JCP leaders start national local election campaign speaking tours

Japanese Communist Party leaders have begun speaking tours around the country in preparation for the 2003 simultaneous local elections next April.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo kicked off the tour on September 15 at a public hall in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, with about 3,500 people attending, calling for local governments to maintain their inherent roles of providing welfare and protecting living standards.

On September 19, in Nara Prefecture, about 3,700 people filled a hall and welcomed Shii and seven candidates for the Nara Prefectural Assembly.

Referring to the recent victories in gubernatorial and prefectural assembly member by-elections in Nagano, Shii called on participants to join together with the JCP to build a local government that protects residents lives.

Shii also analyzed several important national and international questions, including the struggle against the U.S. plan to strike Iraq, the Koizumi Cabinet's plan to force citizens to shoulder an additional 3.2 trillion yen burden, and Japan-North Korea relations. (end)