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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 23 - 2021 January 5  > Shii in New Year address: Let’s make 2021 a year of moving beyond COVID crisis and building a new Japan
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2020 December 23 - 2021 January 5 TOP3 [JCP]

Shii in New Year address: Let’s make 2021 a year of moving beyond COVID crisis and building a new Japan

January 5, 2021

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo delivered a speech at the party’s New Year assembly held on January 4 at the JCP head office in Tokyo. Referring to the ongoing pandemic, he stressed the need to make this year a year of overcoming the unprecedented health crisis and building a Japan where everyone can live without anxieties. He pointed out that the next general election will certainly be held this year and added, “In the next general election, let us work hard for the victory of opposition/citizens joint struggles and a major JCP advance in order to deliver a ‘red-card’ verdict to the Prime Minister Suga-led administration and establish a coalition government of opposition parties.”

Regarding the coronavirus crisis, Shii said that as a result of the Suga government’s do-nothing stance and retrograde policies, Japan is in a serious phase, adding that the current crisis is a “man-made disaster” brought by the Suga government. Citing two major problems in the government’s anti-coronavirus measures, he demanded that the government drastically change its stance to properly tackle the pandemic without delay.

As the first problem, Shii pointed to the government’s disregard of science. He said that this stance is reflected in the slow pace of PCR testing as shown in a world ranking for COVID-19 testing relative to population in which Japan ranks 149th. He also criticized the government for not adopting a testing strategy of discovering and protecting asymptomatic carriers. He stressed the need to implement a science-based policy of expanding the “test, trace, protect” strategy.

Secondly, Shii cited the imposition of the “self-help effort” principle on the general public. He said that PM Suga outrageously adopts neoliberal values focusing on individual self-help efforts even in the fight against COVID-19. He said that the JCP will urge the government to implement measures that cover medical institutions’ loss of earnings and to provide additional cash benefits to struggling business owners. He went on to say that along with these measures, the JCP will also demand the continuation and expansion of direct support measures and the distribution of sufficient compensation for coronavirus-caused loss of earnings.

Shii looked back on last year and stressed, “Public demand changed politics.” He said that notably, a growing public call for compensation to accompany business suspensions pushed the government to decide on the provision of direct support and the reduction of class sizes in public elementary schools to a maximum 35 pupils. He said, “Let us fight back the Suga government’s iron-fisted policy of imposing ‘self-help efforts’ on the general public with grassroots solidarity among people.”

This year's general election is crucial. Shii said, "The demise of the Suga government which was inaugurated three and a half months ago is already in sight," adding, "Let us remove this government in the upcoming general election with a victory achieved by concerned citizens and opposition parties working together. The JCP must also make a leap forward in the election so that the government can be replaced with a new government consisting of the present opposition parties."

For the JCP to make major gains in the next general election, Shii emphasized the need to focus on campaign activities before the election in order to win 8.5 million votes or more than 15% of total votes in the proportional representation blocs, and called on all party members to firmly resolve to ensure the success of the "special campaign period to talk with ten million voters and increase the party membership as well as the number of Akahata subscribers".

Preparing for the upcoming general election, the JCP released "5-point proposals on new government policies". Shii said that the 5-point proposals are different from what the party had issued in past general elections. The past ones were the policies the JCP will work to realize as an opposition party. The 5-point proposals this time form the basis of a "manifesto" by a new government of opposition parties after the replacement of the LDP/Komei government. Shii said that the party envisions a new Japan based on lessons learned from the experience of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a new regime which will wipe out all the negative legacies of the Abe and Suga governments and will drastically reform the old policies. He stressed that the 5-point proposals are a compilation of public demands coming from the nationwide experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the Abe/Suga governments.

In addition, Shii called on all members to talk about the JCP's allure by making the full use of the revised party Program. Referring to the New Year interview with Doshisha University Professor Okano Yayo, he recalled, "In this interview, I was excited to feel anew that the movement toward establishing gender equality is compatible with socialism," and said, "Let us take advantage of the revised Program to inform the public of the future society the JCP aspires to build with the ultimate goal of establishing socialism and communism!"

Shii then reported on the achievements so far in the "special campaign period". As an example, Shii quoted a 26-year-old new JCP member as saying, "I am amazed. What the Program calls for is totally consistent with what I support." Shii also reported that recruitment of Akahata attracted more than 50 applicants and around 20 of them are expected to work for Akahata, which exceeds the initial target. He said, "These experiences are vividly reflecting forward-looking changes in the situation and in public awareness as discussed in the JCP 2nd CC Plenum."

Shii in conclusion said, "This year marks the 99th anniversary of the JCP founding. By fully utilizing all the conditions for a JCP advance, let us make the 'special campaign period' a success! Let us work hard together to make 2021 a memorable year in JCP history by achieving a JCP advance and forming a coalition government of opposition parties!"

Past related article
> JCP 2nd CC Plenum sets ‘special campaign period’ to create a stronger party before general election [December 16, 2020]
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