Quest for an Asian Community for Peace

   Japanese Communist Party Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo gave the following speech to the 4th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in Seoul on September 9:

Honorable Chairperson,

Distinguished delegates,

   On behalf of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), I would like to congratulate you on holding the 4th International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP).

   In this conference, we have representatives from almost every political party in Asia, both ruling and opposition. There is no such conference on any other continent. I think, therefore, the conference itself symbolizes the great historic changes that have taken place in Asia, moving from divisions and hostilities towards friendship and peace.

   The footprints left by this conference have already found a place in history. It started in Manila six years ago, followed by Bangkok, then in Beijing. Its achievements found expression in the “Beijing Declaration” issued two years ago: Refusing wars, aggression and hegemony, to jointly work for an order guaranteeing peace in Asia and the world. I earnestly hope that the Seoul Conference will add another page of progress to the achievements made so far. 

   Friends, Looking back on political developments in Asia and the world since the last conference, I think it necessary to give attention to the moves developing toward the establishment of independent regional communities of nations in various parts of the world as new standard-bearers of the international order for peace. We can see such developments in Latin America and Africa, but when it comes to a community for peace, Asia presents the most remarkable example.

   The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) concluded by the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1976 calls for the peaceful settlement of disputes and renunciation of the use of force on the basis of the UN Charter and the “Bandung Declaration.” The TAC has been joined by China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia, in addition to the ten ASEAN nations. It has thus developed into a broad current for peace with an aggregate population of 53% of the world. In December 2005, the first “East Asia Summit” was held with the participation of 16 countries of the TAC, and a declaration was adopted which looks forward to building an East Asia Community. This is a very important development.

   I also think it important that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is developing into an organization for peace, embracing large countries in the central part of Eurasia, including China, Russia, Central Asian as well as South Asian countries.

   These communities of nations being formed in various parts of Asia set out as their common position, an order guaranteeing peace based on the UN Charter, respect for the sovereignty of every nation and non-interference in others’ internal affairs, peaceful settlement of disputes, a just and democratic international economic order, and dialogue and coexistence among different socio-economic systems and various civilizations with different values. I would like to stress that in this direction can we find the high road to guarantee the peace, friendship, progress and prosperity of the Asian nations.

   In Northeast Asia, on the basis of the framework of the Six-Party Talks aiming for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, efforts have been made to jointly resolve problems, with twists and turns as well as setbacks. We strongly call on North Korea to accept the UNSC Resolution and immediately return to the Six-Party Talks. The Six-Party Talks held in September 2005 adopted a joint statement confirming “joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia.” We sincerely hope that the immediate difficulties will be resolved in this framework and the nuclear issue settled, and that the framework will eventually develop into a joint organization for peace and stability in this region.

   We are determined to make utmost efforts, as an Asian political party, for expanding the peace current from Southeast Asia to Northeast Asia, and for building an Asian community of nations for peace, in cooperation with all other Asian countries, including Central, South and West Asian countries.


   What kind of role should Japan play in helping build an Asian community of nations for peace? In our view, regrettably, the diplomatic activities carried out by the Japanese government do not live up to the expectations of many Asian people. We consider it important to change Japan’s diplomatic course on the following five points:

   First, Japan must overcome the adverse current justifying the past Japanese war of aggression and colonial rule. The JCP is demanding the prime minister’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine be halted. This is because we believe that the biggest problem of his visit lies in the fact that it is tantamount to giving the government’s official endorsement to the historical view that justifies and glorifies the war of aggression on which Yasukuni Shrine is based. In order to build an Asian community of nations for peace, we need a common understanding of the fundamentals of past history. Only by facing up to the errors committed in past history and showing their remorse by concrete actions can Japan win the trust and friendship of the other members of the Asian community. The JCP, since its founding in 1922, has been consistent, even at the risk of its members’ lives, in opposing the war of aggression and colonial rule by Japanese militarism, without yielding to harsh oppression by the Imperial (Tenno) government. On the basis of these achievements, the JCP will make efforts to correct aberrations in Japan’s diplomatic activities.

   Second, Japan must end its exclusive support for U.S. policy and develop a strategy for exploring peaceful relations with other Asian countries. As regards Japan’s relations with the United States, the JCP is calling for ending its subordination to the United States to establish a true friendship, not confrontation, between Japan and the United States on an equal footing. The JCP Program calls for abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and conclusion of a friendship treaty with the United States, and to join the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries, the main current in Asia. Many Asian countries are making efforts to defend sovereign independence, while developing friendly relations with the United States on an equal footing. I think this is the common course being followed by many Asian countries.

   Third, Japan must stop giving priority to military approaches and stand firm for peaceful settlement of international disputes through diplomacy. It is our firm conviction that Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is the strongest basis of such a position. Article 9 provides for renunciation of war and non-maintenance of war potential, which is a pledge made to the Asian peoples. By establishing this war-renouncing provision, Japan declared that it will never fight wars based on deep remorse for the war of aggression which exacted a great cost on the Asian peoples as well as the Japanese people. This is a treasure of peace not for the Japanese people alone, but the common property of the Asian peoples. What the Asian people demand of Japan is that it should stick to this international pledge, and carry on peace diplomacy by applying the principles of the pledge.

   Fourth, Japan must deny any country the right to assert hegemony and defend the peace in compliance with the UN Charter. As the government of the only A-bomb victim country, Japan should seek the abolition of nuclear weapons as an immediate task on a global scale. Now at the beginning of the 21st century, currents for “a world without wars” are gaining momentum on a scale unprecedented in human history. The course of events up to the Iraq war in 2003 is the best proof. The overwhelming majority of the world’s people raised their voice of opposition against the war. In the 21st century, no superpower can determine the course of world affairs as it likes. We are living in an age in which all countries and peoples are the main players for establishing peace.

   Fifth, Japan must exert efforts to establish peaceful coexistence among countries with different socio-economic systems and to establish dialogue and coexistence among civilizations with different values. Historically, Asia has a wide diversity of social systems as well as cultural and religious values. No one should use these differences as pretexts for hostilities or interference. We have to respect diversity, understand each other and seek peaceful coexistence, without passing unilateral judgment based on a particular yardstick. This is the position confirmed by the previous ICAPPs, and I am confident that this is the shared aspirations of all participants.


   Let us bring our wisdom together and join forces in order to realize an Asian community for peace, and make the 21st century the century for “Asia without wars” and “a world without wars.”

   Thank you for your attention.  

            - Akahata, September 10, 2006

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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