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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 23 - 29  > JCP protests Supreme Court ruling supporting suppression of JCP local assembly member
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2008 January 23 - 29 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP protests Supreme Court ruling supporting suppression of JCP local assembly member

January 29, 2008
The Supreme Court on January 28 rejected an appeal and upheld a lower court decision that found Oishi Tadaaki, a JCP member of the Bungotakada City Assembly in Oita Prefecture, guilty for violating the Public Offices Election Law.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi published a statement on the same day criticizing the Supreme Court for handing down this unjust decision.

The statement read as follows:

“We protest the shameless Supreme Court decision that tramples on the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and fails to take issue with the Public Offices Election Law’s restrictions that are overly suppressive in the light of international common sense.

Mr. Oishi was indicted for allegedly distributing flyers of the JCP Supporters Association before the official start of the election campaign in the Bungotakada City Assembly election in 2003. The court ruled that this act was in violation of the Public Offices Election Law on the grounds that it includes provisions prohibiting certain documents from being distributed, door-to-door canvassing, and pre-election campaigning. However, the fact was that Oishi was delivering copies of the JCP Supporters’ Association bulletin to JCP association members.

While overlooking flagrant vote-buying by other parties, the authorities carried out this act of repression to silence Mr. Oishi as a local assembly member in favor of residents-first local administration and even tried to strip him of his civil and political rights.

Mr. Oishi, his lawyers, and an association for greater freedom for election campaigns worked hard to increase the movement demanding a fair court trial. The Fukuoka High Court overturned the lower court decision to suspend Mr. Oishi’s civil and political rights. However, he appealed to the Supreme Court because the high court found him guilty, maintaining that the high court conviction reneges on the Constitution that guarantees the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It was unjustifiable that the Supreme Court passed the decision just 55 days after Mr. Oishi submitted a statement explaining why he appealed to the top court. We denounce the Supreme Court for handing down the unjustifiable decision in contravention of its duty as the ‘guardian of the Constitution’ with the right of constitutional review and for failing to apply internationally established norms.

In Japan, freedom relating to election campaigns is overly restricted by a number of extraordinary regulations and rules that are rare in the present-day world. No county other than Japan bans electoral activities using mail and door-to-door visits. Distribution of handbills and posters for elections is also severely restricted.

The JCP is determined to work hard in cooperation with various organizations to heighten the public awareness of the need to end the extraordinary restrictions on the freedom of speech in elections.

We will continue to do our utmost with the conviction that justice is on our side, as confirmed by Mr. Oishi’s reelection in the February 2007 city assembly election.”
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