Communist Party drops ‘revolution’ call

Major changes to JCP's platform include accepting Emperor system


The Japanese Communist Party adopted a new platform on the final day of its convention Saturday, dropping its calls for a “socialist revolution” and effectively putting to rest the party’s opposition to the Emperor system.

All but one of the 1,006 delegates to the convention, which is held every three years, voted for the new platform, the first major change to the party’s program since 1961.

According to party officials, it is the first time since the 1961 convention that anyone had clearly voted against proposals put forward by the leadership.

The delegate, who was not identified but said he was from Kyoto, said he did not necessarily oppose the new platform, but felt that the original one presented the ideals of the party more clearly.

The new platform has removed traditional communist slogans such as “national vanguard party,” while emphasizing the need for democratic reform.

“What is needed in Japanese society now is not a socialist revolution, but democratic reform that is achievable within the framework of capitalism,” the platform says.

The platform says it takes a national consensus to “move forward” to socialism and communism and the party, if it won power, would maintain a multiparty political system under which opposition parties exist and transfers of power take place through elections.

It also says that the Emperor system is a “system based upon the Constitution” and that the JCP will accept it for now.

“Whether the system should continue to exist or to be abolished should be decided by the consensus of the Japanese people when the time is right,” the platform says.

The JCP also vowed to recover from its setbacks in recent elections. It plans to adopt a strategy to gain five “must-win” seats in proportional representation districts in the House of Councilors election in July.

The move appears to be a desperate bid for survival by the JCP, which was dealt a serious blow in the House of Representatives election in November, when it lost 11 of the 20 seats it had held in the Lower House.

The revised platform adds the final touches to what is considered the “realistic and soft approach” that has been pursued under the leadership of Tetsuzo Fuwa, chairman of the party’s Central Committee.

“The structures we really must correct are Japan’s extraordinary subjugation to the United States and the exploitation and control of people by major enterprises and business circles,” Fuwa told the convention.

Kazuo Shii, chairman of the JCP Executive Committee, said, “The issue is how much we can increase our power in the Diet to save (the war-renouncing) Article 9 of the Constitution.”

There are presently moves within the government to revise the Constitution.

The JCP did not directly voice opposition to the Self-Defense Forces, but it did indicate there is a need to abolish the armed forces based on public consensus in line with the pacifist Constitution.

The party, which currently has 400,000 registered members, vowed to raise the membership to 500,000 by 2005. It also plans to increase the number of subscribers to its daily newspaper, Shimbun Akahata, by 30 percent. According to JCP figures, 2 million households subscribe to the newspaper at present.

The convention also endorsed the executive positions of the party’s top four officials.