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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 April 24 - May 7  > Ogata speaks at French Communist Party-hosted peace conference
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2024 April 24 - May 7 [JCP]

Ogata speaks at French Communist Party-hosted peace conference

May 6, 2024

Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Ogata Yasuo, who is also in charge of the JCP International Commission, on May 4 took part in the French Communist Party (PCF)-hosted peace conference which was held at the PCF head office in Paris with the attendance of 200 people, including experts and foreign delegates from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Ogata spoke in a session covering the theme: No war and compliance with international law. He explained the JCP proposal for peacebuilding in East Asia and called on communist parties and progressive forces in the world to advance a transcontinental solidarity.

Following is the full text of Ogata’s speech:

I would like to thank the PCF for having us today and hosting this timely international conference.

One of the urgent issues of our times has always been the struggle for peace, and peace has never been more urgent than today. The threats to peace and justice are becoming ever more acute around the world.

First, Israel's campaign of genocide in Gaza is so horrendous that we cannot stand idly by and allow humanitarian response to fail. Israel's genocidal acts are being conducted with the full support of the US Biden Administration.

I call for a greater mobilization of international solidarity to put an end to the Israeli aggression and the American support which enables it to continue.

I emphasize that the path to a fundamental resolution of the issue lies in Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, in the realization of the right to national self-determination, including the creation of an independent Palestinian state and in mutual recognition of both sides' right to exist.

Second, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has taken a heavy human toll in both countries for over the past two years. The war is having profound consequences worldwide, notably on the economic situation around the world concerning the availability of food, energy, and needed attention to deal with the climate crises.

The UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions four times to condemn Russia for violating the UN Charter and call for the restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, with 70% of member states in favor.

In Europe, the expansion of NATO to cover all of Europe seems to be underway with the militarization of the EU, making maximum use of the impact of the war and the threat of Russia.

In Japan, the Kishida Administration has repeatedly proclaimed the mantra; “Today's Ukraine is tomorrow's East Asia.” By stirring up the fear and threat of China, North Korea, and Russia to extremes, Japan is now doubling military spending to 2% of GDP as well as acquiring the capability to attack enemy bases abroad.

Recently, Prime Minister Kishida met President Biden in Washington, and the two countries have agreed to strengthen the Japan-U.S. military alliance, in particular de facto placing the Japanese Self-Defense Forces under the command of the U.S. military and affirmed that Japan would fight together as a “global partner” with the United States.

This implies that the transatlantic NATO and the trans-pacific bilateral military alliances such as the Japan-US alliance are set to be integrated, with the US assuming command and control.

As you know, Japan's Constitution states that Japan will not maintain offensive military forces and renounces war. Our party is adamantly opposed to the massive military build-up that violates Japan's Constitution and continues to struggle against the full integration of the Japanese and American militaries, and we are proposing a diplomatic path to address the situation instead of adopting military measures.

The issue of Russia's invasion of Ukraine should be resolved in accordance with the UN Charter. What prevents the world from uniting to accomplish this is the US attempt to divide the world according to the US arbitrary “democracy versus autocracy” strategy, and their rampant “double standard” diplomacy in which the US condemns Russia’s aggression as a violation of the UN Charter while it supports Israel’s inhumane attack on Gaza, which is also in gross violation of the UN Charter.

What we need to do today is to rebuild and strengthen the international order based on the United Nations Charter. Hegemony by any country that violates this order must be defeated in the cause of peace. This refers to the United States, Russia and its regional version, Israel.

The banner of world peace now should be the defending of the United Nations Charter. In the past war of aggression against Vietnam, the slogan was to oppose US imperialism as an aggressor. But in response to the preemptive attack by the United States on Iraq at the turn of the century, the shared commitment to "uphold the UN Charter" led to widespread international solidarity against the invasion.

At that time, as a member of our party delegation, I visited several nations, including Middle Eastern countries, pro-American countries like Pakistan, and ASEAN countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. We met with representatives of their respective governments, and everywhere we found solid agreement in opposing aggression which violated the UN Charter.

Europe has the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), now half a century old, which has forged agreements in many areas such as peace and human rights in an inclusive framework to prevent war and conflict. This system, however, did not work effectively due to the presence of the NATO military alliance, and thus allowed the war we are facing in Ukraine to occur. This fact is a hard lesson for today’s East Asia.

North-east Asia, which lacks a framework for dialogue, has become the main arena for confrontation and growing tensions between the USA and China, adding to existing regional conflicts. Last month, our party published a "Proposal for Peace Creation in East Asia", based on our determination to “never allow a war to break out in Asia.”

The main point of the proposal is the recommendation to use the already existing framework of the East Asia Summit (EAS) organized by ASEAN, which reinforces the effectiveness of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), which stipulates the non-use of force and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Eighteen countries participate in the EAS, including the ten ASEAN countries and the outside partners: Japan, China, South Korea, India, the United States, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. All participating states are committed to the TAC rules, utilizing the EAS as a framework that contributes to regional peace. Our party's proposal is therefore to develop the existing and functional peace framework of inclusive dialogue and cooperation offered by the EAS.

At the same time, our party takes up a series of challenges relating to Northeast Asia which we Japanese belong to. These include a positive breakthrough in Japan-China relations, a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question, a diplomatic resolution on the issues on the Korean peninsula through dialogue, and Japan's task of overcoming its own negative legacy of its wars of aggression and colonial rule against Asia in the past.

Today, despite the grave conflicts and the gloomy situation attracting the attention of citizens, our party views the world in the long term and from the perspective of structural changes taking place in the world, where the collapse of colonial regimes in the 20th century drastically changed the world in the direction of working for peace and social progress. We see the world of the 21st century as an era in which only a handful of great powers control the world has come to an end, and that all the countries of the world are protagonists in world politics with equal status, and that each of them becomes a player on the international stage. This is a world of the G193 to come.

We also see with optimism and hope that we live in an era where civil society can play a major role as an active player in international politics. This is illustrated by the fact that civil society and a series of governments worked together to bring the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) into force.

Moreover, from a broader perspective, we are witnessing a time of intensifying contradictions in global capitalism with the gap widening between rich and poor, and simultaneously of growing interest in a future socialist society that overcomes capitalism.

Today, as the ruling powers of the West strengthen their networks of military, political and economic domination, it is a matter of supreme imperative for the world's communist and progressive parties to reinforce solidarity and cooperation in the task of working for peace. It is extremely important that the PCF has raised the question of “new forms of cooperation liberated from hegemonic logics” for this meeting.

Our party opposes any form of hegemony, while defending a peaceful order based on the United Nations Charter. We oppose the expansion of military blocs, including NATO, which is quite the opposite to the order we seek to realize. Indeed, next year marks the 80th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it is imperative that we make progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. The climate crisis and gender equality are also critical issues tied to cooperation to achieve peace.

From the podium of the European Left Party Congress in Vienna in December 2022, I called for the advancement of a common struggle and transcontinental solidarity, east and west of the Eurasian continent. Here in Paris, I once again call for the advancement of the struggle for global solidarity.

Thank you very much for your attention.
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