Document: Political Mission of the Japan Communist Party
SNA (Tokyo) — Whereas most Japanese political parties, whether the ruling conservatives or the mainstream opposition, have little in the way of fixed party policies, the Japan Communist Party, the nation’s oldest political party, is different, taking its own platforms seriously.
This is in large part because the mainstream Japanese political parties hardly deserve the name, consisting largely of independent politicians with their own local constituencies and often contrasting views. Party policies are made by the incumbent executives, and when the personnel at the top are reshuffled, so are many of the policy stances.
In contrast, the Japan Communist Party meets every three years to agree on policy stances across a whole host of issues. These policies are the fruit of months of discussions at various local chapters, as well as the consensus of the party’s top leaders in the Central Committee.
The upshot is that reading the Japan Communist Party’s documents is uniquely worthwhile because they actually reflect the party policies. Most other parties hardly even bother to write up their views in detail.
In this context, the Japan Communist Party responded to an earlier request from the Shingetsu News Agency and delivered a full English-language translation of the first resolution of the 28th Congress of the Japan Communist Party. The resolution was passed on January 14 at the event in Atami. The document is lengthy, but is presented here in its entirety. This is meant to be the basic policy of the party for the next three years.
The First Resolution (Political Mission)
On Part One: Two Main Tasks Necessary in Order to Change Japanese Politics: Building a Stronger United Front, and Strengthening the JCP.
(ⅰ) Achievement of the Joint Struggle between Opposition Parties and Concerned Citizens, and the Challenge of Achieving a JCP Advance while Promoting the Joint Struggle.
A new era of Japanese politics has arrived, where the joint struggle of concerned citizens and opposition parties will encounter the Liberal Democratic-Komei coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and its supplementary forces, bring an end to the Abe administration, and pave the way for creating a coalition government consisting of opposition parties.
In the 2017 general election that was held after the previous party congress, the party faced a sudden adverse current that attempted to marginalize the joint struggle. However, we overcame that situation and advanced the joint struggle by working together with citizens at the grassroots level nationwide. This result greatly contributed to the further development of the joint struggle of opposition parties in the subsequent Diet session.
In the House of Councillors election in 2019, a united opposition candidate was put up for the election in all the single-seat districts nationwide, and defeated the LDP in 10 of the districts. This was decisive in gaining enough seats so that the pro-constitutional revisionist LDP, Komei Party, and Nippon Ishin no Kai could not achieve the two-thirds majority needed to revise the Constitution and the LDP failed to maintain even a solid majority in the Upper House.
Whereas the 2017 general election turned out to be a regrettable setback for the JCP, the 2019 Upper House election allowed the JCP to recoup in terms of the number and share of votes obtained in the proportional representation constituencies, and this gives our party the power to make even more of a gain in the next general election.
It is of utmost importance to our party that the party continue to build on the joint struggles of concerned citizens and opposition parties, and furthermore, for the JCP itself to make further advances. To achieve this, it is necessary to strengthen the continuing activities to increase the number of active supporters of the party and to make efforts to reinforce the party base. This is undeniably the most important task for our party to further enhance these efforts and to energetically pursue party building efforts.
(ⅱ) Let Us Open a Path towards a New Political Era by Strengthening Both the JCP as well as Itself the Joint Struggles of Concerned Citizens and Opposition Parties.
During this congressional session, the JCP will undertake two major tasks related achieving its goals.
One is to make great progress qualitatively regarding the transition into a joint struggle for the attainment of a coalition government consisting of opposition parties arising from the joint struggle of concerned citizens and opposition parties working together, based on the previous four years of progress we have made.
The other is to realize the party’s political goal of winning “8.5 million votes or over 15% of total votes” in the upcoming general election and achieve a major JCP advance.
Achieving a major JCP advance in both national and local elections is a definitive guarantee towards the strengthening of the joint struggle, and realization of a coalition government consisting of opposition parties.
At the same time, the advancement of the party will potentially be the greatest force to realize the democratic reforms laid out in the JCP Program and address the political distortions we see in Japan today.
We shall tackle both challenges, the development of the joint struggle and advancement of the JCP at once. In particular, it is our responsibility to the public of Japan that we strengthen our party under any circumstances.
Let us get our party’s collective act together, and open a path towards achieving a major JCP advance.
On Part Two: Put an end to the Abe administration, the worst since the end of the War, and realize a coalition government comprised with opposition parties.
Defeat the Abe administration, the worst in postwar history, which continues to adversely affect Japanese society and start new era in politics
Regarding the Constitution and peace, quality of life and the economy, democracy and human rights, and other fields, the Abe administration over the past seven years has committed the gravest forms of tyranny that no other cabinet has ever done. We cannot let this tyranny continue.
(ⅰ) Violating the Constitution and Constitutionalism – The Runaway Politics Leading us to Become a “War-Waging Nation”
The Abe administration allowed the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense with merely a cabinet decision, which Japan’s successive administrations have considered “unconstitutional” for the previous 70 years (July 2014). Thereafter, they forced through the passage of the national security legislation, or the so-called War Laws (September 2015). This is in essence a “coup d’état against the Constitution.”
Under the current political situation with constitutionalism being weakened, there are no checks and balances against the government, and thus, their runaway politics akin to mob rule has flourished. The forced enactment of laws such as the Designated Secrets Law (2013), the expansion of the Wiretapping Law (2016), and the conspiracy laws (revising parts of the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds, 2017), have accelerated the move to infringe on people’s freedom and rights, and turn Japan into an authoritarian surveillance state.
The transformation of Japan into a “war-waging nation” is ongoing, fueled by the transition of the US-Japan Security Agreements into a greater global military alliance to engage in battle on the global stage under the new US-Japan Guidelines (2015) and national security legislation, the so-called war laws.
The “National Defense Program Guidelines” and the “Medium Term Defense Program” which the Abe cabinet approved in December 2018 effectively strengthens the US-Japanese military alliance, and further, states that Japan must “strengthen its defense capability at speeds that are fundamentally different from the past.” In the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year (2020), military expenditure increased for the eighth straight year, reaching a record high of 5.3 trillion yen. In particular, the conversion of the Izumo escort ship to an aircraft carrier capable of handling the latest fighter, the F35B, and the introduction of long-range cruise missiles to acquire the ability to attack enemy bases show that the current administration is willing to disregard the “exclusively defense-oriented policy” that its predecessors had set forth, and transform the Self-Defense Forces into a military that can be used to fight in foreign wars.
The Abe administration’s policy to “create a nation that is able to fight wars” is merely a facet of Abe’s greatest goal: The Revision of Article 9 of the Constitution. In the previous Upper House election, the ruling parties lost the two-thirds majority needed to revise the Constitution. It is clear that the population turned out to polls with a resounding voice stating that they “don’t want to amend the Constitution in such a rushed manner.” Nevertheless, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is obsessed with his goal of “Revising the Constitution by 2020.” By clearly stating the existence of the Self-Defense Forces in Article 9 of the Constitution, the constitutional revision draft by the Liberal Democratic Party will allow the SDF to fight in foreign wars without restriction, and they are waiting patiently for the right time to propose their draft in parliament.
The prime minister, who is obliged to defend and respect the constitution under Article 99 of the Constitution, is weakening the very fabric of our constitutionalism by ignoring the aforementioned Article and pressing forward with his goals despite public opposition.
By amending Article 9 of the Constitution, Japan will inevitably change from a nation that “does not fight and die in foreign wars” into a “nation that proudly in fights foreign wars together, with the United States.” We cannot let this happen.
(ⅱ) Imposing the Worst Postwar Tax Hike, Harming Lives and Economy
The Abe administration implemented large increases in the consumption tax rate twice, without considering the adverse impact on people’s livelihoods and the economy. The 13 trillion yen tax increase was historically the largest of all past LDP administrations, and furthermore, this makes the Abe administration the worst tax-hike administration since the end of World War II.
The increased burden on households, which support nearly 60% of the economy, will be a fatal blow to the Japanese economy, already suffering from a recession and sluggish domestic demand. The consumption tax hike further exacerbates the dire situation facing small and medium-sized businesses that are the mainstay of local economies, while it does not demand a burden on large enterprises with their large internal reserves, with the highest profit rates ever. Poverty and inequality are increasing due to these policies. It must be said that the introduction of the consumption tax with its continuing rate increases is undoubtedly one of the worst economic policies ever.
While the Abe administration claims that the “consumption tax is for social security,” in reality it has negatively affected social security, medical benefits as well as social welfare programs. Over the last seven years, we have seen upwards of 4.3 trillion yen taken from the household economy and reduction of spending for social welfare programs.
The ruling parties state that they will be “raising wages” but in reality, their revisions of the labor laws have destroyed employment safeguards. The rise in prices, including the consumption tax hike, has resulted in a slight increase in wages, while real wages have been reduced by 180,000 yen annually since the start of the second Abe Cabinet.
The massive consumption tax hike, the weakening of our social security system, the destruction of labor protection and lowering of wages taken together clearly show that Abe policies have made life for the majority and the economy of Japan significantly worse during its tenure.
(ⅲ) A Diplomatic Policy Based on Following Major Powers and Saying Nothing about Hegemonism
The Abe Diplomacy proclaims a “diplomacy with a panoramic view” but in reality, his policy is to follow the lead of international major powers, and say nothing about hegemonism, a form of subordinate diplomacy.
Prime Minister Abe’s “agree-to-all” stance vis-a-vis President Trump stands out as a stark example. Compared to past LDP administrations, their “agree-to-all” policy regarding issues such as siding with the US military regarding constitutional matters, massive purchases of US military weapons and weapons systems, and the abandonment of food and economic sovereignty in US-Japan trade negotiations show how much the Abe administration has tried to side with US policies, almost to the degree of being a vassal state. This situation is extraordinarily outrageous compared to other past LDP governments.
In the territorial negotiations with Russia, the Abe administration abandoned the policy of “four island return” that predecessor governments had been striving for, and put out a de facto “two island return” settlement. This change of course has been a detriment to our national interests. Originally, the LDP’s position regarding Russo-Japanese territorial negotiations have not redressed the violation of the principle of “territorial non-expansion” which is a lesson stemming from the end of World War II, but Abe’s Russia policies have exacerbated this weakness and contradiction further.
In regards to the government’s China policy, at the Japan-China summit meeting last year, both countries agreed that they have returned to a “normal development trajectory”. However, border issues with Chinese fleet incursions into the territorial waters around Senkaku Islands have become increasingly frequent, and that has become a new normal. Even with the issues stated above, the Abe administration has not protested nor asked for China to correct its behavior. On the other hand, cabinet members’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine have continued, leading to criticism from both home and abroad. Thus, it must emphasized that a true friendship between Japan and China can be established only by taking a sincere attitude toward historical issues and being able to say “no” when there is a need to do so.
(ⅳ) Historical Revisionism that Beautifies the War of Aggression and Promotes Ethno-Exclusionism
The Abe Administration has disregarded previous statements made by former LDP administrations, pursued its own distorted form of historical revisionism, and beautifies the war of aggression and colonization of other countries.
This was exemplified by the “Abe Statement of the 70th anniversary of the End of the War” released in August 2015. This statement effectively throws out any reflections on “colonial rule and aggression” as expressed in the 1995 “Murayama Statement,” and instead incorporates statements praising the Russo-Japanese War and its consequences leading to the colonial expansion into the Korean Peninsula.
The ever-strengthening bond between the cabinet and the right-wing revisionist organization, Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference) explains this policy shift. Of the twenty cabinet members of the fourth Abe cabinet, twelve are officers in the “Nippon Kaigi Diet Member Council,” an organization known to be an integral component “Nippon Kaigi.”
One of the primary factors of the historically deteriorated state of Japan-Korea relations is that the Abe administration has refused to reflect on the instances of colonial oppression such as the “forced labor” and the “Comfort Women” issues. They continue to ignore Japan’s obligation to restore the honor and dignity of the victims.
(v) Political Moral Deterioration through Authoritarianism, Lies, and Collusion to Deceit
The Abe administration’s political stance is characterized by its authoritarian traits, lies and collusion.
Pushing through bills against the will of the majority of the public has become a vicious practice under the Abe administration. They refuse to talk with Okinawa authorities, and ignore legal constraints in order to go ahead with the construction of the US military installation at Henoko. These acts obviously are violations of local autonomy and democracy, and an affront to the dignity of Okinawans.
This authoritarian regime is full of lies and falsehoods. There was never a cabinet that so rampantly hid data and conducted falsification of accounting records as this current administration. In a sense, all this bureaucratic falsifications and misinformation in official documentation started since Abe’s Moritomo-Kake scandal.
It is also extremely detrimental to Japan’s democracy that the Abe administration has intervened both directly and indirectly in what is reported in the mainstream media, infringing upon the freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
Additionally, we cannot overlook the fact that the government weakened academic freedoms and freedom of expression by expanding the military-academia cooperation bond, as well as by its encroachment upon the art world and society in general.
Under these circumstances, our joint struggle led by high school students and citizens along with the opposition parties was able to force the government to give up on its planned scheduled introduction of privately administered English examinations and portions of Japanese language and math exams in university entrance examinations. It is necessary to review the fundamentals of “reforming entrance examinations,” a policy of the Education Rebuilding Implementation Council which ignores the voices of professionals in education.
Because of the revision of the Basic Act on Education, “Competition and Management” in education has become more prevalent, which has led to an increase of human rights abuses of both students and teachers, including oppressive school policies, corporal punishment, and power harassment at work.
Under these pretexts, the Abe administration is under writing the moral collapse of Japanese society. In order to protect the prime minister, and to acquiesce to government demands, bureaucrats hide and revise matters inconvenient to the administration when necessary and give false statements in Diet. These lies and falsehoods in politics need to be put to a stop.
(ⅵ) The “Japan Innovation Party” – the Worst Supplementary Force of the Abe Administration
The Japan Innovation Party (JIP) vigorously supports the Abe administration’s runaway politicking.
The “JIP” acts as an “assault corps” that serves as one of the leading forces of Abe’s attempts to revise the Constitution, and has been active in attacking the opposition parties. They also play a role in pressing forward with the second attempt to hold a referendum on the “Osaka Metropolitan” scheme to terminate and divide the city of Osaka and to lifting of the ban on casinos and their introduction into Japan. It is also the JIP’s doing that the national health insurance premium (tax) has been continuously and significantly raised in Osaka. Raising of the cost to have access to decent healthcare has become serious issue across the nation. The JIP is the worst “group of foot soldiers” of the Abe administration, wearing the mask of “reformer,” but in essence close accomplices of the Abe administration.
With the Abe administration in power now for seven years, Japan’s constitutional pacifism, constitutionalism, and democracy are in crisis. The Japanese economy and people’s lives, along with Japan’s diplomacy face serious difficulties. In order to effectively deal with this crisis, there is an urgent need to overcome the political quagmire by uniting the opposition parties, drive the LDP-Komei and other supporting parties out of the Diet, defeat the Abe administration, and build a new coalition government comprised of opposition parties.
(2) Challenges Faced by the Joint Struggle of Citizens and Opposition Parties – We Need to Come to a Positive Agreement Regarding Establishing a Coalition Government
(ⅰ) How Far the Joint Struggle of Citizens and Opposition Parties Has Come – What We Have Achieved in Our Four Years of Joint Struggles.
The 27th Party Congress set forth three criteria for the joint struggle of citizens and opposition parties – (1) Reach agreement on a united forward-looking manifesto, (2) Realize mutual nomination and support of joint candidates through united struggles, and (3) Reach agreement regarding the future course of the opposition parties’ coalition government. Over the last three years, the joint struggle of citizens and opposition parties have made great achievements in the following ways, despite various difficulties and twists.
First, the joint struggle in single-seat districts has greatly advanced to a mutual struggle that supports one another. In the House of Councillors election in 2016, the only electoral district in which the candidate that our party had nominated as the joint candidate with the opposition parties was in Kagawa Prefecture. However, this grew to three districts in five prefectures in 2019, fielding candidates in Tokushima/Kochi, Tottori/Shimane, and Fukui.
In many parts of the country, it has become a familiar scene for diet members from various opposition parties to support candidates mutually, hand in hand with concerned citizens.
Secondly, the joint struggle has expanded from single-seat districts to multi-seat districts, and this has directly led to the advancement of the JCP. In multi-seat districts, many non-partisan citizens and conservatives have supported all of our party candidates in joint struggles across the nation.
Third, policy agreements between the opposition parties have expanded. On affirming the Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism (hereinafter referred to as the “Civil Alliance”) and “13 Common Policies”, the five opposition parties and groups have agreed to work on issues such as the national security legislation, constitutionalism, consumption tax, the US military bases in Okinawa, nuclear power plants, and various other pressing issues as primary focuses in national elections. This development in regard to having a common policy initiative has greatly advanced compared to both the Upper House election and general election three years ago.
Fourth, mutual understanding on how to proceed with this joint struggle has deepened further. “Unification within Diversity” — this is the most democratic form of cooperation/joint struggle, recognizing each other’s differences, respecting one another, and cooperating in unison according to general public demand.
(ⅱ) Why Opposition Parties’ Coalition Government Now – Proposing Discussions towards the Potential for Coalition Building
Based on the achievements and progress of the previous four years of joint struggle, we shall consider how the coalition of citizens and the opposition parties with further development. The biggest challenge for the development of our joint struggle in the future is attaining a forward-looking agreement for the opposition parties’ coalition government among the parties.
Based on the results of the House of Councillors election, the JCP proposed to opposition parties that we need to start discussions on forming an opposition coalition government- at a meeting held on August 8, 2019 commemorating the 97th anniversary of the JCP.
Four years ago, our party had been advocating for a “national coalition government” to repeal the national security legislation, and has continued to insist that the opposition parties make proactive agreements on these matters. At the same time, even in the absence of a political agreement for establishing a coalition government, we have been promoting election cooperation with this issue in mind.
However, in order to make the joint struggle of citizens and opposition parties even stronger, we should start discussing these issues in detail. The Japanese populace and society in general are demanding for us to come up with a powerful governing vision.
Firstly, the propagation of a vision on how the opposition parties will unseat the Abe administration and the message of “We are really going to change the current course of politics fundamentally” will undeniably positively affect public perception, thereby giving hope that one’s vote actually matters. We believe that such a vision will motivate many nonvoters to go to the polls.
Secondly, elucidating a unified vision for an alternative government made up of opposition parties will undoubtedly become a response to the ruling Abe LDP-Komei administration attacks on opposition parties’ joint struggles. In the Upper House elections, Prime Minister Abe frequently brought up the former Democratic Party of Japan administration and stated repeatedly “we cannot go back to that period ever again.” However, what our coalition of concerned citizens and opposition parties are aiming for is not a resurgence of the former Democratic Party of Japan administration. As shown in the 13-item policy agreement with the “Civil Alliance,” what we propose is a new course for politics-, which overcomes the limits of the former Democratic Party of Japan administration and switches completely away from the current Liberal Democratic Party politics course of distorting the basic policies of national politics as envisioned in the constitution.
The following three points will be important in regards to discussions for forming an opposition coalition government:
One is formulating a political agreement to establish a coalition government and confirm its course of action.
The second is to develop a common policy to be implemented by the coalition government-, based on the 13-item policy agreement-, which we already agreed upon with the “Civil Alliance.” At the same time, it will also be necessary for the coalition government to agree on how to deal with policy differences between parties.
The third is the agreement on electoral cooperation in single-seat constituencies.
The aforementioned three points are obligations that the opposition parties need to keep in mind, as we transform our current joint struggle of citizens and opposition parties into one to achieve an opposition coalition government. The Japanese Communist Party will play its part and will make every effort towards achieving our united goals.
(3) How Far Has the Policy Agreements between the Opposition Parties Come? – What the Coalition Government of Opposition Parties Aim to Change Politically
(ⅰ) Policy Congruence with the Civil Alliance and Other Policy Matters such as Jointly Proposed Bills by Opposition Parties.
The 13-point policy agreement among the five opposition parties and parliamentary group with the “Civil Alliance” has further developed based on previous agreements between the opposition parties.
— Our joint struggle has formulated basic agreement upon which we will abrogate the current security legislation-, as well as work for the restoration of constitutionalism.
— We have elucidated our disagreement with the Abe administration’s goals towards constitutional revision, namely that of revising the Article 9, and will not allow them to initiate any proceedings pertaining to this matter in the Diet.
— We have agreed on a new common policy to stop the construction of the US military base in Henoko, Okinawa, but also revising the US-Japan Security Agreement and tending to other diplomatic matters.
— We also have incorporated an agreement on the nuclear power issue, denying any further restarts of nuclear power plants, transitioning to renewable energy sources, and achieving zero-nuclear dependency.
— In regard to the consumption tax issue, we will aim to stop attempts to implement future tax hikes, and work for “Equality the law based on income, assets, and internal reserves held by corporations.”
— We have agreed on raising the hourly minimum wage to 1,500 yen, as well as having decent rules to be able to live comfortably by just working no more than eight hours a day, an economy to improve living standards, and policies to bolster social security and reduce income disparity and poverty.
— Elimination of discrimination against LGBT people and women, the option for partners to choose whichever surname they wish to take upon at marriage, and increasing female representation as much as male representation in the Diet.
Apart from policy agreements with the Civil Alliance, the opposition parties have made agreements in each policy area. Through collaborations in the Diet and making electoral campaign promises, opposition parties have shared not a few common policies. The primary policies in agreement are as follows:
— In regards to agricultural policy, we have fought against the Abe administration’s move to join the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement), and the US-Japan FTA (Free Trade Agreement), and we have submitted bills for the protection of native plant species.
— We have submitted a bill to revise the Act Concerning Support for Reconstructing Livelihoods of Disaster Victims to raise the amount of support from the current 3 million yen to 5 million yen, calling on the government to meet the immediate and urgent requests by the victims and local government officials in affected areas.
— In order to tackle climate change, the opposition parties have called on the government to lower CO2 emissions to “Zero by 2050” and play a responsible role as one of the highly-polluting developed nations.
— We demand that Japan ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
These policy issues, which we share amongst the opposition parties, along with the “Civil Alliance” are fundamental policies that we perceive the opposition coalition government will base its policies on. The contents of policies incorporating public demands are important attainments, based on countless hours of discussion, action and cooperation with the Civil Alliance.
(ⅱ) Let Us Create an Opposition Coalition Government Based on the Three Ways to Move Away from the Abe Administration
We believe that the contents of the policy agreements between the opposition parties that we have agreed upon so far show that we intend to move away from the Abe course of politics in the following three ways.
First, restore constitutionalism, democracy, and pacifism based on the Constitution.
Second, correct income disparities, and change the political discourse to supporting citizens’ lives and households first.
Third, build a political system that values diversity and respects the dignity of individuals.
This is a direction needed to replace the current Abe course of politics with a new hopeful one.
We would like to appeal many citizens who have worked together with us in the past and other opposition parties that have struggled with us together inside and outside the Diet to work for the creation of an opposition coalition government that fundamentally transforms Abe’s politics along these three directions.
(ⅲ) How to Deal with Policy Inconsistencies among the Parties
When aiming for an opposition coalition government, how one deals with policy differences among the parties is also an important issue we need to keep in mind.
In party leader debates during the House of Councillors election, Prime Minister Abe repeatedly attacked the joint struggle of opposition parties by stating, “How can you make a coalition government with the JCP, which states that the existence of the SDF is against the Constitution?”
However, this is missing the point entirely. We are not arguing whether the SDF or the US-Japan Security Treaty itself is right or wrong in the light of the Constitution. The key issue now in question is whether to allow the creation of a “war-fighting nation”– the SDF has been enabled to use force abroad under the new national security legislation, which violates Article 9. In order to rectify this, the opposition parties are currently in a joint struggle, setting aside differences regarding the existence of the SDF and the US-Japan Security Treaty. The misguided argument against our joint struggle so often raised by the Abe LDP-Komei administration is meant to hide their own attempt to dismantle the constitution.
The JCP has its own views on the Self-Defense Forces and the Security Treaty. The existence of a SDF with offensive capabilities clearly violates Article 9 of the Constitution and we believe that Japan cannot be a truly independent country without abrogating the US-Japan Security Treaty which is subservient to the interests of the United States.
However, we have decided not to push our views upon an opposition coalition government. A primary policy goal shared among the opposition coalition government is the “withdrawal the cabinet decision to allow collective self-defense and the abrogation of the security legislation.” If we achieve this goal, the related original intent of the constitution, legislation, and treaties will be enforced. Therefore, we opposition parties will run a coalition government based on these prior commitments, which preceded the forced enactment of the national security legislation.
We need to develop our joint struggle with citizens and opposition parties further, standing on what we have built thus far, accepting the differences between ourselves and expanding our shared objectives. We shall make our policy agreements richer and more attractive, and pave the way to realize an opposition coalition government.
(ⅳ) Let Us Pave the Way to an Opposition Coalition Government Listening to Voices from the Grassroots
The greatest force that fosters our joint struggle with the citizens and the opposition parties and potentially leads the way to an opposition coalition government are the numerous grassroots-based movements nationwide and public opinion opposing the current government.
Hand in hand with the citizens, we will fight on various issues including people’s livelihoods and the economy as well as upholding our democracy, both of which are common policy objectives amongst the opposition parties.
In particular, let us spread the battle fighting against Abe’s initiative to revise Article 9 of the Constitution in the Diet to every corner of the nation.
Labor unions play a significant role in efforts towards the creation of a new administration composed of the current opposition parties. The JCP hopes that by overcoming differences, labor movements take an active role based on the fundamental principle of the labor union movement: unite on urgent demands.
Four years ago, what nudged us towards our joint struggle was the voice of the citizens, specifically the demand for “the opposition parties to unite”. We sincerely urge that people support the civil movement “to create a coalition government” across the nation, demanding further development of the current joint struggle.
On Part Three: Domestic and International Upheavals and the Role of the JCP – Let Us Pave the Road for Japan and the World through Advancing Our Party
The role of the JCP is growing with the turbulence in regards to Japan and the International System.
The LDP’s obscene level of “subordination to the United States” and “Corporation-centric politics” is worse than ever. This has helped to trigger the unprecedented joint struggle of citizens and opposition parties, and the topic of a democratic revolution as stated in our party program, has become a real political issue.
Internationally, “transformation of the world structure” that occurred in the 20th century has brought peace and societal advancements, such as the introduction of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Regarding our stance on foreign affairs, the partial revision of the program at this Party Congress clarifies our position, opposing hegemonism and great-power chauvinism in any country and our continuing fight towards peace and social advancement along with scientific socialism.
Let us advance the Japanese Communist Party influence in as many fields as we can, and pave the road for Japan and the international community in a progressive direction, first by winning even more seats in the upcoming general election.
(1) Correct Two Distortions of Japanese Politics: “Subordination to the US” and “Corporation-centric politics” and Historical Revisionism
It is of utmost importance that we oust the Abe administration, as it is causing serious problems, both domestically and internationally. We need to work way for the creation of an opposition coalition government.
At the same time, what underlies the Abe’s runaway administration continuing to adversely affect Japanese society are the two distorting factors of “subordination to the US” and “corporation-centric politics” along with reactionary “historical revisionism.” The backward-looking aspect of LDP politics has seriously reached a dead-end.
Under these circumstances, our party is responsible for having a “dual role” to (ⅰ) further develop our joint struggle with citizens and opposition parties focusing on immediate issues, and (ⅱ) gain majority support to fundamentally overcome the distorted nature of LDP politics.
(ⅰ) Repeal of Security Legislation, and Abrogate the US-Japan Security Treaty, which are at the Heart of Abe’s “Acquiescent” Policies towards the US.
The Japanese Communist Party will continue to work diligently with people to abolish the national security legislation as part of our joint struggle with the opposition parties, repeal the cabinet decision that allowed for collective self-defense, stop the construction of a new military base at Henoko, and realize the fundamental revision of the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.
The attitude of “US-Japan Alliance first” will not deal with these issues. We have to face the problem with the US-Japan Security Treaty, which is a root of the “American Compliant Politics.”
2020 marks the 60th year since the 1960 revision of the US-Japan Security Treaty, which was signed over widespread opposition and massive protests by the citizens. “Obscene levels of compliance to the Americans” based on this treaty has caused deadlocks in both foreign and domestic policies and contradicts with the will of the people.
Even after 74 years after the end of the war under the US-Japan Security Treaty, Japan has 131 US military bases nationwide, with many in Okinawa. Residents’ lives around the country are being negatively affected due to successive crimes committed by members of the US military, the forced Osprey deployments, NLP (night-time take-off and landing drill) and other illegal flight training exercises, noise pollution by aircraft, and environmental pollution from aircraft and naval vessels.
In order to remove the aforementioned factors affecting our lives, we will develop momentum to address the pressing common demand of the public. At the same time, we shall work to conclude a friendship treaty with the US on equal footing in order to create a truly independent, peaceful, and neutral Japan by eliminating the US-Japan Security Treaty which is Japan’s root of the obscene acquiescence to the US.
Based on these fundamental positions, we believe that the further advancement of the Japanese Communist Party is necessary in order to develop our joint struggle with the opposition parties, and in turn, be an catalyst to initiate a fundamental transformation of Japanese politics.
(ⅱ) Long-term Recession and Growing Poverty and Inequality – Correct the Undemocratic Power of the Corporate Sector influence on Politics
In response to the long-term stagnation of the Japanese economy and the spread of poverty and growing inequality, the joint struggle of citizens and opposition parties share the policy of “correcting inequality, and changing the focus of politics to one that supports ordinary people’s livelihoods.” This is another facet of our battle with the Abe administration. We have consensus among opposition parties not to increase the consumption tax and demand a larger share in the tax burden by large corporations and the wealthy.
However, if you try to tackle these issues, you will inevitably have to face the reality of the system of “corporation-centered politics.”
LDP politics is based on ignoring the majority, and listening to corporations’ needs, leading to hiking consumption tax rates and lowering corporate taxes as well as easing regulations regarding employment, which has led to an increase in irregular employment. They believe in the fallacy of “trickle-down economics,” claiming that supporting large corporations and the wealthy will eventually lead to benefitting ordinary households. As seen in the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the administration thoroughly incorporated business representatives into the central organ of policymaking, and has basically done what the business lobbies asked them to do.
Fundamentally overhauling this contorted corporate-centric politics to building an “economic structure that protects people’s rights and livelihoods” as stated in our party program is crucial to lessen poverty and socio-economic disparities as well as get Japan out of its long-term stagnation.
In regards to the tax system, the worst example of “business-centered politics” is the consumption tax. In the 31 years since the introduction of the consumption tax, sales tax revenue amounted 397 trillion yen, but during the same period, corporate tax revenue decreased by 298 trillion yen and revenue from income tax and residential tax decreased by 275 trillion yen. The purpose of the consumption tax is neither “for social security” nor “for fiscal reconstruction.” “To take from the weak to enrich the major corporations and wealthy” – We all know that this is the reality of the consumption tax. The introduction of the consumption tax and repeated rate hikes are the major factors that led to the demise of small and medium sized businesses in Japan and turned Japan into a “country that cannot grow economically.”
The Japanese Communist Party seeks to eventually abolish the consumption tax which has had a negative impact on society overall for the last 31 years, and reduce the rate to 5% immediately. We will strive to make the “tax cut to 5%” a common demand among the citizens and the opposition parties united.
We will work hard to build a society where you can “live a decent life with no more than eight hours of work per day,” “have an enhanced social security system that supports your livelihood,” and “raise children without worrying about finances.” It is necessary to shift to politics that fully support small and medium sized businesses and agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
The JCP has proposed procuring funding for civilian life “not from the consumption tax” but from a progressive tax reform plan targeting large corporations and the wealthy. We oppose going into ever increasing debt by issuance of huge sums in deficit-covering government bonds and underwriting by the Bank of Japan in order to alleviate the lack of funds.
We believe that the advancement of the JCP will greatly contribute to not only a common goal with other opposition parties “correcting income inequality and supporting lives and households first” and breaking free of “corporation-centric politics,” which will encourage people to work to recognize economic democracy as a necessary fundamental reform, secure livelihoods, and end economic stagnation in Japan.
(ⅲ) JCP Opposition to Wars of Aggression and Colonial Rule Will Be Key to Establishing Friendly Relations with Asian Neighbors
The Abe administration’s historical revisionist outlook, which refuses to reflect upon Japan’s wars of aggression and colonial rule, has become a grave road-block to forming good relations with neighbors in Asia and beyond.
Since its establishment, the Japanese Communist Party has always opposed wars of aggression and colonialism, literally with the sacrifice of our members standing up to repression. We deeply oppose right-wing historical revisionism and will do whatever it takes to rationally and fundamentally stop such initiatives.
The advance of our party is the surest force that can wipe out this from Japanese politics and open the path of true friendship between Japan and Asian countries.
(2) The Advancement of the JCP with a Policy to Change Politics with a “United Front” Promoting Joint Struggles
This era of concerned citizens and opposition parties working in joint struggles originally arose out of citizens’ movements during the massive protests against the national security legislation. More specifically, we are sure that an integral part of this power also comes from grassroots-based struggles with the JCP as well as along with independents, and conservatives striving to work for a progressive government, and contributions by the Association for a Peaceful, Democratic and Progressive Japan (Kakushinkon) supporting these actions despite the reactionary Socialist-Komei Party Agreement of 1980.
For the past four years, the Japanese Communist Party has continued to make efforts to advance our joint struggle, even when faced with extreme difficulties and challenges. The reason the JCP is able to continue in the aforementioned trajectory is that we have specifically elucidated “the power of the United Front,” in all processes of social development looking to the future. That is, that we have specifically elucidated in our party program that we will fight together with others by putting aside ignoring political differences to work towards a shared political goal.
We believe that the advancement of the JCP will be intrinsic to the development of the joint struggle of the concerned citizens and opposition parties, and the attainment of an opposition coalition government as the JCP has worked with a broad range of people and organizations by setting aside differences in political affiliation or ideology and making the most of collaboration with a common goal uniting us.
3) The Advancement of the JCP Will Contribute to World Peace and Progress in the 21st Century
The “transformation of the world structure” caused by the collapse of the colonial system in the 20th century shows great potential in various endeavors of humanity in the 21st century, such as regional cooperation for peace, the abolition of nuclear weapons, and the promotion and protection of human rights. The advancement of the JCP will contribute to world peace and progress in the 21st century.
(i) The Progress of Regional Cooperation for Peace in the World—Realizing the Initiative for Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia
Regional cooperation for peace is developing in Southeast Asia and Latin America. It is especially significant that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is developing as a regional community of peace based on a foundation of treaties calling for the peaceful resolution of disputes.
The JCP has put forth its “Initiative for Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia” at the 26th Congress and approached international society and relevant countries to cooperate for its realization. The JCP’s proposal is increasingly important as the state of affairs regarding the Korean Peninsula is improving, despite difficulties.
(ii) Establish a Government That Will Sign and Ratify the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
In July 2017, a remarkable event occurred when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed by an overwhelming majority of countries in the UN. The Hibakusha call for “No More Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis” and calls from throughout the world and from Japan for the abolition of nuclear weapons greatly influenced the course of international politics.
The Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty criminalizes the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and brands them as inhumane. It incorporates the prevention of nuclear war, the abolition of nuclear weapons, and the assistance of Hibakusha, who have been the mainstay of Japan’s anti-atomic and anti-hydrogen bomb movement along with the JCP since the end of World War II.
The JCP sent its delegation to the UN conference twice, in March and July of 2017, where we spoke at the conference as a political party of the A-bombed country and made the request for support for the aforementioned demands to 38 countries and organizations. We have thoroughly criticized the “nuclear deterrence theory” that nuclear-armed states and its allies like Japan cling to.
Let us advance the JCP, which has contributed to the realization of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, and establish a government that will sign and ratify the ban treaty.
(iii) For the Realization of Gender Equality—Defeating the Resistance of the Business Circles and the Pro-Yasukuni Shrine Forces
“Transformation of the world structure” led to the international move to promote and protect basic human rights. As developing nations gained recognition and to some extent influential positions in international society, the human rights issues in these countries such as poverty, discrimination, and violence has come into the spotlight. This has encouraged new developments in the promotion and protection of human rights, including in developed nations. The concept of “gender equality” emerged from the process of the promotion and protection of human rights.
However, Japan is becoming one of the world’s most disgraceful “backwards nation in gender equality”. The Gender Gap Index (2019) ranked Japan 121st among 153 nations and at the bottom of G7 countries. In the backdrop are the business circles prioritizing the pursuit of profit addressing over this issue, and the political influence of the “Yasukuni faction” which glorifies the pre-war domination of women by men and personal and familial subservience to the needs of the country.
Various movements to eliminate gender discrimination are now spreading. Let us listen carefully to the voices of the people who suffer from sexual violence in order not to isolate them, and work together to fulfill their urgent demands.
The JCP will work to transform present politics that hinders the realization of gender equality, and will promote measures to eliminate gender pay gap, introduce selective dual surname system, ensure women’s equal participation in politics, policy-making, and decision-making processes, and ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The JCP has stood up for equal rights between men and women since the prewar era, and after the war has fought with citizens to eliminate disparities in pay and discrimination in the workplace. In order to break away from this shameful “backwards country in gender equality” by international standards, it is crucially important to advance the JCP, and that it be capable of defeating the powerful influence of the business circles and the pro-Yasukuni Shrine forces.
4) Spread the Prospect of Overcoming Capitalism
Whether or not the capitalist system should continue its existence in the 21st century is being scrutinized worldwide, due to the increasing gap between rich and poor across the world with climate change bringing about various disasters on a global scale.
(i) The Disparities between Rich and Poor are Increasing within Each Nation and Globally
The increasing wealth gap on a global scale is becoming major issue. The wealth gap is also increasing within developed capitalist countries. Even countries that have relatively regulated rules to protect the lives and rights of workers are not exempt.
The top 10% of the highest-earning population in the OECD nations earn 9.5 times more than the bottom 10% (7 times more than in the 1980s). The rate of national income that goes to the top 10% of the population in each country is 25.0% in Japan, 24.0% in France, and 23.2% in Germany (2017, from the OECD Income Distribution Database).
(ii) Global Climate Change is a Matter of Life and Death for the Future of Humanity
Around the world, the youth are demanding action to stop and reverse climate change.
The Paris Agreement sets a goal to keep the global average temperature rise to well below 2℃ of the pre-Industrial Revolution level, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5℃. Even a 1.5℃ rise will severely affect the global environment, but based on the total sum of current greenhouse gas reduction goals of each country, it is estimated that by the end of the 21st century, there will be a temperature rise of around 3℃, and there are desperate calls for stronger efforts in reduction. In light of this, at the UN Climate Action Summit held in September 2019, 65 countries led by developed countries declared net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.
However, the Abe regime is strikingly retrogressive, not only refusing to announce its deadline on achieving net-zero emissions but also refusing to reconsider its plans to build 22 new coal-fired powered generators, and continues efforts to increase the export of generators in the guise of “growth strategy”. We cannot allow their irresponsibility towards climate change, following along with the Trump administration.
(iii) Emphasize the Role of the Party that Has Prospect of Overcoming Capitalism
These issues require the best possible emergency actions within the framework of capitalism, but they also question the essential contradiction of the economic system of capitalism itself, namely its inability to control its massively developed productive power and its insistence on profits over life itself.
The JCP, as a party that has amply demonstrated the prospects for a future society freed from capitalism in its Party Program, is able to present emergency solutions as well as solutions dealing with the root cause of the present dilemma facing humanity to specific issues such as the increasing poverty rates disparities along with supporting the long term solutions needed to tackle and climate change.
Let us attain political progress and advancement by emphasizing that the breakthrough of the JCP is instrumental in solving pressing global issues too.
On Part Four: General Election Campaign Policy – Achieving Two Major Objectives “Victory of the Joint Campaign of the Citizens Movements and Opposition Parties” and “Advancement of the Japanese Communist Party”
(1 ) Let Us Attain the “Two Major objectives” in the Upcoming General Elections
A key point in an upcoming general election is to accomplish a change in government. The JCP will set the “two major goals“ of 1) opening a road to a coalition government consisting of opposition parties in cooperation with concerned citizens, and 2) achieving the advancement of the JCP by attaining the “target of 8.5 million votes or more than 15% of the total votes cast”. We shall work to achieve both targets.
(ⅰ) The Key to Make Advancement of the JCP as Cooperation with Opposition Parties is to Strengthen Daily Activities to Increase “Active Supporters”
The key to achieve the JCP’s advancement with pushing forward with cooperation between concerned citizens and opposition parties is to increase the number of the active JCP supporters, as well as building the JCP’s basic organizational power.
In election campaigns during the era of joint struggles of opposition parties with concerned citizens, for the advancement of the JCP, we will step up our efforts to have more people become familiar with the JCP’s program, philosophy and history. That means transforming passive supporters who “vote for the JCP because there is no other choice” to active supporters who strongly support the JCP. To ensure this, we must radically strengthen our day-to-day activities.
To increase the number of active JCP supporters, it will be very important to organize meetings to “discuss the JCP Program and Japan’s future” in every corner of the country. Every party member has their own story regarding their initial encounter with the JCP, and can talk about their passion for the party. Speaking in our own words, let us unfold a grand campaign to “introduce the JCP in its entirety.”
(ii) Challenging the Two Major Objectives” in the Effort to Promote People’s Struggles in Every Field
Developing people’s movements in every field based on the public’s urgent demands will become driving force to achieve our “two major objectives” as well as achieving improvement of the people’s living and household finances and defense of democracy in Japan.
People are calling for a reduction of the consumption tax to 5% or less, as well as improvement of social security programs. The struggle to stop the attempt to initiate constitutional revision in the Diet has increased vigorously. New campaigns demanding the abolition of sexual discrimination and sexual violence such as “#MeToo movement” and “Flower Demonstration Movement” are spreading nationwide.
We are still on the way to recover from the damage caused by nuclear meltdown accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The recent money scandal involving the Kansai Electric Power Co. is also incurring public rage. We work to increase the strength of public movements against resuming nuclear reactor operations and abolishing nuclear power plants in Japan.
The nation’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries and the rural districts which depend on them have been faced with a historical crisis in which the nation’s food self-sufficiency rate has gone down to 37%, the lowest among developed countries in the year of 2018. This is the result of the long time anti-farmers policies adopted by successive LDP administrations which gave in to the increasing pressure for agricultural free trade while reducing and even eliminating the subsidy system for staples and income support for family farmers. In particular, the Abe administration hastily enforced an unprecedented level of free trade in agricultural products by concluding the TPP, the EPA between the Japan and the EU, and the Japan-US trade agreement. As the UN has designated the ten years from 2019 as the Decade of Family Farming, the world trend is heading for a radical shift in agricultural policy consistent with the SDGs. Japan must change its agriculture policy fundamentally and make the utmost effort to revitalize family farming and rural districts by prioritizing the industry as a basic production sector in order to stabilize family farming irrespective of its size as well as to ensure a safe and reliable quality of food.
Natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes in succession have caused serious damage. The government should fulfill its responsibility to protect people’s lives and livings as the top priority. In preparation to devastating disasters, it is necessary to build a society where people can have hopes for reconstruction of livelihood. We demand drastic reinforcement of national support system for sufferers, reconstruction of damaged houses and direct aid to agriculture, fishery, forestry, and small-medium enterprises. Additionally, the government should shift the public works for large-scale development to improving disaster prevention for old facilities and equipment, promoting riparian works, regulating rampant development, reinforcing the fire-fighting and other disaster prevention capability of the local governments. We will proceed with disaster-resistant town development.
With developing momentums in every domain, let us do our best to achieve the “Two Major Objectives.”
(iii) Firmly Practicing the Motto “Proportional Representation is the Axis,” Let Us Win over 8 .5 million Votes or Over 15% of the Total Votes Cast
We will make it a target to win or increase our seats in all eleven proportional representation blocs in the next general election. We are going to field candidates who have the potential to help to attain our political goals.
It is important to set the campaign for “the proportional representation is the axis,” and make election campaigns literally “our election” for all members. In the proportional representation constituencies, which reflect people’s support for a particular political party, if the number of people who vote for the JCP increases, the JCP candidates in proportional representation blocs as well as joint candidates of the opposition parties for single-seat constituencies will be more likely to be elected. More clearly than in any past elections, we should set the campaign for the proportional representation elections at center stage.
All party branches and organizations should set their own targets or votes and support for “8 .5 million votes or over 15% of the total votes cast.” To fulfill the targets, we should implement each branch “policy and plan” and “Four Basic Points” in election campaigns based on own “general plan.” It is necessary to strengthen drastically their daily activities.
While advanced party organizations will set a target of more than 20% to 30% of the votes cast, all the other party organizations should accomplish the “more than 10% of the votes” target at the earliest opportunity possible and go on further to challenge the “more than 15%” goal. To gain “more than 10% of the votes” in every prefecture, municipality, and administrative district will become a basis of changing the political power balance among parties on the national level, which will lead to realizing our program goals.
Setting our own ambitious targets, we shall carry on and review constantly our activities in the light of the stated targets.
(iv) In Single-Seat Constituencies, We Aim to Achieve the Victory of the Opposition Parties’ Joint Candidates and the Advancement of JCP Seats.
In the single seat constituencies, we will ensure success in the cooperation among opposition parties and aim to obtain a large increase in the JCP’s seats.
To achieve these targets, the Central Committee will do our utmost to reach a three-point agreement for a coalition government consisting of opposition parties. In addition, the prefectural and regional organizations and branches shall have talks with citizens and opposition parties, and create momentum for a joint government in near the future.
The success of electoral cooperation among opposition parties depends on the content of the agreement reached to form a coalition government. To establish cooperation in election campaigns, it is essential to seek an agreement to establish a coalition government consisting of opposition parties which will be able to perform at full potential.
Fielding a joint opposition candidate in single seat constituencies shall proceed with close consultation between the local organizations and the Central Committee with an effort to make an agreement among all parties to establish a coalition government.
(v) Placing Emphasis on the Increase of Female Representatives in Every Election Campaign
We are proud of the fact that the JCP has the highest number of female local assembly members. Without being complacent with the present achievement, we put further effort to increase the ratio of female candidates at all levels in national and local elections.
(2) Strengthening Daily Activities for the Local Election Campaigns and Creating a Trend of Joint Struggle among Opposition Parties and a JCP Advancement with Strong Support from Grassroots-Based Movements
(i) Prevent the Devastation of Local Life Caused by Abe’s LDP-Komei Government, and Protect Lives and Livelihoods of Local Residents
Under the motto of boosting global competitiveness, the Abe government has imposed large-scale public works projects on local governments. Under the guise of “Regional Partnership” and “Intensification,” the government has also urged local governments to concentrate industrial locations in city centers, and to integrate, downsize or abolish public facilities. The government has forced communities to invite the introduction and construction of casinos, giving no heed to the voices of local resident’s opposition. In years to come, successive increases in the National Health Insurance charges, rising health care premiums, and reduction of services and other adverse revisions are also on the waiting list for implementation. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has already listed 424 public or communal hospitals subject to integration or abolition.
Under these conditions, the role of the JCP’s local assembly members who stand in the forefront of cooperating with residents and relevant groups will become all the more important to protect the lives and livelihoods of local residents.
The JCP demands and struggles for a reduction of the National Health Insurance charge through abolition or reduction of the per-capita allotment, a reduction of nursing care premiums, and an improvement of nursing services, an improvement of welfare for the disabled, securing transportation for the aged, and stopping the integration and closure of public and communal hospitals for local medical services.
Based on our recent achievements such as securing public child-care support, decrease in medical bills for children, nursing and schoolchild care, school lunches, air-conditioner installation in schools and so on, we continue to cooperate with relevant organizations for further improvements.
Opposing privatization of indispensable public services, integration, closure and downsizing of schools and other public facilities in disregard of the opinions of local residents, we call on the government to put stop to non-essential large-scale projects and to take measures for disaster prevention and repairing aging facilities seriously.
We oppose any new legislation attempting to deform and modify local autonomies, towns and villages into new broad administrative areas, working for development of local authorities.
(ii) Strengthening the Effort to Recapture the No.1 Place in the Number of the Local Assembly Members, and Extending the Coalition of Citizens and Opposition Parties at the Grassroots Level
The number of JCP’s local assembly members decreased from 2,809 at the time of the previous Party Congress, to 2,662 (at the end of December in 2019). It now ranks third in the total number following the LDP with over 3,500 members and the Komei Party with over 2,900 members. The percentage of the JCP share came down from 8.4% to 8.12% in the same period.
In terms of our target for local elections, as we must ensure obtaining seats in midterm local elections, we will work to secure incumbents and to win new assembly members, regaining the top position in the number of local assembly members in the next nationwide local election in 2023. Further, each prefecture must make sure to embody the three targets of “increasing the percentage of JCP seats,” “secure a right to submit proposals,” and “obtain seats in every local assembly” without fail. The number of local assemblies where the JCP has the right to submit bills accounts for 46.6% of all assemblies. This right is especially important in satisfying the needs and demands of local residents. Hence, we will increase our strength in local assemblies.
To win in each election campaign, it is indispensable to choose candidates early, and take measures to systematically prepare campaigns with the chosen candidates in the forefront.
In the last election for governor in Iwate and Saitama prefectures, citizens and opposition parties struggled together and defeated candidates recommended by the LDP and the Komei Party. Such electoral campaigns show clearly that cooperation of the opposition parties and citizens have spread to the local political scene from national elections. In local assemblies at the prefectural level, of the government-designated cities and prefectural capitals, although the “all-are ruling parties” setup with the exclusion of the JCP is still prevalent, we can see some changes arising. Even in such municipalities with the “all-are ruling parties” setup, new movements pursuing not only collaboration of each policy issue, but also cooperation of mayoral election has developed. Along with the effort to strengthen the coalition of the opposition parties at the national level, we will promote coalitions between citizens and opposition parties at the grass roots level.
(iii) Helping Our Local Assembly Members with Their Activities and Maturity, and Encouraging Them to Step Up Everyday Activities
The last Party Congress put an emphasis on the need to help develop our local assembly members by “boldly strengthening activities to inspire particularly young assembly members to further develop their abilities through education.” Given that new and young assembly members of our party without experience as a politician are engaging in assembly activities with vigor and determination, the party organizations and branches should strength support and assistance to them with warmth and respect.
The effort to establish assembly member groups and have them hold regular meetings is still not enough. Therefore, the party organizations should strengthen the guidance and assistance to all our local assembly members to enable them to work with pride as assembly members from the JCP, exhibiting solidarity, civic virtues, and social morality.
The “training course for local assembly members” organized by the Central Committee in 2018 was warmly received and the effort to further study and exchange was intensified at the prefectural level. In the next course, we will make efforts to incorporate activities rooted in members.
To increase the number of the seats of JCP’s local assembly members, it is essential to improve the level of everyday activities of our assembly members and their groups. In cooperation with the party branches and organizations concerned, they shall engage themselves in activities to work to have the demands of residents met in regard to social welfare, livelihoods, disaster prevention, and security, as well as to give counsel to them on their activities based on the election platform. Their activities and achievements should be made available to voters through local news bulletins, reports of their assembly activities, and through publicity actions in the streets and at railway station squares.
(3) Let Us Drastically Develop Election Campaign Strategy in Response to New Political Situation
The last Party Congress called for “developing election campaign strategy in response to the new political situation where cooperation is increasing between citizens and the opposition parties,” setting out the five points in election campaign strategy, including: “Pursuing the promotion of the opposition alliance and the advance of the JCP at the same time,” “Large-scale election campaigns where we fight together with citizens and general public,” “’Election revolution’ making the most of connections established by party members and party organizations to win elections,” and “More interactive public information and organizational activities making full use of the Internet and social networking services.”
Among other tactics, spreading information and expanding support for the party and utilizing every connection and name list held by party members and organizations would form the central part of the “election revolution.” Under the new political situation, this task is becoming more important than ever before in getting all party members involved in the election campaign.
We will also make efforts to carry out day-to-day and systematic public information activities aiming to reach out to all eligible voters.
In addition to including these points in the basic concept of election campaign strategy, we will further drastically enhance the following points, building on the lessons drawn from recent elections.
(i) Political Debates on Hope in Addition to Criticism
People have deep concerns and anger against the Abe government and at the same time feel a sense of apathy with no way out of the current situation in sight. Sharp criticism is of course necessary, but more important is to present the alternatives proposed by the JCP which would show them a realistic way to meet their earnest desires by ending Abe’s authoritarian rule and establishing a new government. We will emphasize talking about hope for the future in our daily activities in advance of the next general elections.
(ii) “Interactiveness” Should Be Respected in Every Activity
We should maintain “interactiveness” as the core attitude of every public information and organizational activity of the JCP. Through “street talks”, “mock voting using stickers” or questionnaires, we will find better ways to conduct our public information activities by talking directly with and listening to voters regarding their demands. Getting help and ideas through interactions with JCP supporters and civic movement members, we will improve our public information materials and encourage their use in election campaigns. We will make the “Forums to Discuss the JCP Program and Future of Japan” for interactive discussions involving the public, setting them at the core of daily activities for party promotion. All party branches should convene such forums informally and casually repeatedly and in a variety of formats.
(iii) We Will Achieve All Party Members’ Involvement in Election Campaigns by Increasing “Bearers” of Election Activities
We will achieve a drastic increase in the number of “bearers” of election campaigns, which include all party members and supporters working together. Making full use of the Internet and social networking services, we will expand and strengthen JCP supporters and party ties with them in local communities and workplaces.
(iv) Responding to New Situations, Activities of JCP Supporters’ Associations Should Be Developed
Adapting to a new situation, JCP supporters’ associations should be made into ones that would encourage a broader range of people to take part. The JCP supporters’ associations are basic organizations for party members and supporters working together to achieve the victory of party candidates “centering on the proportional representation system” whose activities are essential in “making a routine of election campaign activities.” Simultaneously, creative efforts should be made in line with the call made by the last Party Congress to “improve and make more attractive the activities of JCP supporters’ associations so that the people who are paying attention to and are willing to support the JCP can more easily join in the activities.”
During this period, through joint struggles with citizens, an increasing number of people are joining voluntarily to support our party’s candidates. In some cases, JCP candidates become the joint candidate of opposition parties and fight in the election together with a broad range of citizens. In this situation, sticking to the principle of “centering on the proportional representation system” and basing our election campaign on the activities carried out by JCP supporters’ associations, we will also work together with a broad range of people, by forming supporters associations for individual JCP council members and candidates in various titles and formats as necessary.
All party branches, working together with local assembly members, will make efforts to set up corresponding supporters’ associations with regular activities such as issuing newsletters, holding seasonal events and organizing other opportunities to foster a strong sense of solidarity.
Efforts also should be made to establish supporters’ associations corresponding to workplaces and social sectors, where regular activities will be held to encourage all supporters to join election campaigns.
(v) We Will Develop Cooperation and Joint Efforts with Broad Spectrum of Organizations
We are witnessing dramatic changes in agricultural organizations and small to medium-sized businesses, which used to form a firm support base for the LDP. There are even moves to nominate or support the JCP candidates in elections.
In the field of labor union movement, while a traditional framework of imposing support of specific political party on union members is largely falling apart, we are witnessing some moves in which local trade unions will enter into “policy agreements” with a joint candidate of a locality or independently nominate, support or endorse such a candidate.
Simultaneously, in our effort to promote the JCP among workers, it is important to defend the freedom of thought and creed, political activities, election and supporters’ activities in workplaces, and revitalize the supporters’ association activities of the JCP.
In the lead up to the next general elections, both at the national and local levels, we will actively explore cooperation and joint undertakings with various workers’ and farmers’ organizations and trade unions based on agreed demands.
(vi) Younger Generations Should Be Able to Play Active Roles in Election Campaigns
We will fight in election campaigns where younger generations and Democratic Youth League of Japan members will take on major roles. In the recent House of Councillors election, many high school and college students voluntarily visited the JCP election offices and joined the election campaigns as JCP supporters in different parts of the country.
We need to make more efforts to meet the earnest desires of these young people to “lower school tuitions and stop the exploitation of young workers” and to “reverse the climate change.” Practicing the new election campaign strategies, such as discussing the hopes and aspirations as well as making criticisms of current politics, interactive public information/organizational activities and utilization of the Internet and SNS, will be essential to achieve the active and lively involvement of younger generations. By listening to the voices of young people, we will further promote the revitalization of election activities.
(vii) We Need to Develop Skilled Guidance in Election Campaigns
We will work to develop the ability of leading party organizations to provide good and skilled guidance in election campaigns through early and systematic planning. To achieve advancement in opposition parties’ joint struggles and the JCP’s advance simultaneously, as well as to promote the election activities where “party branches would play major roles,” it is urgently necessary for the party organs to increase their expertise in guiding party branches and members in election campaigns and to pass on accumulated knowledge and skills to the younger members and supporters. For this, we will seek cooperation from the party’s part-time officials to establish and consolidate systems to carry out election campaigns.
The Central Committee will also increase its efforts in this regard.
(4) The Whole Party Should Work Together to Explore Uncharted Territory to Achieve Victory
As indicated in the revised program, the JCP’s global role in working for progressive social reform in a developed capitalist country is quite important.
Our current attempt to defeat the reactionary regime and achieve a new government through joint struggle of concerned citizens and opposition parties united, including some nominally conservative forces, is an unprecedented and unique undertaking in the world.
Let us of work together to explore this uncharted territory to achieve success.
In two and half years, the JCP will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. By then, both the general elections and the House of Councillors election will have been held. By achieving victories in the joint struggles of citizens and opposition parties as well as achieving JCP a major advance, we will make treat these elections as historic opportunities to open the door to a coalition government of opposition parties.
Let us build a party strong enough to achieve victory under any political situation. Toward the 100th anniversary of the party’s founding, let us achieve a great victory to open the door to a new government replacing the out-of-date LDP politics.
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