corporations are not hesitant in carrying out anything without regard for the costs the people may have to pay. This is exactly what we must do away with for the sake of future Japanese society; it is also one of the major issues facing our society in the 21st century.
The Executive Committee report called for the JCP to play an activist role in the organization of struggles around economic issues. I want you to recognize that this proposal is based on this way of recognition of the society and prospects of future society.
The details of the policy is already in place. In dealing with the corporate restructuring and in advancing the struggle against the adverse revision of the medical services system, our efforts in localities and workplaces should be to ensure that our demand for job security and our opposition to the adverse revision of the medical services system will be supported by the majority.
In the anti-restructuring struggle, the role and activity of JCP branches at private-sector companies are decisive. Regardless of political view the workers' unions have, JCP branches in companies are the stronghold to defend the workers' interests and organize struggles. Since early in the 1970s, the forces of reaction launched a large scale anticommunist offensive in the workplace. But the JCP workplace branches have effectively defended their positions in defiance of adversities. I want you to note that this experience can be of great help in our future struggles.
Let me touch upon my personal experience. In 1992, the JCP proposed a bill to revise the Labor Standards Law. At the time, the JCP sponsored two public meetings to discuss the proposal. One was with national organizations and the other with people from the workplace in and near Tokyo. Unfortunately, in the private sector, the number of unions which the JCP has friendly relations with is extremely small. So in the meeting with representatives of national organizations, actual situations in private sectors were not much discussed although our proposal focused on ways to regulate long-hour works and unbearably heavy workloads in the private sector. But in the meeting attended by about 500 workers from the capital area, participants spoke a lot about the real situation in the various industrial sectors and expressed their views on the JCP proposal. Most of these workers were from independent unions and those affiliated with the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo). But I felt a large current flowing in defense of the workers' interests and in the cause of progressive change in society and politics.
In this struggle, it is essential to use ideas and power to broaden our close ties with workers regardless of their unions' political affiliation and develop join action and unity in the common effort. The corporate restructuring plans are for the long-term. JCP branches and leading bodies should tackle the issue with a long-term strategy. This is a struggle to change the face of Japanese society or create a society in which attacks on workers will not be condoned by society. I want to ask you to extend support for the effort to achieve a first step toward the objective.
Thirdly, the construction of a JCP and the United Efforts we are going to organize. One of our common objectives at present is the construction of a strong JCP both in quality and in quantity capable of overcoming every adversity. The Executive Committee has proposed the "United Efforts" in order to produce results.
Party building is always a very important task of the JCP, and there have been a number of historical periods in which party building efforts were decisive for the JCP.
The first such period came when the JCP began working openly for the first time after WWII. Starting as a tiny group, the JCP grew into a party with a membership of more than 100,000 members in the next four-five years.
The second such period was after the JCP solved the so-called "1950 Question," recovered the party unity, and adopted the "Program of the Japanese Communist Party." At the JCP 7th Congress in 1958, the JCP had 36,000 members and 47,000 Akahata subscribers. And at the time of the JCP 11th Congress in 1970, the JCP had a membership of 300,000 and 1.8 million Akahata subscribers. This rapid JCP growth was a major source of the party's political development in the 1970s.
In these two periods, our efforts were devoted not only to increasing JCP membership but to creating new party organizations. This helped the JCP to increase its membership to more than 100,000 in four-five years and even to 300,000 in 12 years, from 36,000 members. And that helped the JCP to achieve new political goals.
I think this is a period in which we should tackle the task of strengthening the JCP. The "United Efforts" and other tasks which the Executive Committee report has proposed are aimed at strengthening the basis for the JCP to lead various struggles in the 21st century. Our efforts to make the 21st century an era of change an progress in Japan and the world depends on success in this activity. We must bring this party building drive to an initial success in that effort.
We should note that the present JCP is much stronger than it was on the two occasions I mentioned in the past. We now have a membership of more than 390,000. In local assemblies, we have more than 4,000 JCP representatives. Building on this achievement, we should use our ideas and power to achieve yet another major development comparable to the past two successes.
In the "United Efforts," we attach importance to "quality" as well as "quantity."
The revised JCP Constitution gives the JCP branches a new definition. The growth of the JCP branches having closer and broader contacts with people in the localities, workplaces, and on campuses is the source of the JCP's vitality.
Of course, the branches have to make efforts themselves, but it is also necessary for the leading bodies to help branches in order to help most branches acquire vitality. That's the effort we should make in the "United Efforts" at the start of our new activity to build branches with vitality.
In yesterday's Executive Committee meeting, many members emphasized the need for increased conscious efforts to improve the capability of party bodies in order to meet the needs of the present situation in their political activities on behalf of the JCP, in their guidance of branches and other party organizations, and in election campaigns.
I meet with members of local JCP bodies when I go out on the stump for JCP candidates in local elections. I know there are some local JCP bodies which successfully apply JCP policies to the new political situations, but I often find party bodies forget the iron rules that have been tested in JCP election campaigns. For example, I found a JCP body always at the same place without trying to change sites to attract a larger audience.
So in an election campaign, the crucial task is for us to succeed in increasing the number of votes for the JCP as part of the effort to build on what we have achieved so far to increase JCP influence in the new political situation. The question here is how to organize and lead activities in a rational manner, and local JCP bodies are responsible for bringing this effort to success.
The new JCP Constitution puts greater emphasis on an autonomous role of the regional and district JCP bodies.
In the report to the 22nd Congress on the revision of the JCP Constitution, I said, "To implement this fully, JCP local bodies have to be active in tackling political questions autonomously and arrive at conclusions on its own. To do so, it is necessary for local bodies at all levels to raise their political capacity and standards."
In order to tackle these new tasks for the 21st century and get results, strengthening the capacity of JCP bodies is a very important task. I hope that the Central Committee Plenum will take this into account in its discussion on the policies proposed by the Executive Committee.
It is good that the JCP on the whole is strengthening efforts to raise its theoretical level. The 21st century will be an era of upheavals and the theoretical capacity of the JCP will be decisive.
This is the first year of the 21st century, and we are facing a deepening crisis both in Japan and internationally.
Domestically, the existence of the Koizumi Cabinet shows how profound the crisis of the successive LDP governments is. One such manifestation is the Koizumi Cabinet's effort to "break through LDP politics" as a "tool to prolong LDP politics" because it will naturally arrive at a dead end.
In parliament, it is often said that "reason is always secondary" in the LDP's discussions. Nowadays, the LDP seems to have no capacity to state "reason," even as an afterthought to the undemocratic bills they propose.
The Koizumi Cabinet looks stable with a majority of public opinion supporting, but by contrast, the crisis of LDP politics is very deep.
The crisis of the present-day world is marked with a cycle of terrorism and war, the deepening global economic recession, and global environmental destruction. Anxiety is spreading throughout the world about the future of the world, and in particular about the inability to see what the 21st century will be like.
Last year's JCP 22nd Congress set forth the task of making the 21st century "a century of greater historic progress than that achieved in the 20th century." We regard the present worldwide crisis as a serious expression of a historic transition to a century of greater progress. Take the question of world peace, for example. A world characterized by U.S.-Soviet confrontation and politics taken for granted to serve the interests of military alliances above all else came to an end at the close of the 20th century. And now there are a variety of movements taking shape towards a new world order in which independent peoples coexist peacefully based on the principle that every nation has a right to self-determination. This is what the JCP Congress stated in its analysis of the present-day world.
The U.S. has a strategy to confine the 21st century to a framework of the world's acceptance of uncontested U.S. hegemony. Such a strategy and calculations underlie the U.S. rush to start a retaliatory war in dealing with the international task of fighting terrorism. But the 21st century world will not be so powerless and passive a world that is confined within one country's hegemony. Contradictions and confrontations between the major historic current and the back current will inevitably arise.
In this context, the various crises we are experiencing in the first year of the 21st century must be precursor to a major upheaval in the 21st century.
To achieve steady JCP advances for the ambitious objective of progressive social transformation in the tumultuous century, it is necessary to study and understand the JCP Program fully concerning Japan. It is also important to make efforts to understand the direction of historical development and help the whole party share the firm outlook on the world.
As part of this effort, we have published in Akahata a plan to hold a "Yoyogi Seminar on 'Capital'" at the JCP head office. The announcement aroused great interest in the JCP head office. The seminar will be held in this room which is normally used for the Central Committee Plenum, but the classroom is not large enough to accept all applicants that include Standing Executive Committee members and staff members of various sections. Then, we decided to use a room downstairs which is a conference room for the Standing Executive Committee meeting, so that people who can travel from near-by prefectures can attend. On the day this was announced, applications numbered almost twice the seating capacity. I appreciate the enthusiasm for study.
I know that many requests have come from around the country that the seminar must not be limited to within the head office but be broadcast via communication satellite, and that it should be videotaped. In my opinion, the planned seminar will be more of a cooperative work between me as the lecturer and listeners rather than a ready-made thing. As it entails some trial and error aspects, I give up the idea of taping the course. Such a request, however, made a strong impression on me that a desire to study the outlook on the world is very strong.
It is necessary to build the JCP with great theoretical ability based on study of economic and other fields. Party-building requires energetic efforts to put the slogan into practice, "Build a strong JCP both in quality and in number." This will be the source of strength with which the JCP plays a powerful part in creating history in the 21st century. I want the whole party to pursue the task of party building based on this great perspective. I took up the three points and now closes my remarks, wishing for earnest discussion of the report and activities after the plenum.
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