JCP starts campaigning for July 11 Upper House election

The 20th House of Councilors election set for July 11 was officially announced on June 24 and leaders of the Japanese Communist Party made their first election campaign speeches in major cities, emphasizing that "only a JCP advance will pave the way for a bright future for Japan."

At issues in this election are the pension system, a consumption tax rate increase, Self-Defense Forces participation in the multinational force in Iraq, and constitutional revision.

About 320 candidates are running for 121 seats at stake (48 proportional representation seats and 73 allocated to the 47 prefectural constituencies). The JCP has 25 candidates running for proportional representation seats, and 46 for prefectural constituency seats. In Okinawa, the JCP together with other parties support a progressive candidate.

JCP Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo started his campaigning in Osaka in the morning and proceeded to Tokyo in the afternoon. JCP Central Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo spoke in Saitama Prefecture, and Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi, himself a candidate, toured the western Japanese cities of Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, and Nara.

Shii opened his speech by emphasizing that the outcome of the Upper House election will seriously affect people's living conditions as well as peace.

"This election offers you a choice between three political options, the coalition of the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, the Democratic Party, and the Japanese Communist Party. Just stop and think which one of the three courses will meet the needs of the people," he said.

Shii criticized the coalition government for bulldozing the pension bill through the Diet. He also pointed out that the Democratic Party's "reform" plan will only increase people's burdens.

He explained that the JCP is proposing a monthly 50,000-yen minimum pension benefit aimed at guaranteeing everyone the right to live. Both the DPJ and the LDP must be blamed for advocating the consumption tax rate hike in 2007, he said.

Warning that the SDF participation in the Iraq multinational force will mean that Japan will be an accomplice to the inhumane policies of the U.S. forces, the JCP chair demanded that the SDF be immediately withdrawn from Iraq. While denouncing the LDP and the DPJ for attempting to dismantle pacifist clauses from the Constitution, he called on voters to organize a nationwide campaign in opposition to this move.

Shii pointed out that the issues of pension reform and a tax increase are derived from politics serving the interests of the corporate sector, and that the issues of SDF overseas dispatches and constitutional revision have their roots in Japan's subservience to the U.S.

Shii stressed that the JCP is the only party that is committed to correcting these upside-down politics and that a JCP advance in this election is the surest way for remaking a peaceful Japan. (end)

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