(Sankei: January 21, 2016 – p. 13)
By Makoto Sakai
The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) held “a New Year’s party” on Jan. 4 at its headquarters in Yoyogi, Tokyo. “Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s leadership, the Liberal Democratic Party has become a far-right political party,” said Chairman Kazuo Shii. “The Abe administration looks strong at first glance but in reality is fragile and weak.”
The JCP criticizes the administration at its New Year’s party every year, but Shii’s remarks this year were out of pattern. When the Diet passed the security legislation on Sept. 19 last year, the JCP held “the 4th central committee general assembly” and decided on an initiative to form “the national coalition government” solely for the purpose of repealing “the war legislation” and the Cabinet decision that allowed the right to exercise collective self-defense. With the initiative, the JCP intends to cooperate with other opposition parties in upcoming national elections to form a coalitional government.
“If opposition parties organize across party lines, we will surely overthrow the Abe administration,” said Shii. “We will surround, corner, and make the administration resign; this year will be a turning point in politics.”
Thus Shii called for forming a united front with other opposition parties at a New Year’s party following the JCP’s decision on the initiative. Shii made these remarks as if he had forgotten that the JCP had adopted in January 2014 a resolution of “confrontation between the JCP and the LDP” in the 26th party convention. The party adopted this immediately after the Democratic Party of Japan lost power.
The JCP called for “a united coalition government” 40 years ago
All political parties base their activities on their platforms. Formed in 1922, the JCP is 94 years old, the oldest political party in Japan. The party was illegal before World War II. The JCP has revised its platform to keep pace with the times.
Although the initiative to form a national coalition government attracted the media’s attention, the idea was not new. In 1973, the party proposed the same idea under the name “democratic coalition government.”
The JCP made the current platform in January 2004 by revising the previous one in the 23rd party convention. The platform bears the title “Democratic revolution and democratic coalition government.” With this platform, the party “will first form a united front within the framework of the goal acceptable to the JCP and next do its utmost to establish a united front government.” If this platform is applied to the current circumstances, “the acceptable goal” will be to abolish the security legislation. In this sense, Shii faithfully complies with the platform.
The line below the title of the platform, however, refers to the abolishment of Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. As for the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), the platform mentions that with the public’s consensus, the party will aim to fully implement Article 9 of the Constitution to move forward (for the dissolution of the SDF).
In the initiative this time, Shii expressed the view that the party will “put aside” core goals such as the abolishment of Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the dissolution of the SDF and will not make them conditions for forming a national coalition government.
The JCP called for establishing a provisional coalition government in the past. When the party won about 8.19 million votes, the most ever, for proportional representation in the House of Councillors election in 1998, then Chairman Tetsuzo Fuwa began to emphasize the participation in opposition parties’ provisional coalition government. “The Japanese Communist Party will freeze the issues related to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty if the party joins a provisional coalition government,” said Fuwa in the Akahata newspaper dated Aug. 25, 1998. This time too, the JCP will only freeze, not abandon, the policy to abolish the security treaty.
Security agencies watch the JCP
After the New Year’s party on Jan. 4, Shii headed for the Upper House Chamber to attend the opening ceremony for the ordinary Diet session. Though Shii is a Lower House member, he went there to participate in a ceremony with the Emperor’s presence. The JCP has criticized the Imperial Household system. This was the first time the party participated in the ceremony.
This is obviously JCP’s way to demonstrate a soft line and dispel “the allergy to the JCP” in order to achieve the initiative. The party platform maintains that “the articles on the Emperor run counter to democracy,” which indicates that the JCP is essentially unchanged.
In September 2004, shortly after the JCP adopted the current platform, the National Police Agency (NPA) issued the 269th issue of its periodical “Focus,” whose cover article was entitled “The Public Security Police over 50 years.” The periodical explained that “the Japanese Communist Party adheres to a policy of revolution by force.” Every year, the Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) publishes “Review of and Outlook for Internal and External Situations” on its homepage. The publication continues to report on JCP activities along with radical leftist and rightwing groups.
A DPJ official said: “I read the JCP platform. There is no way to work with the party.” Unless the JCP fundamentally changes its platform, the united front with opposition parties will not likely take place as the JCP wishes. (Slightly Abridged)