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The Japanese Communist Party is the oldest political party in the country. It’s the largest nonruling Communist party in the world. It’s harshly critical of China. And the Japanese authorities list it, along with the Islamic State group and North Korea, as a threat to national security.

To many in Japan, that comparison seems exaggerated. The JCP, which long ago abandoned Marx and Lenin and never really had time for Stalin or Mao, is about as radical as a beige cardigan: anti-war, pro-democracy, pro-economic equality.

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