200,000 people invigorated by Akahata Festival to work for social change with JCP

About 200,000 people attended the Japanese Communist Party's 38th Akahata Festival from November 2 to 4 at Yumenoshima Park near Tokyo Bay.

Sekiguchi Takao, Akahata's director and chair of the Akahata Festival Organizing Committee, gave the opening speech.

At the outdoor main stage, JCP leaders made speeches.

Ogata Yasuo, JCP International Bureau director and House of Councilors member, who just returned from a tour of Middle East countries, reported on his successful discussions with government officials of these countries about the need to seek a peaceful resolution of the Iraq question.

Many placards reading "No war against Iraq" stood at various locations.

Many participants said the JCP leaders' speeches gave them confidence in the valuable role the JCP is actually playing in national and international politics. Many pledged to work for a JCP victory in the next simultaneous local elections in the spring of 2003 as well as in a possible parliamentary election.

Also, a variety of performing arts were shown on the main stage for three days, including solos, choruses, playing of a two-stringed Chinese lyre and other musical instruments, and Okinawan songs and dances.

There were exhibitions on the history and activities of the JCP and its newspaper Akahata, easy to be understood by visitors who are not familiar with the JCP and the newspaper.

Akahata reported that more than 170 people joined the JCP on the spot during the festival.

Participants, young and old, enjoyed themselves at the children's plaza, sports plaza, venues holding tea ceremonies and flower arrangement, and booths selling specialties from all 47 prefectures.

Eight hundred busloads of people came, including those from distant regions, and about 1,000 staff members and volunteers worked in various capacities. (end)