DON’T OVERLOOK DANGER OF TIE-UP BETWEEN COMMUNISTS AND CDP
Opposition parties in Japan, including the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP), see the October 31 Lower House election as simply a contest to “select the next administration.” On the other hand, Akira Amari, Secretary General of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), sees it as an epic battle between two very different systems of government. Amari said on October 15: “Which one of the systems would you choose—a government of liberalism and democracy or a government incorporating communism?” I think Amari has hit the nail on the head.
The Japan Communist Party (JCP), a minority party with only 12 seats in the 465-seat Lower House when it was dissolved on October 14, is seeking to forge an electoral alliance with the main opposition CDP (110 seats) on condition that it would cooperate with a possible CDP-led government “from outside the cabinet” in a limited way. (The LDP had 275 seats and its junior partner Komeito Party 29.) Japan would then have its first administration with the JCP participating. What does “cooperation from outside the cabinet” mean? Explained Ms Sanae Takaichi, chair of the LDP’s Policy Research Council when she appeared as a guest on my Friday prime time “Genron” Internet news show:
“In the last Lower House election four years ago, the JCP developed vigorous nationwide campaigns. This time the CDP is borrowing many campaign workers from the JCP camp for free and will be getting JCP supporters to vote for CDP candidates. In that case, the CDP will understandably be compelled to heed what the JCP will have to say about certain policies if it wins. Through that process, the two parties are expected to become more closely integrated. Although a CDP administration would not include cabinet ministers from the JCP, members of both parties would be coming into line in Diet sessions, voting for or against bills in unison. In other words, they cannot be underestimated as a potentially powerful united force in the legislature.”
This electoral alliance, in which the two parties would collaborate virtually as a unified party, would likely be the first step toward the CDP being ultimately brought under the JCP’s control. This would seem obvious from the tactics the JCP once employed in its attempt to control the now defunct Japan Socialist Party (JSP). In a booklet entitled Prospects for People’s Democracy in Japan, Ritsu Ito, who was a member of the JCP’s politburo, wrote a thesis advocating a takeover of the JCP. At the time, JCP operatives clandestinely played havoc with the JSP, according to Terrifying Ambitions of the Japan Communist Party by Shohei Umezawa (Tenden-sha, Tokyo; 2020).
Vowing to defeat the LDP-Komeito coalition government, the CDP and the JCP have agreed to throw their combined support behind the same candidates in 220 of a total of 289 single-seat constituencies. Prior to the agreement, the JCP had hoped to garner more than 8.5 million votes (more than 15% of the total) in proportionally represented constituencies. But this time, the JCP has put aside that plan, putting everything into its cooperation with the CDP. JCP Chairman Kazuo Shii, who in 2018 appealed to opposition leaders to join together “to form a united front for real,” is putting his political life on the line.
JCP Committed to Abolishing Imperial Household
In spite of the agreement, the two parties are completely out of sync with each other when it comes to crucial policies—national defense, for instance. The JCP platform stipulates that it will scrap the US-Japan Security Treaty when it came to power, adding that its administration will “have the US withdraw its armed forces and military bases from Japan” and that Japan will “not join any military alliance, joining the Non-Aligned Movement instead.”
Because the JCP is committed to abrogating the Security Treaty and reducing it to a mere “treaty of friendship” with no military elements attached, Japan’s security policy would undoubtedly fall into great chaos.
As regards the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), the JCP proclaims that it “will drive itself forward toward a complete implementation of Article 9” of Japan’s “peace” constitution.
Clause 2 of the article specifies:‟…land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.” The JSDF would be disbanded should Article 9 be implemented stringently, if one interprets the platform literally.
In a related development, the news that China successfully launched a hypersonic missile in August made headlines around the world. The missile reported orbited the earth, sped towards its target, and missed it by about 30 kilometers (approximately 20 miles), paving the way for China attacking the US across the South Pole. As China engages in an endless military buildup, Japan under the constraints of Article 9 cannot but continue to turn heavily to its military alliance with America for its national defense. Postwar Japan has barely been able to protect itself thanks largely to America’s commitment to its defense. How does the JCP intend to safeguard our peace and security by doing away with the US-Japan alliance and the JSDF?
The JCP claims it no longer argues for an abrogation of the US-Japan Security Treaty—an extreme argument it has strongly pressed before—nor is it upholding a disbanding of the JSDF. The party also emphasizes that it will not demand that the CDP practice what it preaches in its platform. But the JCP’s words can hardly be trusted until it changes its platform. I suspect the party’s real intention is to strive to fulfill its platform when it became powerful enough to take power. Now simply isn’t the right time for the party to take that action.
I view the JCP and the Chinese Communist Party as twins, of sorts. The latter has assured the US and Japan that it will not become a hostile force, but it has continued to deceive the world with its “hide your strength, bide your time” strategy. The Western world, including the US and Japan, trusted China in paving the way for its entry into the framework of the international community through such entities as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). But China began to reveal its true character as its economy grew, and it is now attempting to coercively change the existing world order.
Another point one should not neglect is the frightening plank in the JCP platform regarding the status of the Imperial Household. The JCP position runs counter to the sentiments held toward the Imperial Household by several hundred generations of Japanese over the long history of this nation. Referring to the Imperial Household as “the imperial system” (an expression coined by the Communist International), the platform claims:
“The current imperial system, under which an individual becomes the symbol of this nation by hereditary succession, is not compatible with the principles of democracy and human equality” and “its maintenance or abolition should be determined by the collective will of the Japanese people when a suitable opportunity presents itself in the future.” That presumably would mean that the JCP would get rid of the Imperial Household if it took the reigns of the government.
JCP Object of Anti-Subversive Act Investigation
The JCP has a “theory of action” based on how its adversaries act. Explained Umezawa, the afore-mentioned author who now serves as an emeritus professor at Shobi University in Saitama Prefecture:
“The JCP dictates that in trying to win power it is free to choose between a violent revolution and regular Diet deliberations, as it depends on the actions of its adversaries. Kenji Miyamoto, who led the JCP for 40 years as secretary general until 1982, wrote in the January 4, 1958 issue of its party organ Akahata (Red Flag) that ‘As Lenin said, the specific means of action to be taken against our adversaries is not something to be written on paper.’”
The JCP has thus operated without laying its cards on the table. But this year, the JCP’s Shii started a campaign to spread the message that the JCP no longer is bound by their “theory of action.” Umezawa explained:
“If Shii really means what he says, he should start by apologizing to the people of Japan for the mistaken party strategy pushed by Miyamoto and Tetsuzo Fuwa (who succeeded Miyamoto in 1982). The reason that the JCP is subject to investigation for possible violation of the Subversive Activities Prevention Act to this day is that the Public Security Intelligence Agency believes that the party has yet to discard its “theory of action.” The JCP is desperately trying to shatter this obstacle.”
If a CDP administration in a virtual coalition with the JCP should come into being, we will more clearly discern the dark shadow of the JCP. For instance, Umezawa notes that the JCP has not completely broken off its relations with the CCP, which has been sternly criticized by the world over its genocide of Muslim Uyghurs. The Communist Parties of Japan and China severed relations in 1966 after Miyamoto and Mao Zedong clashed fiercely over the latter’s method of armed revolution. The parties made up 32 years later, in 1998. The JCP can be said to be the only party in Japan today that maintains formal ties with the CCP. Also, while advocating the freedom of speech, the JCP effectively suppresses it under the so-called “democratic centralism” it practices.
What stand does the JCP take now on the relationship between its “theory of action” and a violent revolution? One never runs out of questions, as the shadow of the JCP is indeed dark. That is why each and every one of us must think very carefully when we vote on October 31.
(Translated from “Renaissance Japan” column no. 972 in the October 28 issue of The Weekly Shincho)