(Yomiuri: November 19, 2015 – p. 4)
In an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Chairman Kazuo Shii disclosed that the JCP could cancel its informal decisions on candidates for the House of Councillors election in order to cooperate with other opposition parties in the election campaign. Shii also stated that his party “would not attempt to change the emperor system at all,” even if opposition parties form “a national coalition government” with the aim of abolishing the security-related laws.
Question: What are differences between the idea of establishing “a national coalition government” this time around and the concept of forming “an interim coalition government” in the past?
Shii: In 1989, the JCP proposed the interim coalition government concept with the goal of repealing the consumption tax, banning cooperate donations, and preventing rice liberalization, but our proposal was not accepted. The major reason was policy among the Social Democratic Party of Japan, New Komeito, and Democratic Socialist Party to exclude the JCP. This time around, under the rise of an unprecedented national movement in opposition to the war legislation (security laws) has given impetus to the formation of a coalition of opposition parties. This is the first time in history that the JCP has even advocated that opposition parties agreeing to form a national coalition government should cooperate in an election campaign.
Q: Is the national coalition government an unprincipled political coalition, putting policy differences on the back burner?
Shii: If the opposition parties were able to reach agreement on basic policies, it would be possible to form a full-scale coalition government. In reality, that’s impossible. Yet shouldn’t opposition parties cooperate? Restoring constitutionalism and democracy by resolving the crisis of the destruction of constitutionalism (by the Abe administration) is a just cause [for politicians].
Q: Is it possible for your party to withdraw candidates for the Upper House election on which it has informally decided in an attempt to cooperate in the election with other parties?
Shii: Of course! We have gotten their consent in case the party leadership asks them to withdraw their candidacies. (Regional organizations also) welcome this. I think they will make utmost efforts.
Q: Your party narrowed down the number of candidates for the House of Representatives election in 2009 for financial reasons. Do you plan to do the same thing?
Shii: We don’t have such a plan. In 2009, we gave consideration to various issues such as the party’s political influence and financial issues. Today we have sufficient funds and party strength to field enough candidates across the nation.
Q: The JCP has said that it will freeze its policy of calling for the scrapping of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in the national coalition government. However, do you think operations of the
Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces will be carried out smoothly in the event of a contingency?
Shii: It’s possible. We have decided on a policy of utilizing the SDF in case of an imminent unlawful infringement on Japan’s sovereignty. I think we should discuss moving toward a a reduction of the sympathy budget (Japan’s burden sharing of costs for the stationing of the U.S. forces in Japan).
Q: What will be the JCP’s policies toward the emperor system, national flag, and national anthem?
Shii: I’m thinking that a decision on what to do with the emperor system should be made in the future. Since the national coalition government would be provisional, it would never attempt to change the emperor system. Our party was opposed to the national flag and national anthem bill, but this was enacted into law. A national coalition government would not call for a change to the present situation under which the Diet displays the national flag.
Q: How do you explain your party’s past policy of armed struggle?
Shii: Frankly speaking, the JCP’s formal organizations, conventions, and the central committee have never decided on a policy of carrying out a revolution by force of arms. After World War II, early in 1950, the Soviet Union and China outrageously forced a policy of armed struggle on the JCP. At that time, some JCP members did as they were told and divided the party. They then brought the armed struggle policy to Japan against the party’s decision at the convention. However, the armed struggle policy was not formally decided by the party. The splinter group made that decision. At the 8th convention in 1961, when the party decided on the party platform, the (the policy of armed struggle) was completely denounced.
Q: Is it possible the JCP will abandon its platform to achieve socialism or communism or chane its name?
Shii: No. Our policies indicate the limits of capitalism, which produces poverty and disparity.
We have no plan to abandon our ideals by changing the name of the party.