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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 March 30 - April 5  > Yamashita to high school students: power of youth can change politics
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2016 March 30 - April 5 TOP3 [JCP]

Yamashita to high school students: power of youth can change politics

March 30, 2016
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Yamashita Yoshiki, speaking to about 100 high school students visiting the Diet building on March 29, said, “When young people rise up and make a move, government might change.”

Yamashita had the chance to talk to the young audience at an event hosted by an NPO consisting of high school students. The invited guests to this event were representatives of ruling and opposition parties, including Yamashita.

He started his speech with a self-introduction outlining his personal history and his reasons for participation in the communist party. He said, “At age 18, you will have the right to vote. You will literally become the main players in this country’s national politics. I want to ask you to look at things with your own eyes, think for yourself, and act for yourself.”

Regarding the issue of nuclear power generation in Japan, he referred to the “unique risks” of nuclear accidents and cited Germany’s decision to break away from nuclear energy after the Fukushima nuclear crisis. He said, “We experienced the 3/11 disaster -related nuclear accident. Please, think carefully which direction Japan should take, the path to keep relying on nuclear energy by reactivating nuclear reactors or a path to do away with nuclear power plants and promote renewable sources of energy like Germany.”

He moved on to the problem of excessively high tuition fees in Japan. He explained, “Many European nations provide free education for everyone from the primary through the tertiary levels. Young people go to school to acquire skills or knowledge, which will in turn benefit society. For this reason, those countries have free education systems.” He called on the young people to decide for themselves if Japan should turn away from its “beneficiary-pays principle”, which is an example of Japan lagging behind the rest of the world.

Commenting on the national security legislation coming into effect on this day, Yamashita said, “The ‘right to collective self-defense’ includes the word ‘self-defense’. But, it will actually enable Japan, even when it is not under attack, to go anywhere in the world and use armed force to assist in U.S.-led wars.”

He went on to say, “Are you okay with the idea of Japan turning into a county capable of killing young people and children or having SDF personnel be killed in other countries? Many high school students are taking part in rallies and demonstrations nationwide, calling for the revocation of the security legislation. Our party hopes that we can work together with as many young people as possible to abolish this legislation.”

Past related articles:
> High school students call for joining in demos to repeal war legislation [January 23, 2016]
> High school students in Tokyo and Osaka hold demos calling for abolishing war laws [December 20, 2015]
> High school students request Dietmembers to kill war bills [August 29, 2015]
> 5,000 high school students parade in Shibuya to oppose PM’s war bills [August 3, 2015]
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