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Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii hopes his party will make a vigorous case against Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s reform drive, prospective tax hikes and moves to amend the pacifist Constitution as it braces for the Sept. 11 Lower House election.

Shii said Wednesday his party will campaign against postal privatization, arguing that many branches will be shut down and deprive ordinary people of convenient financial and life insurance services.

“It would have made sense (for Koizumi) to give up on the postal issue when the (privatization) bills were rejected by the Upper House (on Aug. 8),” Shii said in an interview. “Now that (he) has brought it up again to seek the judgment (of voters), we deem it an important issue and take our stand squarely against it.”

He also described Koizumi’s reform as being “designed to squeeze assets from people and let big businesses make a large profit.”

He said major businesses are making a massive profit while the Koizumi administration fails to address social security reform and job cuts.

He also lashed out against plans to gradually abolish tax deductions for salaried workers and said the party would oppose any hike in the 5 percent consumption tax.

He said the government should first stop wasting money on large public works projects and raise taxes on large corporations.

Shii also expressed opposition to ongoing moves by the major parties to revise the Constitution.

A constitutional amendment “means to turn (Japan) into a country that can go to war,” Shii said.

“To put it more simply, it would allow Japan to join the type of war the United States has engaged in in Iraq. We can never approve of that, and we’re determined to preserve the Constitution.”

Shii said Japan must instead attach greater importance to building friendly ties in Asia by atoning for its wartime aggression and colonial rule.

Shii ruled out the possibility of forming an alliance with the main opposition force, the Democratic Party of Japan, saying the DPJ is in the same boat as the Liberal Democratic Party when it comes to tax hikes and amending the Constitution.

“Between the LDP and the DPJ, (we) cannot say which is worse,” he said.

He went on to criticize the DPJ for attempting to eliminate the JCP from the Diet, because the DPJ’s campaign platform, which it terms its manifesto, calls for reducing the number of Lower House seats allocated to proportional representation blocs from the current 180 to 100. All nine JCP members in the Lower House had been elected via proportional representation.

Shii said the party is fielding 39 candidates in the proportional representation blocs and 276 in single-seat-constituencies. The JCP used to place candidates in all constituencies, but is now concentrating on districts where it has a better chance of winning.

For the upcoming election, the JCP has prepared what its boasting as its first manifesto, which repeats its opposition to amending the Constitution and to higher taxes.

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