Japan’s Social Democratic Party moving HQ out of historic Tokyo building

JIJI

The Social Democratic Party on Saturday began moving its head office out of a historic building in central Tokyo that has served as its home for nearly half a century, because the structure could be demolished as early as March.

The small opposition party will set up its new headquarters in an office building near the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in the political heartland of Nagata-cho.

The now-defunct Japan Socialist Party, the predecessor to the SDP, moved into the seven-story structure near the Diet after it was built in 1964. In its heyday, the JSP was nicknamed “Miyakezaka” after a nearby slope.

The aging building’s entrance hall is graced by an imposing bust of Inejiro Asanuma, the former head of the JSP who was stabbed to death in 1960 while delivering a speech. As the 1-ton pedestal it currently rests has been deemed too heavy for the office building the SDP is relocating to, only the bust will be moved to the party’s new headquarters.

The office move is expected to be completed Sunday, although the bust of Asanuma will be transported in February at the earliest.

Speaking in front of photos of former party chiefs in her office, SDP President Mizuho Fukushima noted, “I have been watched over by my great predecessors.”

The SDP now counts only six Diet lawmakers among its ranks after losing three of its five Lower House seats in last month’s general election. “Our party aims to be reborn and to work hard,” Fukushima said.

Given the return to power of the Liberal Democratic Party on a rightwing policy platform, “it is important for us to deal with such issues as protecting the Constitution, liberalism and employment,” she stressed.