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Take an honest look at history for the sake of a peaceful future
Akahata editorial

On July 15, 1922, eight people met to found the Japanese Communist Party.

Eighty-three years have passed since then. With a membership of more than 400,000, the JCP is active everywhere in the country. At a time when history is a major issue that has an important bearing on Japan’s future, the JCP, which has weathered various upheavals before, during, and after World War II, is making various policy proposals leading to a peaceful future by taking an honest look at history.

Under the banner of the liberation of colonial countries and opposition to war of aggression

Newspapers in those days were reporting such things as a “rise of Korean outlaws.” The imperial government colonized Korea in 1910 and crushed the "Sam-il (March 1st) Independence Movement" in 1919, killing 8,000 Korean people. But Korean people’s resistance continued to develop. Japanese newspapers were acquiescent to the imperial government as well as the military by getting on the bandwagon of discrimination against Koreans. It was not by accident that many Korean residents in Japan were slaughtered in the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake that hit the Tokyo metropolitan area in September 1923.

When the JCP drafted its first party program, it demanded that Japan stop any plans for military intervention and withdraw all its troops from Korea, China, Taiwan, and Sakhalin. The JCP’s call for the liberation of colonies and opposition to war was very clear.

Although the JCP faced brutal repression because of its anti-colonial and anti-war-position, it refused to give in. All the other parties cooperated in the war of aggression. After the war, unlike the JCP, these parties were unable to maintain their previous names because of their tainted history.

The establishment of the Constitution was a milestone marking the start of Japan's postwar era. It brought about a major regime change, from despotism of the emperor into democracy that gives the people sovereign power. Based on reflections on Japan's wartime past of aggression and domestic suppression, the Japanese Constitution makes it clear that the Japanese people reject and revoke all constitutions, laws, ordinances, and rescripts in conflict with the principle that "sovereign power resides with the people."

The Liberal Democratic Party has drawn up an outline for a revised Constitution that insists that the old Meiji Constitution has relevance today and calls for the maintenance of "self-defense armed forces" that will fight wars outside of the country, thus turning the clock back. Similarly, the Democratic Party is call for changing the war-renouncing Article 9 in order to make it lawful for Japanese troops to be involved in wars abroad.

Both the LDP and the DPJ are calling for the revocation of the constitutional principles of peace that reject wars of aggression. Whether Japan takes an honest look at its wartime past of aggression and colonization or not will affect its basic future course options regarding the Constitution, education, school textbooks, and diplomacy.

The Japanese Communist Party is doing its utmost to defend all constitutional provisions by trying to protect pacifist and democratic clauses, specifically Article 9.

For Asian peace

Yasukuni Shrine now serves as the powerhouse of justification of the war of aggression. Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's Yasukuni visits amount to endorsing the shrine's view of past wars. This question was revealed in detail by JCP Central Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo in his lecture on May 12, which attracted attention both in Japan and abroad.

Controversies over the Yasukuni issue are increasing. In criticizing Koizumi for insisting on continuing his Yasukuni Shrine visits, the July 9 issue of Shukan Toyo Keizai (Weekly Eastern Economy) carried an article that called into question the shrine's extraordinary view justifying the war of aggression.

Assertions of "Yasukuni's View of History" and "New History Textbook" published by its associate publisher Fuso-sha will just help isolate Japan when the rest of the world is moving toward peace.

The JCP will endeavor to ensure Asian peace and prosperity while fighting against any attempt to push the clock back to an era of repression. -- Akahata, July 15, 2005

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