The Japanese Communist Party was inaugurated on July 15, 1922. The JCP today will celebrate its 95th anniversary while historic upheavals taking place both at home and abroad, such as the JCP victory in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election in contrast to the major defeat of the Liberal Democratic Party and the adoption of the first-ever UN treaty banning nuclear weapons. The road that the party has taken to open up a new era while indomitably working for people’s interests, peace, and democracy is a hallmark in its 95-year history. Taking this opportunity to celebrate and reflect on its history, the JCP renews its resolution to continue to carry out its mission to achieve a progressive change in politics together with as many people as possible working for a bright future.
Ninety-five years ago when the party was founded, human rights had been suppressed under the “absolute power of the Emperor” by the despotic government, which would be unimaginable at present. People’s freedom of speech had been prohibited. If anyone challenged the regime, they were relentlessly oppressed.
The JCP started out as an illegal political party. All throughout wartime, it was opposed to the war of aggression and to Japan’s colonial rule, and its members risked their lives fighting for peace, freedom, and democracy. Many JCP members were arrested, jailed or even tortured to death. The Potsdam Declaration that Japan accepted at the time of its defeat in the war recognizes that Japan had waged a war of aggression. The postwar Constitution stipulates the renunciation of war and the guarantee of people’s sovereignty. The pioneering role that the prewar JCP members courageously played is clearly manifested in these stipulations.
The present government led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo seeks to adversely revise this Constitution, and is attempting to drastically change the course Japan has taken based on the Constitution since the war’s end. The ruling coalition forcibly enacted the “anti-conspiracy” law regarded by many as a modern-day version of the notorious wartime Maintenance of Public Order Law. It is now going headlong into the revival of the past political system as seen in its attempt to reintroduce the “Imperial Rescript of Education”. Regarding the Abe regime’s “personalization of power” and its authoritarian tactics to pass whatever bills they want, many people, even conservatives, now express strong concern. This has been shaking the LDP support base. As a result, the LDP dramatically lost seats in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election.
The JCP advance in that race represents public trust in the party’s unwavering stance to straightforwardly stand up against the Abe’s runaway policies. The general public has high expectations of the JCP to boldly promote joint struggles together with concerned citizens and other opposition parties in order to bring down the Abe government.
Now with the unprecedented coming together of progressives and centrists is taking place, the JCP’s role and responsibility to promote a progressive agenda has become extremely important.