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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 11 - 17  > Shii at JCP foundation assembly: JCP Program shows its power under present transient situation
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2018 July 11 - 17 [JCP]

Shii at JCP foundation assembly: JCP Program shows its power under present transient situation

July 12, 2018
The Japanese Communist Party on July 11 held a public assembly in Tokyo to commemorate the 96th anniversary of the party foundation. JCP Chair Shii Kazuo spoke about exciting aspects of the JCP Program under the present transient situation. Shii explained that the JCP Program’s vital power has been demonstrated under the current turbulent situation inside and outside Japan which carries bright prospects for the future. Shii stressed the need to build a stronger JCP in order to realize the goals stated in the JCP Program. In the assembly presided over by JCP Vice Chair Ogata Yasuo, co-leader of the All-Out Action Committee Takada Ken and founder of the Civil Alliance Nakano Koichi delivered speeches in solidarity. The speech event was broadcast live on the Internet and viewed at 1,061 locations across Japan.

JCP will devote its efforts to support torrential rain sufferers

Shii began his speech with offering sincere condolences to those who died in the west Japan heavy rain disaster. He also expressed his sympathy to the sufferers. He then reported that leaders of the JCP and five other opposition parties jointly petitioned the government to place at the top of its agenda the reconstruction of disaster-affected areas and to use all of its resources to fulfill this need. Shii said, “It is a matter of course that the government plays a prominent role in rescue and relief efforts and protect the health of the disaster victims from the extreme heat conditions. In addition, I think the government must recognize disaster victims’ sufferings and provide every possible assistance to them.” He went on to say, “The JCP has already launched activities to organize volunteers and collect donations with the aim of directly and immediately helping the victims. We will continue with these activities.” He called for the cooperation from JCP members, supporters, and the participants.

Shii talked about the vital power of the JCP Program from four angles. The draft of the current program was proposed in June 2003 at the 7th JCP Central Committee Plenum.

Compass pointing way to replace LDP-style politics

Firstly, the JCP Program plays a role as a compass pointing the way to replace the Liberal Democratic Party-style politics.

As clarified in the JCP Program, “extraordinarily subservience to the U.S.” and “capitalism without rules” which have long been distorting Japanese society are now reaching an impasse under the LDP form of politics.

Shii touched on the situation in Okinawa as an example of “excessive submission to the U.S.”. Shii cited the accidental dropping of a window frame from a U.S. military helicopter onto the schoolyard of Futenma Daini Elementary School (Ginowan City) at the end of 2017. He said that after the accident, every time a U.S. military aircraft flies over the school, children run into the school building under instructions of officials of the Okinawa Defense Bureau. Referring to a case in which children had to evacuate from the school yard 29 times in one day, Shii angrily said, “This is similar to air-raid precautions. It is abnormal for a school to order students to hide in the school building from U.S. military airplanes in the midst of PE lessons. What the Japanese government should do is not to issue evacuation instructions to school children but to urge the U.S. military to stop flying their aircraft over schoolyards.”

The U.S. military presence in Japan has long been raising the question of why Japan should continue to host U.S. bases. Shii cited the case in which the Philippines removed U.S. bases, the largest naval and air bases in Asia, from its territories based on the new constitution enacted after the demise of the dictatorial regime in 1986. He said, "This is what an independent sovereign state should do," urging the Japanese government to also move forward to create a foreign military base-free country in accordance with its Constitution.

Under "capitalism without rules", labor legislation has repeatedly been deregulated, imperiling the life and health of many workers. As a result, companies as well as the country's economy and society are coming close to an impasse. Shii quoted a business leader who had promoted the "disposable use of labor" as saying, "That was a mistake". This person himself admitted to the failure of the deregulation policy. Shii criticized the Abe government for intending to further deregulate labor laws without giving careful consideration to whether "it could be a mistake". He then said, "The JCP in its Party Program suggests fundamental remedies for the 'two distortions'. No matter how complicated a situation may be, the JCP always stands firm in siding with the general populace. It is because we have the JCP Program, a steady compass showing Japan's future course."

Solid foundation for cooperation between concerned citizens and opposition parties

The second is that the JCP with its Program as a solid foundation plays a part in the growing cooperation between concerned citizens and opposition parties and in their movements.

In the 2016 House of Councilors election, the opposition force succeeded in fielding a united opposition candidate in all 32 single-seat constituencies and won in eleven electoral districts. In the 2017 House of Representatives election, joint efforts between concerned citizens and the opposition parties successfully increased the number of pro-people Diet seats despite facing the sudden dissolution of the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan. Shii also pointed out that the groundbreaking opposition alliance in the Diet is driving the Abe government into a corner and said, "These united efforts have the power to change politics."

In order to advance this move to promote a united front, Shii emphasized the need to: stand firm to repeal the unconstitutional national security legislation or the so-called war laws and to recover constitutionalism; seek "authentic cooperation" among opposition parties by mutually fielding or supporting opposition candidates in all 32 single-seat constituencies in the Upper House election next year; and work together to address every single issue in order to address people's demands. He said that the JCP will continue to work for social change based on its Program while pursuing to form a united front beyond the boundaries based on thought and creed at every stage of social development. To achieve this, he expressed his determination to make use of all the party's wisdom and energy to build a new Japan in collaboration with the general public.

Understand the 21st century world and promote peaceful diplomacy with steady compass

The third is that the JCP always acts in compliance with its Program as a guideline in understanding the 21st century world and promoting peaceful diplomacy.

Shii stressed the historical significance of the recently-initiated peace process on the Korean Peninsula following the Seoul-Pyongyang, Pyongyang-Washington summit meetings. He said that the JCP's long-standing call on countries concerned for a "peaceful resolution through dialogue" had partly contributed to the opening of that peace process.

Success in this process toward peace will mark a major turning point in the pages of world history. The Abe government still uses the North Korean "threat" as an excuse to go ahead with his attempt to turn Japan into a "war-capable nation". However, if the process achieves success, he will lose his "rationale" for military buildup. What is more, progress in this process will give rise to the possibility of creating a "community of peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia" as the JCP proposes. Shii said that this will also pave the way for abrogating the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty which the JCP sees as the biggest obstacle to reforming Japan.

Concerning the reason why South Korean President Moon Jae-in was able to display an epoch-making initiative in the recent diplomatic arena, Shii quoted South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Su Hoon as saying that the Moon administration is a result of the “candle revolution”, an outpouring of public anger against the previous administration’s nepotism and corruption, which was bolstered by people’s hope and desire for peace. Shii stressed that efforts by peace activists in Japan and the JCP contributed to these changes.

From a wider point of view, these changes are in line with the structural changes made in the world in the 20th Century. The JCP Program points out that in that century, more than 100 countries broke away from colonial rule, restored sovereignty, and became independent nations. Shii noted that in the 2003 revision of the Program, the JCP revised its theory on imperialism. He went on to say that the JCP has employed “multiple points of view” in analyzing the United States, which the party designates as the major imperialist nation in the world today and that the JCP has taken a supportive stance toward U.S. moves that would lead to diplomatic solutions to international problems.

Prospects for a future society that will come after capitalism

Fourth, the JCP Program not only details measures for democratic reforms within capitalist societies but also presents a vision for a future society after capitalism: socialism/communism.

Shii said that with this year marking the 200th year of Marx’s birth, Marx as a revolutionary is attracting fresh attention in many countries. As an example, Shii showed to the audience a foreign newspaper carrying a feature article on Marx. This is because, he said, under the recklessness of global capitalism, European countries and the U.S. have seen a rise of new civil movements opposing inequality and poverty and demanding peace as well as new political movements calling for social reforms in connection with the new civil movements.

Shii stressed that the JCP Program’s theory on a future society sheds fresh light on the heart of Marx’s theory regarding a society in which all members can develop as human beings in a free and comprehensive manner.

Shii said that a theory of a future society is closely related to present society because workers’ struggles -, for example against exploitative employers or excessively long working hours - have significant importance in human history as they pave the way for and become components of a future society. He said, “Keeping the name of the Japanese Communist Party is a reflection of the prospect for a future that we envisage. We have a vision for a future society based on cooperation. This is why we can view any urgent problems that we face with a wider and longer-term perspective and remain consistent in our efforts.”

Let’s build a bigger and stronger JCP

In conclusion, Shii stressed that in order for proposals in the Program to be carried out, they need to be set as a goal by a united front, i.e. the joint struggle between opposition parties and concerned citizens as well as supported by a wide range of the general public. Stating that to build a bigger and stronger JCP is the best way to promote the opposition parties-concerned citizens collaboration and realize what the Program seeks, Shii invited the audience to join the party.

Shii said, “Based on the 96 years of the JCP history, let’s work to build a stronger and bigger party, further promote the united front or joint struggle between opposition parties and concerned citizens, bring down Prime Minister Abe Shinzo from power, and establish a coalition government of united opposition parties. As a first and important step to attain these goals, we need to achieve victories in the major upcoming elections in 2019: the House of Councilors and simultaneous nationwide local elections.”

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