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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 December 7 - 13  > Ogata speaks at the European Left’s Congress
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2022 December 7 - 13 TOP3 [JCP]

Ogata speaks at the European Left’s Congress

December 11 & 13, 2022

A delegation of the Japanese Communist Party led by its Vice Chair Ogata Yasuo took part in a congress of the Party of the European Left held in Austria’s Vienna on December 9-11.

In the discussion session on the second day of the three-day congress, Ogata delivered a speech as a guest.

Ogata in his speech called for strengthening solidarity and collaboration on common issues among left-wing and progressive parties working in the developed capitalist countries of Japan and Europe. In particular, Ogata stressed that under the current situation, it is necessary to work together to protect people’s livelihoods and oppose each government’s moves to expand military alliances and increase military budgets.

During the congress, the JCP delegation held talks with Spanish leftist and European Parliament member Sira Abed Rego, the delegation of the Greek radical left coalition Syriza, and the former head of the UK Labour Party Jeremy Corbin.


The full-text of Ogata’s speech is as follows:

Greetings to the 7th Congress of the Party of the European Left

Vice Chairperson, Executive Committee
Chairperson, International Commission
Japanese Communist Party
Former House of Councilors Member

Dear comrades and friends,

On behalf of the Japanese Communist Party, I send my warmest greetings of friendship and solidarity to the 7th Congress of the European Left Party and to the representatives of the parties participating in the Congress.

The Congress is taking place in the context of war in Europe, the further squeeze on people’s livelihood, the hardships of a global pandemic, and an escalating climate crisis. We hope that the Congress will achieve great success in presenting alternatives and solutions to these and other challenges we face.

Today’s global developments strongly call for solidarity between left-wing as well as progressive forces in Europe and Asia, including Japan.

Last month, I visited six European countries and held talks with European left-wing forces. In the course of these meetings, I was again strongly convinced that although there are differences in the conditions of party activities between Europe and Asia, which are separated by a distance of 10,000 kilometers, left-wing and progressive parties working in developed capitalist countries have indeed many things in common, both in the way we operate and in the challenges we face.

The first is the search for strategies and policies to win majority support of voters through elections under political, economic, social and media conditions that overwhelmingly favor the ruling class. The search for effective counter-proposals for the growing inequality and poverty created under neoliberalism. Fundamentally, it is a search for how to overcome capitalism and present an attractive vision for a future society. I felt keenly the benefit and necessity of sharing our trial and errors, and learning from each other.

In general, I felt a strong solidarity with left-wing parties in developed capitalist countries that are working together on the difficult but grand project with great potential for social change with the support of a large number of people.


The ongoing war in Europe calls on us, European and Japanese leftists to unite. The Japanese Communist Party strongly condemns the war of aggression in Ukraine by Russia in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law. This is due to Russia’s traditional great-power chauvinism policy and hegemonism. Russia’s position that neither recognizes Ukraine’s sovereignty nor its territorial integrity is unacceptable.

During my visit to Europe, I heard the term ‘NATO-ization of Europe’, and the expansion of NATO countries’ armaments and military spending continues unabated, making full use of the Russian threat.

On the other hand, the Japanese Prime Minister attended the NATO summit for the first time for Japan to do so this past June and promised to strengthen cooperation with NATO. The Japanese government has also propagated the threat of China and North Korea, and has set a policy of doubling Japan’s military expenditure from 1% of GDP to 2% of GDP within five years. This is in line with NATO’s previously set criteria for membership. In sharp violation of the Japanese Constitution, which stipulates the renunciation of war and the non-possession of military force, Japan will then have the world’s third largest military budget within five years.

With the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance, Japan has become increasingly involved in the Atlantic alliance, leading to what could be described as the ‘NATO-ization of Japan’. At the same time, the U.S. is pressuring NATO to become more involved in the Asia region. Under these circumstances, the U.K. has launched a new military alliance, AUKUS, with the U.S. and Australia, and is taking the lead in military involvement in the Indo-Pacific region by European countries, while ships of European NATO member states such as France and the Netherlands are stepping up their military presence into the Indo-Pacific.

Given the fact that the dominating power in Japan and European countries are today significantly strengthening their networks of military, political, and economic control, there is a strong imperative for the left-wing forces in Japan and Europe to further strengthen their solidarity and cooperation. There has never been a more important time to work together for peace than now.


Both Japan and Europe are facing the rise of right-wing and reactionary forces. Of course, the situations are different, but countering and defeating them is an important challenge, and we have much to learn from each other.

As for Japan, right-wing historical revisionists are rampant in the Liberal Democratic Party-led government and within the LDP itself, glorifying Japan's militarism during the World War II-era which formed the military alliance with Hitler and Mussolini and waged the wars of aggression against Asian countries. They are praising the past wars and colonial rule without any legal restrictions, which may be hard to believe in Europe. And their claims are even more extreme than those of the European far right.

We now have a new task of sharing our experiences and fostering cooperation in confronting far-right forces.


Last month's series of meetings in Europe helped me to see the challenges to be addressed through cooperation between left-wing forces in Japan and Europe.

First is rebuilding and strengthening the order of peace based on the U.N. Charter.

The global struggle for peace always has been and always will be a central issue, and being based on the U.N. Charter and international law is fundamentally important for not only the left, but also the international community as a whole.

Second is opposition to military blocs.

The JCP is opposed to the further expansion of NATO and extraterritorial deployment of its forces as well as the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance. The party opposes any attempts to consolidate military blocs in a crisis. The JCP believes that pursuing an inclusive approach is important instead of resorting to the use of military forces to confront and eliminate enemies.

The ASEAN promotes an inclusive regional initiative for peace and cooperation that embraces all countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Our party supports this effort and is doing its utmost to make Asia a region free of fear of war.

Last month in Turkey, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, to which all political parties in Asian nations take part beyond differences in thoughts and beliefs, held its general assembly and adopted a declaration by consensus which stresses the importance of avoiding bloc politics, emphasized cooperation over competition, and called for dialogue and negotiations as the only way to obtain a resolution of disputes. Amid growing concern over the trend toward bloc politics in the world, this Asian declaration is very meaningful.

Third is the promotion of the elimination of nuclear weapons and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The treaty, which outlaws and stigmatizes nuclear weapons, is now part of international law. The First Meeting of State Parties to the treaty was held here in Vienna and NATO member states of Germany, Netherlands, and Norway took part in it as observers. The government of Japan, the world's only country that suffered atomic bombings, is opposed to the treaty. The JCP is demanding that Japan ratify the treaty, with seven in ten people in Japan supporting it.

Fourth is climate justice.

Global climate change is a very serious problem and its effects are being felt as we witness climate disasters of unprecedented intensity and frequency. Tackling this issue is an urgent challenge for humanity and the planet and it is our responsibility to our children.

Fifth is gender equality.

I'm ashamed to point to the fact that Japan's gender equality index score is the lowest among OECD nations and 116th globally. The JCP proclaims that it is highly and urgently necessary to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, sexual violence, and discrimination based on gender orientation and identity, and create a gender-equal society while learning your experiences.


Here, I would like to propose that we cooperate in opposing the strengthening of military blocs and increases in military spending among other issues left-wing forces in Japan and Europe are dealing with.

What is happening in Japan and Europe is military-to-military responses that could trigger an upward spiral of military spending. Let us recall a postwar international society's resolve to never again engage in a world war and to spend less on arms and more on civil purposes. Militarism further worsens people's livelihoods which are already damaged amid the growing poverty and inequality under neoliberalism policies. I hope that we will consider what we can actually do together under the slogan, "Oppose the strengthening of military blocs and increases in military spending and protect people's livelihoods".

I would like to finish my speech by wishing for a successful Congress and reiterating the call for further cooperation between left-wing forces in Japan and Europe. Thank you for your kind attention.

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