Shii on communism, SDF, and Emperor system

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party, 8 July 2003

The draft revised Program of the Japanese Communist Party has attracted media attention, mainly on the question of socialism/communism and JCP policy toward the Self-Defense Forces and the Emperor system.

On July 6, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo answered questions on these issues on the TV talk show Sunday Project.

Answering talk show host Tawara Soichiro's question why the JCP adheres to communism, Shii stated:

Look at the world in the span of the 21st century and there are many problems that pose the question whether the capitalist system can continue to exist. The process of globalization distressingly widens the gap between rich and poor; speculations in financial and foreign exchange markets are causing many problems; governments are unable to deal with the rising unemployment rate and the economic recession; and environmental destruction caused by the destruction of the ozone layer and carbon dioxide gas emissions is worsening. The question now is: Can human kind survive the 21st century under the present system?

We have the view that capitalism is not everlasting and that humanity has the strength to proceed into a future society by overcoming these problems.

The key to resolving the contradictions is socialization of the means of production. Today, huge means of production are used to yield larger profits. It is from this that many contradictions arise. We are proposing that the means of production be used for the benefit of society as a whole and that the means of production should be controlled and administered by society.

In the former Soviet Union, a ‘nationalization’ of the means of production took place. But there was no ‘socialization’ of the means of production in the true sense of the word. ‘Socialization’ requires that producers control and administer production. In other words, producers must be the key players in production.


Using a flip chart showing differences between the current JCP Program and the draft of the revised program, Tawara asked: The JCP is going to approve the Self-Defense Forces, is that correct?

Shii stated: The JCP view that the SDF is unconstitutional remains unchanged. However, disbanding the SDF cannot be done in a short period of time. A certain process is needed to accomplish that. For example, even if the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is successfully abrogated, it does not directly mean that the SDF can be dismantled right away.

The JCP proposes disbanding the SDF only after a democratic government abrogates the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and establishes peaceful relations with foreign countries and when the majority of the people are convinced that Japan will be safe even without military forces.

Emperor system

Tawara asked questions about what to do with Japan's emperor system. The current JCP Program calls for the abolition of Japan's monarchy. The draft revised JCP Program, however, states that whether Japan should continue or discontinue the emperor system should be decided by the general will of the Japanese people. Tawara asked Shii about this change.

Shii explained the JCP position on the emperor as follows:

First, a close analysis of the Japanese Constitution will show you that Japan's emperor is not a monarch in that the Constitution provides that ‘he shall not have powers related to government.’

Second, in future, the present constitutional provision that a particular person or a particular family is ‘the symbol of the unity of the people’ is incompatible with democracy or with the principle that all men are equal. This is how the JCP maintains that the emperor system should be abolished in the future.

Third, the present task is to strictly defend all constitutional clauses, and the one that provides that the emperor ‘shall not have powers related to government', should be strictly observed. In a word, the JCP considers that the system can be allowed to coexist for now.

Shii went on to say:

Until the end of World War II in 1945, the emperor maintained absolute power. Any social changes were impossible without overthrowing the emperor system. The emperor in the postwar era, however, has no political powers. Therefore, the existence of the emperor does not contradict the abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the ability to carry out other social changes. The proposed revision of the JCP Program reflects these differences.