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JCP chief Shii pledges all-out effort to create stronger opposition coalition

JIJI

Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii says he is willing to make all-out efforts to strengthen alliances with the other opposition forces, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, ahead of the 2019 Upper House election.

“We will do our utmost to develop the coalition between citizens and opposition parties into a full-fledged united front,” Shii said at the party’s two-day Central Committee general meeting Saturday at JCP headquarters in Tokyo.

But Shii also said his party would not unilaterally withdraw its candidates without a policy accord on single-seat constituencies in the race.

While stressing that the JCP will spare no effort to oust Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative Liberal Democratic Party from power and establish a coalition government among the opposition parties, Shii said the JCP would seek a mutually supportive alliance.

A united victory and an expansion of the JCP’s presence are both attainable, he said in the speech.

The JCP withdrew its candidates from almost all 32 single-seat constituencies in the previous Upper House contest in 2016 after agreeing to cooperate with the Democratic Party and other forces. In October, it pulled candidates from 67 similar constituencies in the Lower House election to back candidates from the CDP and Social Democratic Party. But the mutual cooperation sought by the JCP did not come to pass.

Regarding the JCP’s poor showing in the last election, which saw it lose nine seats in the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, Shii admitted it had left them relatively powerless. Still, he hailed the CDP’s leap of faith as “the fruits of the alliance.”