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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 July 18 - 24  > Former JCP Central Committee Chair Miyamoto Kenji dies
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2007 July 18 - 24 TOP3 [JCP]

Former JCP Central Committee Chair Miyamoto Kenji dies

July 19, 2007
“The role of former Chairman Miyamoto in the party and his contribution to the party and its causes are clearly recorded as historic fact in the party’s history” (Fuwa Tetsuzo).

Former Japanese Communist Party Central Committee Chair Miyamoto Kenji died of old age on July 18 at Yoyogi Hospital in Tokyo. He was 98.

His funeral will be held with only family members attending, and his eldest son Miyamoto Taro acting as the chief mourner.

The JCP will hold a funeral with public attendance after the July 29 House of Councilors election.

Miyamoto Kenji was born in 1908 in Mitsui Village (known today as Hikari City) in Yamaguchi Prefecture. After graduating from Matsuyama High School in Ehime Prefecture, he entered the University of Tokyo economics faculty. In 1929, when he was 20 years old, he won first prize in the Kaizo magazine essay contest for his literary criticism of novelist Akutagawa Ryunosuke, entitled “Haiboku-no Bungaku” (Literature of Defeat).

Miyamoto joined the JCP in May 1931. He married writer Chujo Yuriko in 1932. In 1933, he was elected to the JCP Central Committee at the age of 24. In December 1933, he was arrested by Tokko (special high police), the secret police that had infiltrated agents provocateurs into the party.

The Tokko high police cooked up various false charges against him and spread lies with the aim of destroying the JCP.

Although Miyamoto faced various difficulties in prison, he used every possible means to defend the JCP’s honor. In court, he exposed the truth and defeated demagogic propaganda. The wartime court sentenced him to life in prison on charges of violating the Public Order Maintenance Law, but the sentence was revoked after the end of World War II.

Soon after the war’s end, Miyamoto took part in the work to rebuild the JCP. He took the lead in the effort to resolve the so-called “1950 question,” a time of turmoil that put the JCP in a very difficult situation due to the interference in which Stalin of the Soviet Union tried to force the JCP to accept a Chinese-style armed struggle line in collaboration with the Communist Party of China’s Mao Zedong leadership, which had just won its revolution.

The foreign interference caused a split in the JCP. One group led by Tokuda Kyuichi and Nosaka Sanzo, acting under Stalin’s directions, set up its base in Beijing to take an ultra-leftist adventurism under the guise of a “military plan”.

Miyamoto opposed the divisive activities by the Nosaka-Tokuda group and took the lead in fighting against their armed struggle line.

Through this struggle, the JCP restored its unity and established a new Party Program as well as its sovereign independence.

At the JCP 7th Congress in 1958, Miyamoto was elected JCP General Secretary. He chaired a subcommittee set up to develop inner-party discussion on the draft JCP Program to implement the JCP 7th Congress decision.

The JCP finally adopted the Party Program at its 8th Congress. It set forth a policy of democratic revolution instead of a socialist revolution that was widely adopted by many of the communist parties in the developed capitalist countries.

The new JCP Program rejected an armed struggle line or a violent revolutionary theory, making it clear that any political and social transformation in Japan must be carried out through winning a stable majority in the Diet.

In the 1960s, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of China’s Mao Zedong group interfered with the JCP with the aim of exercising their hegemony to place the JCP under their control. The JCP, led by Miyamoto, put up major struggles against these foreign interventionist forces.

In the international arena, Miyamoto in 1966 led a JCP delegation to Vietnam, China, and North Korea as part of the effort to activate international common actions and strengthen international unity in opposition to the U.S. war of aggression against Vietnam.

In 1968, a JCP delegation led by Miyamoto visited North Korea. In talks with Kim Il Sung, Miyamoto urged North Korea to abandon its plan to attack the South, which was a matter of international concern at the time. Kim Il Sung agreed to not carry out any attack.

In 1984, as the danger of U.S.-Soviet nuclear war was increasing, Miyamoto led a JCP delegation to the Soviet Union and held talks with a Communist Party of the Soviet Union delegation. The two sides set aside differences to focus their efforts on the prevention of nuclear war and the total prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. This joint statement led to the launching in February 1985 of the “Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a Total Ban and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.” Thus, the call for nuclear weapons to be prohibited and abolished became the main goal of the international movement against nuclear weapons.

Miyamoto was elected JCP Executive Committee chair in 1970 and Central Committee chair in 1982. He retired as the JCP Central Committee chair at the JCP 21st Congress in 1997 and was elected Central Committee chair-emeritus. In 2000, he became an officer-emeritus following an amendment to the JCP Constitution at the JCP 22nd Congress.

In 1977, Miyamoto was elected to the House of Councilors at the age of 69, and served as a Dietmember for 12 years until 1989, taking the lead in the struggle for a democratic change in Japan.

In the closing speech at the 21st JCP Congress, then JCP Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo lauded Miyamoto’s career as follows:

“It was in 1933, before the outbreak of World War II, that former CC Chairman Miyamoto became a CC member. He has been in the forefront of the party’s leadership for 64 long years -- nearly two-thirds of a century -- since then.

His activity began with the struggle in prewar days for peace and democracy in Japan, followed by efforts to resolve the so-called ‘1950 question’ which dragged the party into an extremely difficult position; the efforts to establish the Party Program and the political line of sovereign independence; the indomitable struggle against the hegemonic interference by foreign parties; the international activity for the elimination of nuclear weapons; the struggle for democratic changes in Japan, and many other struggles. The role of former Chairman Miyamoto in the party and his contribution to the party and its causes are clearly recorded as historic fact in the party’s history.”
- Akahata, July 19, 2007
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