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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 21 - 27  > Is JCP more conservative than LDP?: satellite TV program
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2018 November 21 - 27 TOP3 [JCP]

Is JCP more conservative than LDP?: satellite TV program

November 22, 2018

How do young people perceive the Japanese Communist Party? Is the JCP conservative? These were topics in a BS-TBS program broadcast on November 20 with JCP Chair Shii Kazuo in the studio.

News anchor Matsubara Koji, at the beginning of the political talk show "Hodo 1930", presented the results of on-the-street interviews with 50 University of Tokyo students about their image of the JCP.

According to their impressions, the JCP is: consistent; presents reasonable arguments; a hard worker for the vulnerable; carries very little weight in politics; and should be renamed to be easily accepted. Regarding the party they support, 14 students answered they support the Liberal Democratic Party, 5 support the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and 2 the Democratic Party for the People. No students in the survey supported the JCP or the Komei, and 29 said they do not support any political party.

Commenting on these results, JCP Chair Shii said, "Opposition parties, including the JCP, must try even harder to inform the younger generations that we are a solid alternative to the LDP so that those who support the LDP at present or who do not support any party will change their minds."

Is JCP more conservative than LDP?

In the studio, another survey also became a topic for discussion. Last year, Yomiuri Shimbun and Waseda University jointly conducted a survey which showed that younger voters were more likely to believe that the JCP is more conservative than the LDP.

Shii said, "We have been making efforts to 'protect' the Constitution's war-renouncing Article 9, workers' human rights, people's living conditions, small- and medium-sized companies, and the country's agriculture. To the young, maybe the term 'protect' sounds conservative. In order to 'protect' them, however, we need to 'change' politics."

In connection with "change", political commentator Tsutsumi Shinsuke, while referring to the JCP's effort to boost cooperation between opposition parties, said, "I think the JCP made the most notable 'change' among all political parties after Prime Minister Abe made his comeback in 2012."

Another commentator Takayasu Kensuke, professor at Seikei University, in regard to the "conservative" label to which young people are using, said, "These young people do not necessarily want Japan to remain unchanged. They have a positive image of 'changes'," implying a possible increase in the support rate for the JCP among young people.

Young people in America and UK put huge question mark on capitalism

Commentator Tsutsumi pointed out that amid the worldwide spread of inequalities, more and more young people have become positive about socialism.

In response, Shii said that the results of the recent Gallup poll of U.S. citizens are quite interesting.

In the opinion poll, asked about which is the preferred economic system, capitalism or socialism, 51% of the people aged between 18 and 29 chose socialism while 45% chose capitalism.

Stating another interesting fact, Shii cited that in Britain, the leftist Jeremy Corbyn-led Labor Party made a great advance in the general election in June last year. Shii said that the opinion survey was conducted in the same month of the election and that regarding the question of whether a socialist government will make Britain better if it is established, 43% of the respondents said “Yes” and 36% said “No”.

Shii: Young people not only in America but also in Britain cast doubt on the benefits of capitalism. They have yet to refine their views on socialism. However, they have recognized that poverty, socioeconomic disparities, and other problems that they are now facing chiefly stem from the capitalist (free-market) economic system. These young people began thinking that capitalism won’t do, putting a huge question mark on this economic system.

Is JCP out of touch with reality?

Program MC Matsubara said, "Many people know that the JCP position certainly makes sense, but most of them think that the JCP is out of touch with reality or that its policies have no feasibility."

Shii in response said, "We understand people's concern about the feasibility because to realize our policies the party must be a majority in the Diet, but if opposition parties cooperate together and obtain a majority in the Diet, what our party has been calling for may become possible."

Shii, however, added, "Our party has a transformative vision for the future, and maybe this cannot be accepted by other opposition parties. So, for the time being, we will promote collaboration among opposition parties on pressing issues we can agree on."

He said, "For example, opposition parties, including the JCP, already submitted a 'zero-nuclear power' bill jointly to the Diet. If we, opposition parties, band together and succeed in forming a parliamentary majority, we will be able to make Japan nuclear-free."

"So," he continued to say, "Our party must make much more efforts so that people can be aware of the feasibility of implementing policies: A JCP advance in elections in addition to a success of joint struggles of opposition parties will make it possible to realize various policies agreed on among opposition parties."

In closing, Shii said, "For young people, it is a matter of course to 'protect' their livelihoods now and into the future. In this sense, a 'conservative' doesn't sound negative. We will work harder to reach out to these young people who want to 'protect' their life prospects. At the same time, we hope that young voters will see the JCP as a party seeking a big 'change' and transformation in politics."
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