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POLITICS > Elections

INTERVIEW: JCP seeks to reform politics via change of govt

Tokyo, Oct. 21 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Communist Party chief Kazuo Shii has vowed to reform the country’s politics through a change of government in the Oct. 31 House of Representatives election.


The administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, which was inaugurated Oct. 4, “has not reflected on past politics at all,” Shii said in a recent media interview. The politics controlled by Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga, the two immediate predecessors of Kishida, remains in place, “with only its cover replaced,” he said.


“Reforming the politics requires a change of government that puts the rule by the coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito to an end,” the opposition party leader said.


Through the general election for the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, the JCP will propose putting “four changes” into action, Shii said.


He specifically called for eliminating neoliberalism, in which the strong become stronger at the sacrifice of the weak, in a shift to politics that puts more weight on people’s lives and livelihoods than on anything else, overcoming the climate crisis and protecting the future of Earth, fully achieving gender equality in Japan, and promoting peace diplomacy utilizing pacifist Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution.


In the proportional representation blocs, the party aims to gain 8.5 million votes, or some 15 pct of all votes seen to be cast, Shii said. “We hope to obtain or increase seats in all 11 proportional representation blocs,” he said, adding that the JCP also seeks to “dramatically increase” its seats in single-seat constituencies.


Shii noted that the JCP and three other opposition parties–the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi–forged in early September an accord on common policies for the Lower House election through mediation by the Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism, a private-sector group.


He also pointed out that the CDP, the biggest opposition party, and the JCP agreed at a meeting between CDP leader Yukio Edano and Shii on Sept. 30 that the JCP will cooperate, from outside the cabinet in a limited way, with a possible opposition-led administration with the CDP at its center that could be formed after the general election, in order to execute the common policies.


The series of moves are “major breakthroughs,” Shii said.


The CDP in particular made “an important decision” to cooperate with the JCP for the management of a potential opposition-led administration, so the JCP needed to act reciprocally, Shii said, pointing out that his party has agreed with the CDP to unify candidates in certain single-seat constituencies for the general election.


Asked if the JCP will screen cabinet-sponsored bills before submission to the Diet as part of its non-cabinet cooperation, Shii said that the cooperation framework does not call for making the JCP responsible for the management of an opposition-led administration jointly with other parties by getting it involved in the review of all government bills in advance.


Both the CDP and the JCP are in agreement on this point, he said, adding that the JCP will offer cooperation from outside the cabinet only for the implementation of common policies.


But such common policies are expected to “fundamentally change Japan’s politics,” Shii said. “If an administration for which the JCP offers cooperation comes true, that would open a new chapter that is epoch-making in the country’s politics,” he said.

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