The Japanese Communist Party Central Committee held its 2001 New Year Meeting on January 4 at the JCP head office. Presidium Chair Shii Kazuo made the following speech:
This is an historic JCP New Year meeting for the first year of the new century. I wish you all in this office and at JCP branches and bodies throughout the country who are watching via satellite a happy new year.
The JCP is celebrating the start of the new century with a firm perspective and preparedness based on the decisions of the JCP 22nd Congress in November 2000. This is in sharp contrast to Liberal Democratic Party politics under Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro's coalition cabinet which has reached an impasse in all fields, including foreign relations and the domestic economy and is seemingly unable to have any perspective for the new century.
I take this opportunity to state our thoughts on the views of the JCP at the start of the new year of the 21st century based on what we decided at the JCP 22nd Congress.
First, the JCP is a party that is steadfast in principles and flexible in real politics.
Media reports often talk about the JCP's "flexible and realistic course." Some comments go so far as to wrongly depict the "flexibility and realism" as something that contradicts the JCP's principles established in the JCP Program. Our position, however, is that these two factors are unified. Only by firmly standing behind the principles can the JCP give full play to its flexibility in real politics.
Foreign relations--JCP's reasoning had a positive effect
Take Japan's foreign policy, for example. The JCP in its Program calls for the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the mobilization of the majority of the people to achieve this as a major task.
However, we are not trying to postpone the task of changing Japan's foreign policy into one of sovereign independence until the Security Treaty is abrogated. From this perspective, the JCP has worked to develop its own foreign relations as an opposition party, paving the way for dealing with other countries, including those in Asia. This was vividly reflected in both the JCP 22nd Congress decisions and the participation of a variety of international guests to our 22nd congress.
Note that such activities of the JCP as an opposition party in foreign relations are now having effects in many ways.
One such example is the proposal that then JCP Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo made in 1999 that Japan should open a diplomatic channel with North Korea. The proposal had various reactions. I heard that the Foreign Ministry at first was reluctant to accept it simply because the proposal was by the JCP, although the ministry was much concerned about the absence of a diplomatic channel with North Korea.
Ironically, a favorable response was from foreign countries, which made the Japanese government panic. The U.S. Department of State and the South Korean government made a move. The two states complained about the Japanese government hesitating to develop relations with North Korea, noting that the JCP in the parliament had proposed the "right way." This worked as a cue and things really moved toward the start of negotiations aimed at restoring relations with North Korea.
This typically shows how the right way based on reason can have a major effect on the nation's foreign relations.
Why is the JCP capable of developing foreign relations to boldly respond to real politics? It is because the JCP holds fast to the goal of abrogating the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which enables the JCP to develop foreign relations based on sovereign independence without being influenced by U.S. intentions.
An ex-diplomat and expert on East Asia recently made a comment on the JCP, saying, "Japan's Asia relations and its relations with the U.S. are interrelated, making two sides of the same coin. The common wisdom of East Asian countries is that their foreign policy should not be influenced by U.S. intentions. Only when Japan becomes a country that has normal relations with the U.S., will it be able to get along with other Asian countries. In this fundamental aspect the JCP's call carries a clear message. I want the JCP to give full play to its strength to make Japan a normal state in the 21st century."
This means that people expect the JCP to take a positive role in foreign relations with Asian countries because the JCP can squarely face the U.S.
Japan's Constitution and SDF--A letter describes JCP congress decision as a 'gift to help achieve peace'
The JCP 22nd Congress decisions on the relationship between Japan's Constitution and the Self-Defense Forces is another aspect in which the position of firmly maintaining principles is unified with flexible responses to real politics.
The JCP's position of defending Article 9 of Japan's Constitution into the future is the most steadfast and principled of all the political parties. Only the JCP demands that Article 9 be implemented fully, being unequivocal in not allowing either its text being revised or its interpretation stretched to virtual revision.
The JCP can reject hasty approaches on this and openly make a proposal for a step-by-step approach based on reality.
In the 22nd Congress the JCP started from the basics that the unconstitutional SDF actually exist and many of the Japanese people still regard them as necessary. Starting from this, the Congress clarified all the stages to phase out the SDF, together with the people and based on the people's consensus.
This approach has attracted widespread attention and has been well received. A local newspaper carried a letter to the editor titled, "A big gift which will help achieve peace." The letter commented on the JCP policy on the SDF and said as follows:
"Man has brought about war but has the courage to get rid of it.... The JCP has come up with a policy of settling the contradiction of the SDF and the Constitution's Article 9 by phasing out the SDF based on the people's consensus, after the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is abrogated.... I welcome this proposal as an expression of courage and conscience.... It does not matter that it stated a possible use of the SDF in the process of carrying out this policy.... It carries a similar wisdom in making a realistic choice to when Christ suggested paying the tax is a small affair when the people can be liberated from Roman rule. If the SDF is phased out, it would be a big gift for the world in the 21st century in creating a new international order free of the military and war.
In every question of foreign relations and the SDF, the policy the 22nd Congress proposed is applicable when the JCP takes a part in a democratic government, and prepares the JCP as government in power. Let us address the 21st century by always maintaining the principles, always seeking a better tomorrow, and showing courage and wisdom of reforming the party, based on the developments of real politics.
The second point is that the JCP is a "people's party" responsible for the present and future of all Japanese people.
The JCP Constitution revised in the 22nd Congress describes the JCP as "a party of the working class and the Japanese people." This means that the JCP plays an advanced role as a party representing the working class and has the character as the most active performer of duties seeking democracy, independence, peace, improvement of the people's living standards, and a progressive future for Japan.
The JCP's proposals of changing Japan described in the congress decision are based on the "people's party" attitude.
Democratic change of Japanese economy -- Economic Planning Agency report confirms correctness of JCP Congress decision
Let me talk about our proposal for a democratic change in the Japanese economy.
Our economic proposals not only meet the people's urgent demands but also provide the sound development of Japan's economy and the people's living standards. They are responsible policy proposals, which is why thoughtful people in the business circles and economists have given their attention to them and welcomed them.
How our economic proposals are advanced becomes clearer when it is compared with the failure of the LDP economic policy which gives extraordinary benefits to large corporations.
The JCP Congress Resolution said that Japan's economy has undergone structural changes in the transition period from "rapid economic growth" to "low growth," and the economic policy of supporting big companies will no longer be effective in improving the people's living conditions and developing the national economy.
The Economic Planning Agency late last year published a report titled "The present situation of the Japanese economy." It gives an interesting analysis which proves that our congress decisions to be correct. It states that large corporations are gaining the same level of large profits as they did in the bubble economy period but that household spending has considerably declined because the people are concerned about their employment and futures, and having their incomes decreased. Based on these facts, the EPA report points out that company profits have no effect on a household budget. In conclusion it says that it is wrong to say that company profits will help increase the people's personal spending.
The Bank of Japan has insisted on this wrong theory, calling it a "dam theory." If a dam of company profits is filled with water and overflows, the water will trickle into household budgets, it said. Former EPA Director-General Sakaiya Taichi also said, "Water in the upper reaches of a river flows into the lower reaches." This is wrong. The government's economic policy pumps water from the lower reaches of the river to be used in the upper reaches. Both of the two theories were wrong, and this has been acknowledged in the official government paper, the EPA report. It's interesting to note that the EPA has proved the JCP congress decisions to be true.
Thus, the EPA's diagnosis is correct, but its prescription is wrong and contradictory. The draft budget for FY 2001 shows that the government will continue using taxpayers' money for the general contractor construction companies and major banks, supporting large corporations' restructuring, and adversely affecting the people by cutting social security programs and increasing taxes. Facts have proved that such government policies only help to maintain the economic recession and increase fiscal deficits. The deficits will reach 666 trillion yen by the end of FY 2002.
The Congress Resolution says that government should be changed to one of supporting the people's lives so that Japan's economy can develop in the right direction. It has become all the more clearer that the JCP is the only party that puts forward an economic policy to defend the interests of the people.
Children and education -- Proposal of JCP Congress widely accepted and discussed
On the problem of children and education, the JCP 22nd Congress decision proposed making efforts to overcome the crisis of children's academic standards. This has given rise to major interest among the public.
After the Congress, mass media reported results of the international comparative study of children's academic achievement, which showed that many Japanese children said they hated studying. Major newspapers carried editorials expressing concerns about the declining academic standards of Japanese children. Business circles are also concerned about the problem and are proposing ways to overcome it. The "crisis of children's academic standards" is a serious social problem.
To deal with this national problem, the congress decision put forward the way to make school education ensure basic academic standards for all children. We are going to propose specific steps and put them into practice.
The problem is now being discussed throughout Japan, but only the LDP government fails to understand the seriousness of the present situation, reflect on its distorted educational administration which has caused the problem, and try to find a way out. The National Council for Educational Reform, a private advisory body to Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro, issued a final report last December. It fails to address the most important problem of the "crisis of children's academic standards." The report abandons the concept of public education and proposes suppressing teachers and school children by forcing them to do this and that. It only reveals the poverty of ideas. I refer to it as a confession of the complete failure of LDP governments' educational policy which has promoted competition and control, and failed again to ensure children's learning ability. Here is yet more proof that the JCP is the only party that is responsive to the present and the future of all Japanese people.
Let's make efforts to prove our real worth as the "people's party" responsive to the present and the future of all Japanese people, by finding ways to solve problems in all fields through the 21st century.
The third point I want to emphasize is that the JCP is a party standing firmly on the major current in world history, and is also a party which helps to accelerate the current.
The JCP 22nd Congress Resolution summarized the historical achievements of humanity in the 20th century and envisaged that the 21st century will be a century in which conditions for a new society replacing capitalism will mature worldwide. This called great attention to the following two points.
There will be no future for adverse current if measured by centennial scale-- from New Year dialogue
First, only a long view will allow us to judge the authenticity of such and such historical current.
A look at a cross section of history will narrow one's view as if the current towards the war and suppression has supremacy. But, a view of an entire century will show what belongs to the historic current and what not.
For Akahata's New Year's Day issue, I had a dialogue with Otani Akihiro, journalist. Pointing to the recent series of reactionary legislations, including the new Guidelines-related War Laws and the wiretapping law, Mr. Otani asked me how the JCP views the situation which is worsening with a marked rightwards shift taking place.
I made two points: We must squarely face those attacks and repel them; at the same time, in a centennial range, such ongoing matters are nothing but adverse currents which have no future.
Mr. Otani replied that he was relieved to hear that. Then he read out the JCP Congress Resolution: "Our future in the 21st century will be much greater; people's wishes will be realized; and the JCP will take a lead in the effort to accelerate this historical current." He said, "These are auspicious words appropriate to the new year," he added.
A wide-ranging and historic viewpoint will give us a wider perspective. Despite zigzags, history will inevitably advance backed by the force of the mainstream of history. I shared this view with Mr. Otani.
"Excellent summary on the 20th century": Favorable reception by a famous critic to JCP Congress Resolution
The second point which attracted favorable attention to the JCP Congress Resolution is, that the JCP is a party which is moving ahead together with the historical current of the world.
I want to introduce another comment on the congress by a famous critic who has read through the resolution and said, "I want to give support to it." He went on to say:
To each of a various range of problems, the resolution gave compact definitions based on deep analysis. The content and sentences are well prepared and easy to read. Not only easy to read, but when I reread it, I make discoveries.
The JCP's view on the 20th century got to the core of the matter. I strongly agree with the part on 'Historical current, adverse currents, and the JCP.'
Especially, the phrase, 'In the 20th century, the JCP has been the only political party that has been consistent and is thus capable of talking confidently about its vision of a new century' is just what I had really thought about.
In this sense, it was very good that the resolution concluded with the message 'Hold high the name of the Japanese Communist Party.' I'm sure that the JCP, with such confidence in the party name, will make a major advance in the 21st century in its struggle to remake Japan."
We are very happy to hear such a high evaluation of us. True, the major current of history doesn't move ahead automatically like natural phenomena. It is the people's struggles in various countries that make history.
It is the Japanese Communist Party that takes an important role in Japan because the JCP, with undaunted and foresighted nature since its establishment 79 years ago has consistently contributed to the democratic current forming in this country. This is the raison d'etre of the JCP. Let's take a new step forward in the 21st century proudly and with convictions in our minds!
The House of Councilors election and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election will be the first political battles which will test the JCP 22nd Congress decisions. To achieve a JCP advance and victory in these political battles are the primary task of the party. The 22nd Congress Resolution clearly sets out JCP campaign policies, so I will just comment on a few points.
It is important to discuss 'ways to change politics' as well as passing severe judgment on the LDP-Komei-Conservative coalition government
In the House of Councilors election, we must stick firmly to the position of placing "choosing a political party" as the basis of the campaign both in the proportional representation constituency and prefectural constituencies. That is to say that we must base our campaign on extensive efforts to achieve a major JCP advance by making JCP policies, political line, history, and ideas available to the public. With the "non-binding list formula" being introduced to the proportional representation constituency, this action is all the more important.
The key to creating a big surge toward a major JCP advance is a political debate that will throw the political issue into relief.
In the Upper House election, we must pass severe judgment on the LDP-Komei-Conservative government as a matter of course. At the same time, the major focus should be on how to change present politics; what in LDP-led politics should be changed and what kind of new politics will be established in place of the present misgovernment.
The prime minister's statement at the New Year's Day news conference indicated that the coalition of the LDP, Komei Party, and New Conservative Party intends to surmount difficulties in the Upper House election by trying to attract the public with the slogan of "political stability," sidestepping the question of the contents of its own politics. However, "stability" of undemocratic politics will cause more trouble than anything else for the people. If the ruling parties want to stay, they should participate in the debate on policies and offer concrete measures to break the difficulties in all issues facing Japan in the 21st century, including the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, foreign relations, the Constitution, ocial security program, consumption tax, fiscal policy, and education.
The opposition parties are also asked to show their policies for changing LDP politics. Just calling for change of government as an answer for all cures without offering any specific policies cannot meet what the people really want. This is clear from the past experiences with "non-LDP" governments. The JCP and other opposition parties have shared the position of not tolerating the continuation of the LDP-Komei-Conservative coalition government. Our party makes earnest efforts to develop joint struggles with other opposition parties in the Diet, but in the election campaign we will compete with them through debate on policies.
We will make our argument heard by all voters, stressing that at issue in the election is whether to allow the LDP-led government to continue or take a new step toward democratic reform by achieving a JCP advance.
In a surge of membership drive, we'll be able to prepare a coalition government
Secondly, the importance of waging the election campaigns by creating an upswing in the JCP's organizational strength. The 22nd Congress set a goal of building a party with a membership of 500,000 by 2005.
Why have we set such a high goal? Because we have confirmed the need to set such a goal as a lesson we have drawn from the JCP setback in the 2000 general election and examine what we have achieved in the 1990s. It is also important to note that the goal of a membership of 500,000 has great significance in that it will pave the way for the establishment of a democratic coalition government.
What would the JCP be like if we achieve this goal? We'll be able to open a new horizon where we'll have much better conditions for our party activities to greatly develop in every field, and a democratic coalition government will be within our reach. We'll break a record and view a different horizon. It is an effort to realize the great dream for which we should unite.
At the JCP 22nd Congress most foreign guests noted our party is organized in close corporation with the people at the grassroots.
We'll always hold fast to the Congress decisions which set the party membership buildup effort as the basis and place the party organ activities at the center of JCP activities. This is the way to build a JCP capable of running the government and wage the election campaigns with increased party strength.
Every party member must study the JCP 22nd Party Congress decisions
Thirdly, I'd like to call on every party member to read the Congress decisions in preparation for the political battles.
A well-known journalist, who compared the 22nd Congress Resolution with its draft, sent us the following comment:
"These reinforcements made to the draft are impressive. In completing the Resolution, members' questions, opinions, and proposals were honored. Some of them were adopted. In a limited space, bold and thoughtful reinforcements were made with precise analyses. I believe that with those amendments the Resolution was fine-tuned through discussion with all members, including the 22nd Party Congress."
Comparing the JCP Congress with other political parties' conventions, the journalist noted that "They have never amended their draft resolutions even when there are differences. The JCP Congress has completed its documents after listening to every opinion and appropriately adopting them."
Everywhere the party members have read and discussed the JCP Congress decisions, everybody is inspired to take steps forward precisely because it is a historic document that was written as a result of collective wisdom embodying the spirit of the party. Let's overcome the delay in reading the Congress decisions quickly. I hope that every party member will finish reading and discussing them so as to make use of them as soon as possible, so that all of us are able to vigorously participate in the immediate political battles.
Let's do our utmost to achieve a new JCP advance in the first year of the new century.