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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 June 8 - 14  > 4 parties and Civil Alliance confirm many policies in common in addition to scrapping war laws
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2016 June 8 - 14 TOP3 [POLITICS]

4 parties and Civil Alliance confirm many policies in common in addition to scrapping war laws

June 8, 2016
The Japanese Communist Party and three other opposition parties on June 7 confirmed their efforts not only to scrap the war legislation and restore constitutionalism but also to promote a fair, sustainable society and economy so as to meet various requests made by the Civil Alliance which consists of a broad range of private groups.

After confirming policies in common other than the former two, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo shook hands firmly with Democratic Party leader Okada Katsuya, Social Democratic Party secretary general Mataichi Seiji, People’s Life Party head Ozawa Ichiro, and leaders of the Civil Alliance representing Shimin Rengo.

Citizens’ requests include a fair redistribution of income and wealth, improvements in working conditions; an increase in minimum wages, opposition to the multilateral free-trade deal (TPP), cancellation of the Henoko base plan, and promotion of regional renewable energy sources and breaking away with nuclear power generation.

Following the 5-party meeting, a question-and-answer session took place with reporters. The gist of the Qs and As is as follows:

Question: Mr. Shii, what is the difference between your very first proposal for “a national coalition government” and the proposal now for a coalition of citizens?

Shii: What we proposed is the establishment of “a provisional coalition government” through collaboration aiming to abolish the security legislation and bring back constitutionalism. In regards to other political issues, we have been saying that we will put them aside for the time being, but will keep making efforts to seek common ground as much as possible. At any rate, a change in government is necessary to first and foremost achieve the goal of repealing the war laws and recovering constitutionalism. This has been our proposal.

However, the four opposition parties have not agreed on anything regarding the formation of such a government. So, in the Upper House election campaign, our party will, of course, call on voters for the need of a coalition government composed of opposition parties to accomplish the foremost task, but when it comes to opposition bloc’s joint struggles, I think it is important for our party to fight in concert with the three other opposition parties based on the policies we reached agreement on.

Q: Mr. Okada, does the DP have any particular idea or plan on how to address the issue of the Henoko base in Okinawa? Is there any sense of distance between your party and the JCP in dealing with the Henoko issue?

Okada: Regarding the Henoko base issue, we think that the Abe government is neglecting to squarely face Okinawans and the Okinawa prefectural government. The central government should first establish a modicum of trust with the local residents so that Tokyo and Okinawa can communicate with each other more effectively. We will urge the government to refrain from pushing forward with the Henoko project before attempting to form such a relationship based on trust.

Shii: We see that there are some differences (between the JCP and DP) in our positions concerning the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and the U.S. military base issues. However, both parties are critical of the Abe government forcing Okinawa to accept the Henoko base construction in defiance of strong local opposition. Having heard Okada’s remarks, I became more convinced that the four opposition parties can team up on this common ground. The Citizens’ Alliance also calls for the cancellation of the Henoko base construction project. In order to oppose this project based on the fact that the government continues to ignore the demands of local residents, we can make joint efforts.

In last week’s Okinawa Prefectural Assembly election, pro-Onaga political parties made an advance and obtained a total of 27 seats, which clearly indicates residents’ opposition to the Henoko plan. As a brutal crime by an ex-U.S. marine was committed recently in Okinawa, more and more residents are arguing for the need to remove all U.S. bases from the island prefecture. The JCP’s position is that the planned new base in Henoko is totally unacceptable. The four opposition parties can work together on the issue I just mentioned.

Q: Concerning next month’s Upper House election, do the four opposition parties set their common goal at preventing proponents of constitutional revisionists from gaining a two-thirds majority in the House?

Okada: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has said that he will try to win a decisive victory in the election so that two-thirds of the Diet seats will be occupied by those who advocate constitutional changes. Given the LDP’s landslide victory in the previous Upper House election, the possibility of Abe’s attainment of a two-thirds majority cannot be dismissed. But we can never let that happen. To block the two-thirds majority of revisionists is important but is by no means our primary goal.

Shii: Of course we will strive to foil Abe’s attempt to win a two-thirds majority. In the February 19 meeting, the leaders of the four opposition parties—five parties at that time—agreed to drive the ruling parties and their supplementary forces into a minority position in the Diet through national elections. So, we will try to achieve this goal in the upcoming Upper House election.

Past related articles:
> Electoral cooperation to repeal war legislation agreed upon among opposition parties [February 20, 2016]
> Block Abe’s attempt at actual revision of the pacifist Constitution [January 14, 2016]
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