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JCP steps up its anti-nuclear, anti-base stance

  • 2016-01-22 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: January 22, 2016 – p. 5)

 

 Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Chairman Kazuo Shii seemed anxious at his regular press conference held on Jan. 14. Four times in about 30 minutes, he reiterated his desire to “strongly call for launching discussions” with other opposition parties.

 

 The discussions that Shii was referring to are related to cooperation with other opposition parties in the House of Councillors election this summer based on the idea of opposition parties joining forces and forming a “people’s coalition government.” Four months have passed since the JCP proposed the idea. The largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) remains reluctant to cooperate with the JCP on selecting candidates for single-seat constituencies.

 

 DPJ President Katsuya Okada initially praised the initiative as a “bold proposal.” But there remains an aversion to the JCP within the DPJ, and former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has described the party as a “termite.” Okada has recently begun stating explicitly that cooperation with the JCP would be “difficult.”

 

 When Shii was criticizing the security legislation on a TV Tokyo program last November, he said, “North Korea doesn’t pose any real danger.” After North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6 this month, Shii criticized the behavior as “outrageous” but did not use the term “threat.” There is no doubt that North Korea poses a threat to Japan, irrespective of its latest nuclear test. These examples reflect the JCP’s true colors.

 

 The other opposition parties are reluctant to work with a party that embraces such views and is eager to take the reins of power. On a BS Asahi’s TV program on Jan 15, Okada expressed a skeptical view about the idea of a “people’s coalition government” by saying, “I wonder if a people’s coalition government could respond appropriately to an emergency situation.” He went on to say, “The JCP’s perspectives on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) are out of touch.”

 

 The “Osaka double election” in November last year demonstrated that cooperation with the JCP in elections could have a negative impact. The JCP supported candidates endorsed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and they were not elected. But Shii continues to promote the idea, because he is proud that the JCP made the first move ahead of the DPJ.

 

 The JCP’s success in elections is also giving the party a boost. The party increased its seats from 3 to 8 in the House of Councillors election in 2013, and from 8 to 21 in the House of Representatives election in 2014. As a result of the unified local election last April, the JCP holds seats in every prefectural assembly. The party will most likely increase its seats in the upcoming Upper House election this summer compared to the 3 seats it won in the 2010 election.

 

 “What’s happening in Okinawa is fundamentally the same as the war legislation in that it desecrates constitutionalism. We will never accept the legislation,” said Shii at a rally against the security legislation organized by SEALDs on Dec. 6 last year. The JCP is eager to cooperate with other opposition parties to oppose the issue of relocating the Futenma base (in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture), the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the resumption of nuclear plants, and the next consumption tax hike. The idea of a people’s coalition government, however, was originally supposed to be only about scrapping the security legislation.

 

 Former JCP Chairman Tetsuzo Fuwa said at the Japan National Press Club on Nov. 24 that the idea is “extremely powerful.” He went on to say: “We should be persistent and not get impatient. The decision adopted in the party convention says that the party will establish a ‘democratic coalition government’ in the early twenty-first century.”

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