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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 December 23 - 2016 January 5  > Shii answers reporters’ questions on JCP decision to attend opening ceremony of the Diet
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2015 December 23 - 2016 January 5 [JCP]

Shii answers reporters’ questions on JCP decision to attend opening ceremony of the Diet

December 25, 2015
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on December 24 answered questions raised by reporters at a press conference regarding the change in the JCP stance regarding attending to the opening ceremony of the Diet. Following is the gist of the question-and-answer session.

Q: Could you explain why you consider the JCP’s decision to attend the opening ceremony of the Diet as a constructive step toward a reform of the ceremony?

Shii: Under a situation where the Emperor (Tenno) has been refraining from making a political statement at the opening ceremony, the JCP’s continuing absence would create a misunderstanding that the JCP skips the ceremony based on its stance to oppose the Emperor system. This makes it difficult for us to tell the people our intent that the JCP proposes a reform simply with the aim of ensuring a strict compliance with constitutional principles and provisions. If the JCP attends the ceremony, this will help to without ambiguity realize the true aim of the JCP proposal. In this context, I consider the JCP participation in the ceremony as a constructive step for achieving constructive change.

Q: Could you clarify why the current ceremony needs to be changed?

Shii: At present, in the ceremony, the Emperor delivers a message from the “raised platform” in the Upper House where his “throne” is situated. This style of ceremony totally goes against the spirit of the current Constitution and the constitutional principle of popular sovereignty, and thus should be revised.

Q: Why did you choose this moment to decide to change the party’s policy toward the opening ceremony? Is there any relation with the JCP proposal for a “national coalition government”?

Shii: As for the question about timing, there is no relation between the policy change this time and the current political situation. Looking at the Emperor’s statements made during the past three decades, we found that the Emperor made a practice of delivering his address in line with the Constitution.

Q: The policy change this time appears to be part of a process in which the JCP turns into an “ordinary” political party. Is that correct?

Shii: I don’t know how you define an “ordinary” political party. The JCP proposal for a democratic opening ceremony is made not from a position on how to change the government structure. The JCP is tenaciously maintaining its stance to strictly comply with the principles, spirit, and provisions of the current Constitution.

Q: Has the JCP never attended the opening ceremony since the first session of the Diet in the postwar period?

Shii: In 1947, some JCP lawmakers attended the opening ceremony of the first session of the Diet under the new Constitution. Based on their reports and assessments, the JCP has been absent from the ceremony ever since.

Q: Could you explain the JCP view on monarchy?

Shii: The new program of the JCP which was adopted in 2004 does not describe the current Tenno system as monarchism.

The Japanese Constitution states that the Emperor “shall not have powers related to government”. Then, is there a “monarch” who has no powers related to government? There is not such a “monarch” in the world. As the JCP Program notes that Japan’s political system is based on the sovereignty of the people, it is obvious that Japan is no longer a “monarchy”.

The JCP policy on the present Tenno system is as follows: the JCP calls for the constitutional provisions restricting the role of the Emperor to be strictly implemented, including the one that the Emperor ‘shall not have powers related to government’, and correct deviations from constitutional provisions and spirit, including the political use of the Emperor.”

As to the course of development of Japanese society, the JCP Program states: The JCP maintains that the present hereditary system allowing an individual to be the symbol of “the unity of the people” contradicts democracy and the principle that all people are equal, and that the consistent implementation of the principle of popular sovereignty calls for a political system to be established under a democratic republic. The Emperor system is a system provided for by the Constitution, and its continuation or discontinuation should be decided by the will of the majority of the people in future, when the time is ripe to do so.

This is the JCP view in regard to the current Tenno system.

PROGRAM OF THE JAPANESE COMMUNIST PARTY
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