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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9  > Build stronger JCP to strengthen opposition/citizens joint struggles: Shii in New Year address
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2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9 TOP3 [JCP]

Build stronger JCP to strengthen opposition/citizens joint struggles: Shii in New Year address

January 5, 2018

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on January 4 delivered a speech in the New Year assembly held at the JCP head office in Tokyo. Shii called on party members to make 2018 a monumental year for making headway toward a stronger JCP after looking back at JCP activities in 2017 which saw a “dramatic upturn” in support which led to the opening of a new era both inside and outside Japan.

Shii began his speech with a review of the 2017 October general election. He said that in the face of the roadblocks put up to hinder the joint struggles of opposition parties and concerned citizens before and during the election campaign, the JCP stuck to a position of upholding the opposition/citizens unification, which drew positive responses from a broad range of people, including intellectuals, cultural figures, and civil activists. Recalling the 2016 Upper House election and the last general election, Shii stressed, “The united struggles of citizens and opposition parties have been fully accepted as a formidable force influencing politics. Furthermore, the JCP has been recognized as a driving force behind this movement by a wide range of civil democratic forces, which is really significant.” He called on party members to keep this fact in mind and actively engage in party activities.

He moved on to the next topic, the House of Councilors election slated for 2019. Shii expressed his determination to work hard to develop the existing opposition parties/citizens alliance into a “full-fledged” one. He also said, “Seeking to realize electoral cooperation in all the 32 single-seat constituencies in the next Upper House election, the JCP will ask the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Democratic Party for an immediate start of discussions on policy agreements and nomination of joint candidates.”

Regarding a JCP advance in the Upper House election, Shii emphasized the importance of holding fast to the “proportional representation is the axis” position and winning seven seats in the proportional representation blocs by obtaining more than 8.5 million votes or 15% of total votes. In addition, Shii appealed for the need for utmost efforts to defend the present three JCP Upper House seats in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka and gain additional seats.

Shii then brought up international issues. He first touched on the most historic and epoch-making event in 2017 which is the adoption of the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons. He said, “This treaty is a collection of the wisdom of the world. It should also be referred to as a decision made by the international society to embark on a new course of action.” Stating, “It is every single citizen in the world who can move international politics, a strength that has been illustrated by the global community,” Shii said that this year should be a year of further moving forward toward a “world free of nuclear weapons”.

The other "upheaval" was the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump. Shii said that Trump has no hesitation in abandoning the "responsibility" for "U.S.-led international order", and cited the following facts: Trump seriously impairs global efforts to realize "a world without nuclear weapons"; he decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Accord on curbing global warming; and he officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Because of these actions, Shii pointed out, the U.S. is now facing isolation and its international status has been downgraded.

Under these circumstances, PM Abe obsessively and outstandingly puts "Trump first". Shii said, "Japanese diplomacy urgently needs to end its extraordinary subservience to the United States."

Regarding JCP activities in 2018, Shii ardently called for achieving a victory in "two must-win battles" (standing up for the Constitution and for Okinawa), organizing "get-togethers" in every corner of the Japanese archipelago in order to increase active JCP supporters; and making this year historic by which the party will gain more seats by being forward thinking.

With the Abe government seeking to propose amendments to Article 9 of the Constitution within this year, the JCP's struggles in the first half of 2018 will be extremely important. Referring to a change in the religious world as an example, Shii said that the party has the potential to build major political cooperation while putting aside differences and to unite an unwavering majority of the public by collecting "30 million signatures" to stop constitutional amendments from being proposed to the Diet.

Regarding a political showdown in Okinawa, Shii stressed the need to win in the Nago City mayoral election in February, Okinawa local elections in August, and the Okinawa gubernatorial election in November. Shii stressed the need to create a national alliance for victory in the fierce battle in Nago City by saying, "As long as persons who oppose the new base are elected as Nago mayor and Okinawa governor, the new base construction in Henoko will never be completed."

Many people express strong expectations to and put their trust in the JCP anew. Shii, however, said that the party has a "gap" because its present strength cannot catch up with this trend, and that to shrink the gap is literally crucial for the survival of the JCP. Shii highlighted the party buildup policy clarified in the 27th Congress Resolution as a workable solution. He said that the Congress Resolution should be fully implemented, based on the effort to increase JCP membership, so as to place the effort for a stronger party on a track of evident progress. Shii said, "Let us work even harder to make this year a historical year so that we can prepare for another advance in nationwide local elections and the House of Councilors election scheduled for 2019."
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