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Shii says JCP will play loyal opposition role

by Alex Martin

Japanese Communist Party President Kazuo Shii said Tuesday that if the Democratic Party of Japan takes control of the Lower House his party intends to be a “constructive opposition party” that will cooperate when policies overlap but will remain a vocal critic on points of disagreement.

Speaking at a news conference in which the JCP unveiled its policy platform for the Aug. 30 election, Shii acknowledged that the political wind is blowing in the DPJ’s favor.

“It would be ideal if the JCP could participate in the next government — where we could realize our two key (campaign) pledges (featured in the manifesto) — but it’s a fact that it’s very likely that a DPJ-led government will be formed,” Shii said.

The JCP’s manifesto calls for a socioeconomic system that prioritizes the livelihood and rights of the people, as well as the realization of foreign policies based on Article 9 of the pacifist Constitution — including the abolishment of the Japan-U.S. security alliance and the removal of U.S. bases from Japanese territory.

Shii said the JCP intends to cooperate with the DPJ on certain policies, such as repealing the current health care policy that places a heavy financial burden on people over the age of 75.

However, he said the JCP had strong reservations about certain aspects of the DPJ’s platform.

Shii said that while the DPJ emphasizes putting an end to bureaucrat-controlled government, it is silent on how to correct the “political distortion” stemming from the emphasis on big business and the Japan-U.S. military alliance.

“This is a basic difference in our stances,” Shii said.