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2ND LD: JCP revamps 'revolutionary' platform, accepts emperor system.

ATAMI, Japan, Jan. 17 Kyodo


The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) adopted a new platform at on the final day of a party convention on Saturday, dropping its aims to bring about a ''socialist revolution'' in Japan and effectively putting to rest the party's opposition to the emperor system.

All but one of the 1,006 delegates to the convention, which is held every three years, voted for the new platform in the first major change to the party's program since 1961.

The new platform has removed traditional communist slogans such as ''national vanguard party,'' while stressing the need for democratic reform.

''What is needed in the Japanese society now, is not a socialist revolution, but democratic reform that is achievable within the framework of capitalism,'' the platform says.

The platform says it takes a national consensus to ''move forward'' to socialism and communism, and vows to maintain a multiparty political system under which opposition parties exist and power transfers will take place through elections.

It also says that the emperor system is a ''system based upon the Constitution'' and that the JCP will accept it for now.

''Whether the system should continue to exist or to be abolished should be decided by the consensus of the Japanese people when the time is right,'' the platform says.

The JCP also vowed to recover from setbacks in recent elections. It plans to adopt a strategy to gain five ''must-win'' seats in proportional representation districts in the House of Councillors election in July.

The move appears to be a desperate bid for survival by the JCP, which took a serious blow in the House of Representatives election last November where it lost 11 of the 20 seats it had held in the lower house.

The revised platform adds the final touches on what is considered ''realistic and soft approach'' that has been pursued under the leadership of Tetsuzo Fuwa, chairman of the party's Central Committee.

''The structures we really must correct are Japan's extraordinary subjugation to the United States and the exploitation and control of people by the major enterprises and business circles,'' Fuwa said at the convention.

Kazuo Shii, chairman of the JCP Executive Committee, said, ''The issue is how much we can increase our power in the Diet to save Article 9 of the Constitution.''

There are now moves within the government to revise the Constitution.

The JCP did not directly voice opposition to the Self-Defense Forces. But it did indicate the need to abolish the armed forces based on public consensus in line with the war-renouncing Constitution.

The party, which currently has 400,000 registered members, vowed to raise the membership to 500,000 by 2005. It also plans to boost the number subscribers to its daily Shimbun Akahata by 30%. According to JCP figures, the Akahata has 2 million household subscribers.

The convention also endorsed the executive positions of the party's top four officials.

The 23rd JCP convention, which opened Tuesday, was held at the hot-spring resort of Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Jan 26, 2004
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