Akahata the staunch defender of peace marks 76th anniversary -- Akahata editorial, February 1 (Excerpts)

The Japanese Communist Party's newspaper Akahata marks its 76th anniversary on February 1, just when Japan faces a historic crossroads between war and peace.

Exposing pro-war forces' lies

Freedom of speech did not exist in Japan when Akahata was first published on February 1, 1928. The imperial (Tenno) government legalized publication of only the newspapers and magazines that passed its rigorous censorship.

Akahata did not seek for legitimacy under government control. From the outset, it carried articles calling for abolition of the monarchy, the establishment of a democratic parliament led by workers and farmers, the right to vote and run for office for all men and women of age 18 and older, and the freedom of speech, publication, assembly, and association, opposition to imperialist war, and for the complete independence of colonies. Akahata thus started as a source of information informing the people of the truth and what they have the right to know without censorship and other restrictions. Examples of free speech and accurate reports appeared in Akahata in defiance of the imperial government's control of speech.

The so-called Manchurian Incident, which broke out in September 1931, was concocted by the Japanese Army stationed at the time in north-eastern China. The Japanese media, however, repeatedly disseminated false government and military reports and propaganda that the Japanese Army's action was in response to a Chinese attack. This was how the media helped to deceive the people into supporting the war of aggression. Akahata clearly defined the war as a war of aggression intended to seize new territory, and was opposed to the war.

The Iraq war has also been revealed to be a war of aggression because the pretext which the United States used to go to war has been revealed as lies. No media in Japan except Akahata explicitly criticizes the Iraq war as a war of aggression.

More readers is what it wants

To increase public support for peace to meet the needs of the times, it is necessary for Akahata to reach more readers. (end)

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