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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 January 16 - 22  > JCP publishes platform for upcoming nationwide simultaneous local elections
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2019 January 16 - 22 TOP3 [JCP]

JCP publishes platform for upcoming nationwide simultaneous local elections

January, 19, 2019

Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission Chair Kasai Akira on January 18 held a press conference in the Diet building and announced the publication of the party’s platform for the upcoming nationwide simultaneous local elections, entitled “For a hopeful living, let us join hands to change politics.”

Concerning the local elections slated for April, Kasai said, “The role of municipal governments is not to act as a ‘subcontractor’ of the national government but to promote residents’ welfare and provide support for education and child rearing. This will become a major issue.” He added, “The April local elections will also be a good opportunity to deliver a severe verdict to the arrogant Abe government and create a new government.”

Kasai explained that the election platform also touches on issues of national politics. He pointed out that the manifesto underscores the need to say “No” to the Abe government using high-handed and deceptive tactics as well as to generate a powerful force with a JCP advance which will promote joint efforts between opposition parties and concerned citizens calling for political reforms. Kasai said that representing people’s opposition to the planned consumption tax rate hike to 10%, the JCP in the election platform provides a five-point economic policy proposal giving priority to people’s livelihoods. In addition, Kasai pointed out that the platform includes five emergency proposals for peace which aim to block the Abe government’s moves to create a war-fighting nation with a massive military buildup, huge purchases of U.S.-made weapons, and an attempt to undermine the pacifist nature of Article 9 of the Constitution. Furthermore, Kasai stressed that the party in the platform promises to work to stop the government from pushing forward with the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa and rectify the current situation regarding U.S. bases across the country; promote the shift to renewable energy sources in order to create a nuclear power-free Japan; and push the government to negotiate with Russia over the territorial issue from the viewpoint of correcting the unjust postwar disposition.

In regard to local politics, Kasai stressed that the party manifesto proposes four reforms as measures to revitalize local communities and prevent the Abe government from implementing policies that would lead to draining out energy from local communities. Kasai criticized the Abe government for hurting local governments through various policies such as cuts in national government spending on social insurance programs, which accelerate the decline of regional areas. Kasai said, “In the upcoming local elections, we will make the point that the choice lies between the anti-people Liberal Democratic and Komei block which seeks to cut down on local governments’ spending on welfare and livelihood support programs in line with the national government’s policies and the JCP which makes efforts to have local governments do what they should do to play a role as a force working to at least partially rectify the anti-people policies of the Abe government.”

In order to restore local economies, the first reform will be to have each local government improve its welfare, childrearing and livelihoods support programs to provide relief from the national policies amounting to maladministration. Currently, however, most local governments persist in not touching their reserve funds. The JCP manifesto, Kasai explained, proposes using these reserve funds to meet the needs of residents.

Second is putting an end to dependence on large public works projects, including the establishment of casinos, and instead shifting to the promotion and activation of local businesses by taking advantage of the unique features of each locality. In line with the "Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" adopted by the UNGA, more active efforts have been called for. Kasai said that Japanese local governments should make a shift in their present policies to ones doing away with wasteful uses of tax money which give no heed to residents and ones boosting local consumption, local industries, and small-and mid-sized businesses.

Third is implementing measures to significantly improve disaster preparedness and victims relief programs. Eight years ago, a major earthquake hit Japan's northeast prefectures. After that, a spate of natural disasters occurred in other parts of the nation. Kasai said, "A drastic shift is necessary in preparing against disasters which is not just an extension of conventional anti-disaster measures."

The fourth reform should be a reform in local administrations and assemblies so that residents' demands are heard. The JCP manifesto declares that JCP assemblypersons, if elected, will work to ensure women's equal participation in local politics, policy-making, and decision-making processes. They will also work to implement more active measures to not allow hate speech, including discrimination against LGBTQ people, as well as to protect democracy and fundamental human rights.

Kasai, in sum, stressed how important an increase in JCP seats will be in local assemblies. He said that JCP assembypersons together with local residents always work hard for community betterment, and that the party will make every possible effort to reach out to people. To this end, "I myself will do my best to win support from as many voters as possible to maintain or increase the number of JCP seats in local assemblies."
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