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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 September 19 - 25  > LDP’s presidential election shows its political degeneration: JCP Shii
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2007 September 19 - 25 TOP3 [POLITICS]

LDP’s presidential election shows its political degeneration: JCP Shii

September 21, 2007
“The JCP is strongly opposed to Japan’s continued assistance to the retaliatory war in Afghanistan primarily because waging a retaliatory war in dealing with terrorism is fundamentally wrong,” said Shii.

“The JCP is strongly opposed to Japan’s continued assistance to the retaliatory war in Afghanistan primarily because waging a retaliatory war in dealing with terrorism is fundamentally wrong,” said Shii.

Following are remarks that Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo made in answer to questions at a press conference on September 20:

On UNSC resolution and assistance in U.S.-led retaliatory war

Q: What do you think about the U.N. Security Council resolution adopted on September 19 that expressed “appreciation” for Operation Enduring Freedom’s maritime interdiction in which Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force is taking part.

Shii: You refer to the UNSC resolution that extended the mission of the International Security Assistance Force deployed to Afghanistan, in which the word, “appreciation” for the U.S.-led OEF, a retaliatory war, was inserted. No one can claim that by inserting one word into a nonbinding part of a resolution, the U.N. has mandated that the U.S. and other countries wage the retaliatory war. The Japanese government reportedly made considerable efforts to have the word inserted into the resolution. This is nothing but a disgraceful trick of deception.

The U.N. Security Council is the body that should work for peace and stability in international society. The Japanese government tried to bring in party politics to the U.N. body to keep the Liberal Democratic Party government alive, a shameful act that must be denounced by the international community. Russia abstained from voting on the resolution, expressing its strong dissatisfaction by stating, “A decision was made to give priority to domestic considerations of some members of the United Nations. But we believe our main responsibility is to the Security Council.” While casting a vote in favor, China stated, “We hope that the planning behind the resolution that was adopted today will not set a precedent.” I think these opinions are reasonable.

The Japanese government has done nothing to have the U.N. Security Council defend the U.N. Charter concerning the Afghan war and Iraq war. It is outrageous for such a government to zealously try to use the U.N. body for its own interest.

Q: Does this U.N. resolution affect JCP policy?

Shii: The JCP is strongly opposed to Japan’s continued assistance to the retaliatory war primarily because waging a retaliatory war in dealing with terrorism is fundamentally wrong. Our position has been corroborated by the worsening situation in Afghanistan over the past six years. War cannot eradicate terrorism. It is impossible to deny this fact by manipulating U.N. resolutions. Based on this position, the JCP is calling for a halt to assistance to the war.

The other reason for us to oppose Japan’s operation is that it goes against the Constitution. Whether or not there are U.N. mandates, Japan’s participation in assisting use of force abroad goes against the Constitution, and is thus unacceptable.

This U.N. Security Council resolution, therefore, will not affect the JCP policy.

LDP’s presidential election shows its degeneration

Q: What is your impression about the LDP presidential election?

Shii: I would say this election shows the extent to which the LDP has degenerated.

First of all, they have no reflection on their state of affairs. Since the voters delivered such a severe verdict in the recent House of Councilors election, the LDP needs to seriously reflect on the judgment. But the two candidates in the LDP presidential election have neither reflection nor an ear for the judgment of the public. They have no reflection over the post-election political developments in which the whole of the LDP supported Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s remaining in office. The prime minister in an unprecedented manner then abandoned his power, and the LDP election is wasting time while the Diet is in session, causing enormous damage to the public. None of the LDP members expresses their reflection on this situation, showing their surprising degeneration.

I must add that the election shows that the LDP has no alternatives to its present policies. There is no difference between the two candidates in that they are committed to continue the “structural reform” and “neoliberal” policies that have increased poverty and social gaps and in that they are calling for continued deployment of the Self-Defense Forces to the Indian Ocean and Iraq at the beck of the U.S. There may be some differences in their tactics, but their policies are same. The fact that the LDP has no alternatives to its current policies sheds light on the LDP’s political degeneration.

In the past, the LDP attempted to keep its government alive by presenting options, in economic policies, for example. When the Hashimoto government plunged Japan’s economy into a severe recession by shifting heavier burdens onto the public and cutting back welfare services based on the “structural reform” policy line in the late 1990s, the Obuchi cabinet that replaced the Hashimoto cabinet made some “adjustments” with tax cuts and a major increase in public works projects. Roughly speaking, the Nakasone cabinet in the 1980s and successive LDP governments switched between Keynesian policies and neoliberal policies or adopted both in an attempt to stay in existence. Today, however, the LDP has no other policy option than the collapsing neoliberal “structural reform” policy line that has increased poverty and social gaps and will only lead to an impasse.

With regard to relations with the U.S., even disregarding the rights and obligations set out in the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the LDP government is willing to support U.S. wars anywhere in the world under the “U.S.-Japan global alliance.” But elsewhere these policies have resulted in failure. Here, too, the LDP has lost political prudence and options.

Whoever is appointed as prime minister, his stance will be called into question towards the negative inheritance from the pro-Yasukuni Koizumi and Abe governments such as prime minister’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine, the wartime sex slavery issue, and the text screening policy of denying the historical facts about Okinawans’ wartime “mass suicides.”

Whoever becomes the prime minister, the next LDP government will face a political impasse and will be forced to hold a general election. While making every effort to force it to hold a general election, the JCP will put forward a new policy framework to replace the LDP-Komei Party government policies.

JCP’s policy on Diet election to nominate prime minister

Q: The JCP decided to support Democratic Party President Ozawa Ichiro in a runoff in the election to nominate the prime minister scheduled for September 25. In 1998, the JCP voted for then DPJ President Kan Naoto in the first round of elections. Do you think your past stance was wrong?

Shii: Today’s DPJ is different from that in the past. At that time, the DPJ advocated neither constitutional revision nor consumption tax hikes. I think it was appropriate to take such a stance in 1998. Today, however, there are wide differences in policy line between the JCP and the DPJ.

So, in this prime minister’s nomination election, the JCP will vote for the JCP representative in the first round election in the House of Councilors. The nomination of prime minister concerns cooperation in forming the government, and at present there is no condition to offer the DPJ such cooperation. Under the circumstances, we will take our own stance.

At the same time, in case of a runoff, the JCP will vote for the DPJ representative in the House of Councilors in order to express our stance against the ruling LDP-Komei Party. In the recent election, voters delivered an overwhelming verdict against the LDP-Komei Party policies. Taking this public judgment into consideration, the JCP has adopted this stance.

On the new JCP general election policy

Q: The JCP Fifth Central Committee Plenum decided to change its policy of running a JCP candidate in every single-seat constituency. Does this change imply the JCP’s willingness to cooperate with the DPJ?

Shii: Absolutely not. The reason that the Fifth CC Plenum reviewed the JCP policy of attempting to put up JCP candidates in all single-seat constituencies and decided to field JCP candidates in certain constituencies is that we have to effectively and positively make use of the JCP’s ability in order to increase the JCP votes and seats in the proportional representation election based on a realistic judgment of our present capabilities.

We adopted this policy independent of the political situation or the DPJ. Our policies on cooperation with opposition parties in the Diet as well as on the prime minister’s nomination election also have nothing to do with the new general election policy.

Q: Has the JCP been approached by the DPJ concerning this question?

Shii: No.
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