Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 August 29 - September 4  > JCP Shii on new Abe cabinet and upcoming extraordinary Diet session
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2007 August 29 - September 4 TOP3 [POLITICS]

JCP Shii on new Abe cabinet and upcoming extraordinary Diet session

August 29, 2007
“Voters expressed their rejection of the LDP-Komei government. The next question is what kind of Japan they will call for. In the Diet deliberations, we will put forward our vision for remaking Japan,” said JCP Chair Shii.

In an interview aired on August 28 on the communication satellite TV Asahi Newstar, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo talked about the reshuffled Abe cabinet and the extraordinary Diet session to be convened in September.

New Abe Cabinet

Q: How do you feel about the reshuffled cabinet?

Shii: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo says that this is a radical reshuffle in the cabinet, but there is no impression that the cabinet has changed at all because the prime minister remains in power. Since the very person who must be replaced appointed those cabinet ministers, the lineup neither shows freshness nor generates any expectations.

My overall impression is that the prime minister has chosen hawks advocating constitutional revision.

We called the first Abe cabinet as the “pro-Yasukuni forces” cabinet because the overwhelming majority of the cabinet members share with Yasukuni Shrine the view that Japan’s past wars were just wars.

The new cabinet also can be basically characterized as pro-constitutional revision forces, hawks, and pro-Yasukuni. Of the 18 ministers, including the prime minister, 12 are pro-Yasukuni forces, who belong to the Japan Conference related parliamentary groups.

I would also like to point out that the prime minister reappointed Mr. Ibuki Bunmei as Education Minister who has failed to answer questions about his office expenses in defiance of the strong public criticism against political corruption. Retaining such a person in the cabinet amounts to a direct challenge to the verdict against corruption delivered in the recent House of Councilors election.

Q: Are you saying that the prime minister should be held responsible for this?

Shii: I think voters in the election expressed their rejection of the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties-government concerning two aspects.

One is the rejection to the “structural reform” policies that have increased poverty and social gaps under the law of the jungle.

The other is the rejection of the Abe cabinet policies of imposing the pro-Yasukuni forces’ ideology and prioritizing constitutional revision under the slogan of “breaking away from the postwar regime” and “constructing a beautiful Japan.”

However, the reshuffled cabinet gives no sign of change. Indeed, Prime Minister Abe himself made clear that there is no chance of changing the course when he said, “The basic policy lines of my government won the support of the public.”

Extension of Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law
– Thorough review of six-year ‘war on terror’ needed

Q: What do you think about the upcoming extraordinary Diet session?

Shii: The ruling block is giving top priority to the extension of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law. It is important to fully review Japan’s assistance for the past six-year “war on terrorism” under this law and put an end to it.

The U.S. resorted to a war of retaliation without making efforts to have the international judiciary and police system search for and capture the terrorists linked to 9/11. From the beginning, this war was in violation of the U.N. Charter.

The Diet has to conduct a thorough review of what this war has brought about in Afghanistan. In the past two or three years, the situation has worsened and the Taliban has made a comeback in the southern area and the border area with Pakistan. In response to this, the U.S.-led multinational forces have carried out military operations that have increased civilian victims. This, in turn, has strengthened the Taliban’s influence, resulting in an escalation of violence.

The number of civilian casualties as well as those among U.S. and British forces is increasing. This shows that wars cannot eradicate terrorism. The Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law is a law to assist such a war. We must carefully review the situation and put an end to this support.

What’s worse, it has been revealed that the Maritime Self-Defense Force is refueling U.S. warships engaged in operations not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq. Since the U.S. Central Command is waging wars both on Iraq and on Afghanistan, Japan’s refueling serves in both wars. It is also important to look into operations that are violating this law.

Best way to eradicate terrorism

Q: The U.S. is demanding the continuation of Japan’s refueling operations.

Shii: The past six years have proved that the U.S. “war on terrorism” is a failure. Wars cannot get rid of terrorism. For terrorism to be eradicated, it is necessary that the international judiciary and police system search for and capture suspects and that the international community, at the same time, makes efforts to eradicate poverty, a causal factor in terrorism. The most important lesson is that only such nonmilitary measures will effectively remove the root-cause of terrorism.

Opinion polls conducted in the U.S. and other countries deploying their forces in Afghanistan show that the majority of the public demands withdrawal because of the failure of military operations. The overwhelming majority of the countries in the world are not taking part in the military operations.

Criticizing Japan-U.S. alliance, the fundamental problem

Shii: In regard to this issue, the JCP will squarely call the Japan-U.S. alliance into question. In the present-day world, is there any nation that attaches such an absolute importance to a military alliance with the U.S.? When military alliances in the world are heading towards dismantlement or are malfunctioning, why should Japan maintain a military alliance setup in which Japan will follow the U.S. anywhere in the world under the slogan of “the U.S.-Japan global alliance?” We will raise this fundamental question in the Diet.

Q: Are there any other issues you intend to take up in the extraordinary Diet session?

Shii: We will bring up the issues that were much discussed in the House of Councilors election. The JCP proposed the “one trillion yen emergency plan for welfare services” in order to defend people’s living conditions. We will strive for the realization of this plan that includes the revocation of the present principle requiring handicapped people to pay for welfare services according to benefits they receive under the law for the promotion of their self-support and the cancellation of cutbacks in the allowance for mother-child families scheduled for the next year.

Putting forward JCP’s vision for real reform rectifying ‘three aberrations’

Shii: At the same time, we will try to have the Diet discuss key issues in Japanese politics by putting forward the JCP’s vision for remaking Japan.

We have pointed out that the government stance is fundamentally marred by “three aberrations.”

One is the justification of Japan’s past war of aggression reflected in the various issues, including the denial of wartime sex slavery and textbooks distorting historical facts.

Two, the government is abnormally subordinated to the U.S. by giving absolute priority to the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Three, can we accept an economic policy in which ruling circles and large corporations have their way? Take taxation issues, for example. Is it OK to leave the excessive tax cuts for large corporations and wealthy people as they are?

The public needs real reform to rectify these three aberrations. In the House of Councilors election, voters expressed their rejection of the LDP-Komei government. The next question is what kind of Japan they will call for. In the Diet deliberations, we will bring up this fundamental question and put forward our vision for remaking Japan.

It is only the JCP that can wholeheartedly call for the rectification of the three aberrations. There is no way out of the political stalemate unless Japan carries out such reforms that will rectify the three aberrations. I believe that the opportunity will arise out of necessity for public demands and JCP policies to come together, if we make an all-out effort to raise public consciousness.
- Akahata, August 29, 2007
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved