JCP's 82-year history of undaunted struggle and great perspective for future -- Akahata editorial, July 15
July 15 marks the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Communist Party.
While the JCP suffered a setback in the House of Councilors election, its 82 years of existence is a history in which the party has overcome many difficulties with an indomitable spirit. Despite various forms of repression and oppression, the JCP has always been true to its founding principle of dedicating itself to reducing the hardships facing the Japanese people, protecting their lives and safety, building a new and rational Japan and defending world peace. Taking lessons from predecessors and looking at the 21st century, the JCP is now beginning a new struggle to pave the way for a new politics.
Prewar 'two major parties'
Of all political parties in Japan, the JCP history is the longest. This is because the JCP since its foundation has worked to achieve democracy with people's sovereignty as a base and has struggled in opposition to Japanese wars of aggression. The other political parties that existed in the prewar days could not retain their names after the war because they had supported the prewar despotic rule of the emperor and promoted Japan's wars of aggression.
In Japanese history, the Hara Takashi Cabinet (1918-21) of the Constitutional Rule Society (Kensei Kai) is the first real party cabinet. After this, there was a period (1927-32) of "two major parties"-- the Political Friends Society (Seiyukai) and the Democratic Party (Minsei-to). Although the imperial Diet under the prewar Meiji Constitution was no more than an auxiliary to the emperor exercising his legislative power, a majority party in the House of Representatives formed a cabinet.
However, neither of the "two major parties" sought to change the political framework. The emperor controlled all legislative, judicial, administrative, and military powers and suppressed freedoms and human rights. Both parties regarded this framework as the absolute standard for Japan to maintain as national polity at any cost. They trumpeted the emperor's war of aggression as a 'holy war' and strongly encouraged it.
However, the JCP, which advocated democracy and peace, was banned and harshly suppressed by the absolutist emperor government on the grounds that the JCP is incompatible with the "national polity". Many JCP members were tortured to death. No one was allowed to run for any public elections on a JCP ticket. While JCP members ran for elections from within the legal Labor-Farmer Party, they were completely excluded from politics dominated by the "two major parties".
Notwithstanding these difficulties, the JCP made every effort to publish its newspaper Akahata to inform the public of the truth, and to defend the living conditions of disenfranchised low-paid workers and tenant farmers living in extreme poverty.
These JCP struggles before and during the war sowed the seeds of postwar democracy and peace in Japan and the enactment of constitutional principles of peace and democracy.
Thus, the token rivalry between the "two major parties" that stood for the retention of the national polity were unable to show the way to resolve people's hardships. Their way eventually led to destroying people's living conditions and carrying out the war of aggression.
The system can be changed
The JCP not only has a longer history than any other Japanese party but has learned many lessons of history to give a broad perspective for a future Japan.
No other party in Japan has a party Constitution that stipulates, "The JCP will make every effort to make the 21st century a century in which humanity records a historic advance towards building a community free of exploitation or oppression." The JCP perspective was introduced after fully analyzing social contradictions in Japan and as a result of its quest toward their step-by-step solution.
Prewar "two major parties" regarded the emperor regime as forever unchangeable, but it turned out to be completely incorrect. So long as Japan's politics and society full of contradictions go on damaging public interests, the people can change such a society after all.
Let us now join hands with each other to create a socially just and peaceful Japan. (end)
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