The Japanese Communist Party struggles to shake the image linked to its name

Thanks to global coverage of the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential race last month, the coalition of opposition parties that have formed in anticipation of the upcoming Lower House elections has so far attracted few people. media attention.

This disinterest is perhaps less professional laziness than the conviction that the opposition has nothing to offer, because they are unlikely to come to power. The LDP presidential election, however, was important because the winner would be the prime minister, even if only a tiny fraction of the general electorate voted.

One coalition member, the Communist Party of Japan, drew attention on his own, but he was negative, which is to be expected. The party could probably solve half of its image problems if it changed its name, because over the years it has abandoned all the dogmas and doctrines it once followed that were associated with international communism. He even came to accept the emperor’s system.

This change of course is also a point of contention, however. While lawyer Hideki Yashiro discussed the coalition on the TBS talk show “Hiruobi!” on September 10, he criticized the JCP for saying he had never given up on his goal of “violent revolution”. Three days later, TBS apologized for the statement, saying the “violent revolution” had never been advocated in the JCP charter. Yashiro later said his view was based on the Cabinet’s recognition of the party as a subversive organization. Essentially, Yashiro was saying that since the government thinks the JCP is capable of a violent revolution, then that means it is.

Later, in a regular press conference, Cabinet Secretary-General Katsunobu Kato said that regardless of recent statements by the JCP that he had never supported the insurgency, the government’s stance towards the party had not changed.

Yashiro’s recognition of the demonization of the JCP took on added significance after Saitama Prefectural Police referred a case involving JCP lawmaker Taku Yamazoe to prosecutors on September 16. briefly entered some rural railroads in order to take pictures of a particular locomotive. At the time, Yamazoe was warned by the local police and he admitted his mistake. The case seemed closed but,

10 months later, police contacted prosecutors and some media questioned whether Yamazoe was the target of a witch hunt. Regardless, on September 30, Yamazoe tweeted that prosecutors had decided not to proceed with the case.

By then, the mainstream press had already scrutinized the story with an intensity that seemed disproportionate to what police initially considered a minor offense. However, there was a marked difference in tone from one medium to another.

Tokyo Shimbun dispatched a reporter to the spot where Yamazoe entered and confirmed his explanation for the incident, which he recounted on Twitter, claiming he entered the tracks by crossing a plank placed overhead. an adjacent ditch by local residents who used it to reach farmland on the other side. Locals had not requested permission from the railway to install the sign, and they told Tokyo Shimbun that it was too far to walk from that point to the nearest legitimate crossing. According to the Ministry of Transportation, there are some 17,000 inappropriate “trails” on railways across Japan, and railways ignore them. A woman told the newspaper that she did not know it was illegal to cross the tracks at the time.

The story of the Yomiuri Shimbun was different from that of Tokyo Shimbun. The Yomiuri also went to the crime scene and spoke to the locals, but the newspaper’s conclusion, based on anonymous comments, was that the locals were angry because now people will think they are still crossing the tracks illegally. thanks to Yamazoe’s blunder. Additionally, the Yomiuri said the reason it took the police so long to refer the case to prosecutors was because they tried to contact Yamazoe and the lawmaker kept pushing them back.

The suspicion, expressed by Tokyo Shimbun and others, that Yamazoe was being punished for his party affiliation was further reinforced by the online magazine Litera. Summarizing the case, Litera cited reports made by himself and by JCP news outlet Akahata as saying that, contrary to Yomiuri’s involvement, Yamazoe had voluntarily surrendered to the local police station on day of the intrusion and had completed a report.

More importantly, Litera points out that in February Kazuya Hara, a former aide to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was appointed head of the Saitama Prefectural Police. Hara was once an official with the Public Security Bureau, whose job it is to monitor supposedly subversive groups like the JCP, and who was part of a special Cabinet security team when Abe was prime minister. Litera assumes that with Hara’s appointment it became practical to revive the Yamazoe case just before the election in order to embarrass the JCP. The Yomiuri and some other media, according to Litera, were only following the government’s lead.

It should be noted that Yamazoe is not a goofy dynastic placeholder. He is one of the most knowledgeable and articulate lawmakers in the Diet, able to hold debate without the need for notes, although the average person can be forgiven for not knowing because the mainstream media does not take notice. not the opposition parties seriously and rarely shine a light on the opposition. politicians unless they say something sensational or, as in Yamazoe’s case, are involved in a scandal. They totally ignore the purpose of an opposition force, which is to control the government.

Yamazoe is young and ambitious, so, of course, he is someone whose effect, regardless of the apathy of the press, the ruling party would like to diminish. The fact that it belongs to the JCP makes it easier for them, because as everyone knows, the JCP seeks to overthrow the government – or, at least, that’s what the government wants people to believe.

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