World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Japanese Communist Party

Japanese Communist Party
President Kazuo Shii
Secretary-General Yoshiki Yamashita
Representatives leader Keiji Kokuta
Councillors leader Yoshiki Yamashita
Founded July 15, 1922 (July 15, 1922)
Headquarters 4-26-7 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8586, Japan
Youth wing Democratic Youth League of Japan
Membership  (2014) Increase 320,000 [1]
Ideology Marxism
Scientific socialism[2]
Political position Left-wing to Far-left
International affiliation Comintern (1922 – 1943)
Colours      Red
21 / 475
11 / 242
Prefectural assembly members[4][5]
136 / 2,725
Municipal assembly members[4][5][6]
2,752 / 32,070
Party flag
Politics of Japan
Political parties
Kazuo Shii, Chair of the Central Committee (2000- )
JCP members From left, Tokuda Kyuichi, Nosaka Sanzo, and Yoshio Shiga. (During 1945-1946)
Japanese Communist Party Headquarters

The Japanese Communist Party (JCP, Japanese: 日本共産党, Nihon Kyōsan-tō) is a communist political party in Japan and is one of the largest non-governing communist parties in the world.

The JCP advocates the establishment of a society based on socialism, democracy, peace, and opposition to militarism. It proposes to achieve its objectives by working within a democratic framework in order to achieve its goals, while struggling against what it describes as "imperialism and its subordinate ally, monopoly capital." The party does not advocate violent revolution; it proposes a "democratic revolution" to achieve "democratic change in politics and the economy", and "the complete restoration of Japan's national sovereignty", which it sees as infringed by Japan's security alliance with the United States although it firmly defends Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

Following the most recent general election, held on December 14, 2014, the party holds 21 seats in the House of Representatives and following the most recent councillors election, held on July 21, 2013, the party holds 11 seats in the House of Councillors.[7]


  • Outline 1
  • Membership 2
  • History 3
  • The JCP in the 1920s-1930s 4
  • Policies 5
  • Organization 6
    • Press 6.1
    • Affiliated organizations 6.2
  • Notable members 7
    • Pre-war 7.1
    • Wartime 7.2
    • Post-war 7.3
  • Popular support and electoral results 8
    • House of Representatives (Lower House) 8.1
    • House of Councillors (Upper House) 8.2
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12


The JCP is one of the largest non-ruling communist parties in the world, with approximately 320,000 members belonging to 22,000 branches. In the wake of the Sino-Soviet split, the party began to distance itself from the Socialist Bloc, especially from the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the JCP released a press statement titled, "We welcome the end of a party which embodied the historical evil of Great Power chauvinism and hegemonism" (Japanese: "大国主義・覇権主義の歴史的巨悪の党の終焉を歓迎する"), while at the same time criticizing Eastern European countries for abandoning socialism, describing it as a "reversal of history".[8]

Consequently, the party has not suffered an internal crisis as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, nor has it considered disbanding or changing its name or fundamental objectives, as many other Communist parties have done. It polled 11.3% of the vote in 2000, 8.2% in 2003, 7.3% in 2005, and 7.0% in the August 2009 election. In recent years its support has accrued; as of the 2014 General Election it won 21 seats, up from eight in the previous general election. The JCP took 7,040,130 votes (13.3%) in the constituency section and 6,062,962 (11.37%) in the party lists. This continues a new wave of support that was also evident in the 2013 Tokyo metropolitan election where the party doubled its representation. Fighting on a platform directly opposed to neoliberalism, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, attempts to rewrite the constitution, US military bases on Japanese soil and opposition to nuclear power, the JCP tapped into a minority current that seeks an alternative to Japan’s rightward direction.[9]


As of 1 January 2014 the JCP has approximately 320,000 members. Following the party's advancement in the 2013 Tokyo prefectural election there has been an upswing in people joining the party, with over 1,000 people joining in each of the final three months of 2013.[1] Approximately 20% of new members during this period were aged 20–40, showing a higher ratio of young people joining the party than in the past.[1]


Kenji Miyamoto, held the party's leadership position from 1958 to 1982

The JCP was founded on 15 July 1922, as an underground political association. Outlawed at once under the Peace Preservation Law, the JCP was subjected to repression and persecution by the military and police of Imperial Japan. It was the only political party in Japan that opposed Japan's involvement in World War II. The party was legalised during the U.S. occupation of Japan in 1945, and since then has been a legal political party able to contest elections. In 1949, the party made unprecedented gains. It won 10 percent of the vote and sent 35 representatives to the Diet. But early in 1950, the Soviet Union sharply criticized the JCP's parliamentary strategy. Stalin insisted that the JCP pursue more militant, even violent, actions. SCAP seized this occasion to engineer the Red Purge, which forced the party leaders underground. Then, after the Korean War broke out, the party staged some acts of terrorism or sabotage. This resulted in a loss of popular confidence. Through the end of the decade, it never won more than 3 percent of the votes or two seats in the Diet. Even so, its strong support among many intellectuals gave it a relatively greater importance than these numbers suggest.

The party did not take sides during the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. In the mid-1960s, the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 120,000 (0.2% of the working age population).[10]

Lam Peng Er argued in Pacific Affairs in 1996 that "the JCP's viability is crucial to the health of Japanese democracy." This, he says, is because:

It is the only established party in parliament that has not been coopted by the conservative parties. It performs the watchdog role against the ruling parties without fear or favor. More importantly, the JCP often offers the only opposition candidate in prefectural governorship, city mayoral and other local elections. Despite the ostensible differences between the non-Communist parties at the national level, they often support a joint candidate for governor or mayor so that all parties are assured of being part of the ruling coalition. If the JCP did not offer a candidate, there would be a walkover and Japanese voters would be offered a fait accompli without an electoral avenue of protest. Promoting women candidates in elections to win women's votes is another characteristic of the party. More women are elected under the Communist label than other political parties in Japan.[11]

In 2008, foreign media recorded an increase in support for the party due to the effect of the global financial crisis on Japanese workers.[12][13] However they failed to increase seats in the Japanese general election, 2009. However the projected decline of the party has been halted, with the JCP becoming the third largest party in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly[14][15] and making gains in the House of Councillors, moving from 6 to 11 seats. They surged forward in the 2014 elections the JCP took 7,040,130 votes (13.3%) in the constituency section and 6,062,962 (11.37%) in the party lists.

The JCP in the 1920s-1930s

During the first decades following the party's founding, the party drew in students intellectuals, writers, artists, journalists, and academicians. The academic Marxists withdrew as the JCP came under the tighter control of the Comintern and diverged from the trends of its own society, leaving more militant activists in control. Formal membership in the JCP never reached 1,000 in the prewar era.[16] The JCP did not permit recruiting outside of Japan proper.[17] The JCP faced government repression, and was plagued by internal factionalism.[18]

The JCP and the Comintern were closely connected since the party's founding. The JCP was funded overwhelmingly by Comintern money, which was used for regular publications, leaflets, election expenses in 1928 and 1930, to establish party headquarters and leaders' hideouts and as salaries for JCP leaders. Funding ceased in mid-1931, when the Comintern's representative in Shanghai was arrested and contact between the JCP and the Comintern was temporarily lost. After the Comintern's representative's arrest, the party relied on money from sympathisers. Nosaka Sanzo denies that the JCP and the Comintern had been on close terms.[19]

The 1932 Thesis was published in the spring of 1932, and was to stand as the basic document for the JCP. It was a successor of the 1931 Draft Thesis, which was rejected by the Comintern. According to the 1932 Thesis, the 1931 Draft had placed insufficient emphasis on the role of the Emperor system as the dominant political force in Japan and on the necessity for a thoroughgoing agrarian revolution.[20] The 1932 Thesis stated that while the ultimate objective was the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat, the way forward must first be cleared by a bourgeois revolution that would abolish the institution of emperor and redistribute the wealth of the land-owning class.[21]

The tactics of the JCP became more aggressive following the election campaign of February 1930. The party's central committee approved the formation of "Red self-defence bodies" to oppose "white terror". The party called for a worker uprising and an armed march on the Diet on May Day. In October 1932, police arrested party members involved in the Omori bank robbery.[22]

The JCP opposed the 1931 Japanese invasion of

  • Official website

External links

  • Scalapino, Robert A. The Japanese Communist Movement: 1920-1966 London, England: Cambridge University Press. 1967.
  • Beckmann, George M., and Genji Okubo. The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1969.
  • Wilson, Sandra "The Comintern and the Japanese Communist Party" from Tim, Rees, and Thorpe, Andrew. International Communism and the Communist International, 1919-43 Manchester University Press, 1998.
  • "EXTRACTS FROM THE THESES OF THE WEST EUROPEAN BUREAU OF THE ECCI ON THE SITUATION IN JAPAN AND THE TASKS OF THE JAPANESE COMMUNIST PARTY May 1932 Inprekorr, xii, 42, p. 1202, 20 May 1932" from Degras, Jane. Communist International: Documents. Routledge. 2013
  • TWO CENTURIES AND JAPANESE COMMUNIST PARTY Speech by FUWA Tetsuzo Japanese Communist Party Central Committee Chair At Speech Assembly to Mark the 80th Anniversary of the Japanese Communist Party July 8, 2002 - Tokyo International Forum at
  • * 戦前の反戦運動 「戦争に反対して、命がけで活動した人たちの記録」 (Pre-war anti-war movement "Record of the people who were active in the opposition to war.") at Information on the Japanese Communist Party in pre-war Japan, and following the Manchurian Incident.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: Prefectural and local assembly members and governors/mayors by political party as of December 31, 2011
  5. ^ a b JCP website reporting on how many seats they won in the first half of the 2015 local elections: Prefectural and local assembly members and governors/mayors by political party as of April 14, 2015
  6. ^ JCP website reporting on how many seats they won in the first half of the 2015 local elections: Prefectural and local assembly members and governors/mayors by political party as of April 28, 2015
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b The Daily Yomiuri JCP struggling to become relevant July 16 2012 Retrieved on July 12, 2012
  9. ^
  10. ^ Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H.. Communism and Economic Development, in The American Political Science Review, Vol. 62, No. 1. (Mar., 1968), pp. 122.
  11. ^ Er, Lam Peng. The Japanese Communist Party: Organization and Resilience in the Midst of Adversity - in Pacific Affairs, Vol. 69, No. 3. (Autumn, 1996), pp. 362-363.
  12. ^ Japan's young turn to Communist Party as they decide capitalism has let them down - Daily Telegraph October 18, 2008
  13. ^ "Communism on rise in recession-hit Japan", BBC, May 4, 2009
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "JCP Chair Shii comments on Abe's shrine visit". Japanese Communist Party. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  30. ^ "Shii comments on DPRK nuclear test". Japanese Communist Party. 16 February 2013. 2 April 2014.
  31. ^ Inada, Miho; Dvorak, Phred. "Same-Sex Marriage in Japan: A Long Way Away?". The Wall Street Journal. September 20, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  32. ^ Shii, Kazuo We Call For Establishing a “National Coalition Government to Repeal the War (Security) Legislation” September 19, 2015 Retrieved September 29, 2015
  33. ^ JCP proposes establishing a national coalition gov’t to repeal war legislation September 20, 2015 Japan Press Weekly Retrieved September 29, 2015
  34. ^ JCP seeks cooperation from opposition parties on new security laws September 21, 2015 Japan Times Retrieved September 29, 2015
  35. ^ Two opposition parties to mull coalition talks with JCP September 28, 2015 Japan Times Retrieved September 29, 2015
  36. ^ a b c d Beckmann, G. M. & Genji, O (1969) The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945, p188
  37. ^ Beckmann, G. M. & Genji, O (1969) The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945, p250
  38. ^ Beckmann, G. M. & Genji, O (1969) The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945, pp138-139
  39. ^ Beckmann, G. M. & Genji, O (1969) The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945, p152
  40. ^ Lam Peng-Er (1999) Green Politics in Japan, p63
  41. ^ a b c d e Lam Peng-Er (1999) Green Politics in Japan, pp62-64


See also

Election year National district votes Total
# of votes % of votes Seats ±
1947 610,948 2.9
4 / 250
1950 1,333,872 4.8
4 / 260
1953 293,877 1.1
2 / 260
1956 599,254 2.1
2 / 254
1959 551,916 1.9
3 / 254
1962 1,123,947 3.1
4 / 254
1965 1,652,364 4.4
6 / 254
1968 2,146,879 5.0
7 / 251
1971 3,219,307 8.1
10 / 251
1974 4,931,650 9.4
19 / 260
16 / 252
12 / 252
14 / 252
1986 5,430,838 9.5
16 / 252
14 / 252
11 / 252
14 / 252
23 / 252
2001 4,329,210 7.9
20 / 247
2004 4,363,107 7.8
9 / 242
2007 4,407,937 7.5
7 / 242
2010 3,563,556 6.1
6 / 242
2013 5,154,055 9.7
11 / 242

Note: The majority of members of the House of Councillors (currently 146 of 242) is elected in the prefectural SNTV districts, not in the national PR district (until 1980: national SNTV district). Members of the House of Councillors are elected to staggered six year terms. Every three years half the house is up for election. The seats totals show below are the JCP's overall post-election seat totals, not just their seats elected in that particular year.

House of Councillors (Upper House)

House of Representatives
Election year # of votes % of vote Total seats ±
1946 2,135,757 3.8
6 / 464
1947 1,002,883 3.7
4 / 466
1949 2,984,780 9.8
35 / 466
1952 896,765 2.5
0 / 466
1953 655,990 1.9
1 / 466
1955 733,121 2.0
2 / 467
1958 1,012,035 2.5
1 / 467
1960 1,156,723 2.9
3 / 467
1963 1,646,477 4.0
5 / 467
1967 2,190,564 4.8
5 / 486
1969 3,199,032 6.8
14 / 486
1972 5,496,827 10.5
38 / 491
1976 5,878,192 10.4
17 / 511
1979 5,625,527 10.4
39 / 511
1980 5,803,613 9.8
29 / 511
1983 5,302,485 9.3
26 / 511
1986 5,313,246 8.8
26 / 512
1990 5,226,987 8.0
16 / 512
1993 4,834,587 7.7
15 / 511
1996 7,268,743 13.1
26 / 500
2000 6,719,016 11.2
20 / 480
2003 4,586,172 7.8
9 / 480
2005 4,919,187 7.3
9 / 480
2009 4,943,886 7.0
9 / 480
2012 3,689,159 6.2
8 / 480
2014 6,062,962 11.4
21 / 475

Note: Prior to 1996 the entire House of Representatives was elected via proportional lists, and after 1996 the majority of members of the House of Representatives (currently 295 of 475) are elected via local single-member FPTP districts, not the regional PR blocks (which elect the other 180 seats.) Voters have one vote in their FPTP district, and one in their PR block. Thus the votes and vote percentages in the table below are the JCP's overall vote totals from before 1993, and just the proportional lists after 1996.

House of Representatives (Lower House)

Popular support and electoral results




Notable members

The party also has affiliate medical and consumer co-ops.[41] The Japanese Consumers' Co-Operative Union (JCCU), the umbrella body of the co-operative movement in Japan, has a sizable number of communists in its ranks, although the exact numbers are difficult to verify.[41] Another example of the JCP's prevalence in the co-operative movement is the Co-op Kanagawa in the kōenkai.[41]

The youth wing of JCP is the Reinen Seinen (English: Lenin Youth) and Proletarian Youth.[36]

Affiliated organizations

Some regional newspapers, such as Shin Kanagawa (Engish: New Kanagawa) in Kanagawa, are still published[40]

In the past the party published numerous other newspapers as well, including another national paper called Nihon Seiji Shinbun (English: Japan Political News) and a theoretical journal called Zenshin (English: Forward.[37]) The party also published several regional newspapers such as Class War in and around Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, Shinetsu Red Flag in Nagano, and Hokkaido News in Hokkaido.[38] They also published numerous (the exact number is unknown) factory newspapers.[39]

newspaper. Several other newspapers preceded and merged into Red Flag, including Daini Musansha Shinbun (English: The Second Proletarian News) which was merged into Red Flag in 1932.[36] Daini Musansha Shinbun was itself the immediate successor to the original The Proletarian News, which was banned by the government in September 1929[36] (Daini Musansha Shinbun began publication immediately after the ban.[36])



In September 2015 after the passage of the 2015 Japanese military legislation, the JCP called for cooperation from other opposition parties to form an interim government to abolish the bills. It was the first time the party had called for such cooperation with other parties.[32][33][34][35]

The JCP supports the legalization of civil unions for same-sex couples.[31]

The JCP stance on international terrorism is that only by "encircling the forces of terror through strong international solidarity with the United Nations at the center" can terrorism be eliminated. It argues that waging war as a response to terrorism "produces a rift and contradictions in international solidarity, which instead expands the breeding ground of terrorism."

Regarding the issue of the international economy, the JCP has advocated establishing a new international democratic economic order on the basis of respect for the economic sovereignty of each country and strongly opposes the participation to the TPP. The JCP sees the United States, transnational corporations and international financial capital as pushing globalization, which, it says, is seriously affecting the global economy, including the monetary and financial problems, as well as North-South and environmental problems. The JCP advocates "democratic regulation of activities by transnational corporations and international financial capital on an international scale."

The JCP also strives to change the nation's economic policy of what it sees as serving the interests of large corporations and banks to one of "defending the interests of the people," and to establish "democratic rules" that will check the activities of large corporations and "protect the lives and basic rights of the people."

The JCP has traditionally been opposed to the existence of the Imperial House since the pre-war days. From 2004,[8] it has acknowledged the Emperor as Japan's head of state as long as he remains a figurehead. JCP has stated that if the party comes to power, it will not ask the Emperor to abdicate; it is also against Japan's use of its national flag and national anthem which it sees as a relic of Japan's militarist past.

The JCP advocates that Japan issue further apologies for its actions during World War II and has condemned prime-ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine.[29] In the 1930s, while the JCP was still illegal, it was the only political party to actively oppose Japan's war with China and World War II. Despite this, however, the JCP supports the territorial claims by Japan in the Kuril and Senkaku Islands and Liancourt Rocks disputes. Furthermore, the JCP has condemned North Korea's nuclear-weapons testing, calling for effective sanctions but opposing the prospect of a military response.[30]

The JCP adheres to the idea that Japan as an Asian country must stop putting emphasis on diplomacy centering on relations with the United States and the G8 Summit, and put Asian diplomacy at the center of its foreign relations. It supports Japan establishing an "independent foreign policy in the interests of the Japanese people," and rejects "uncritically following any foreign power".

The JCP also opposes possession of nuclear weapons by any country or the concept of military blocs, and opposes any attempt to revise Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, which says that "never again …... [Japan] be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government". Regarding the resolution of disputes, it argues that priority must be given to peaceful means through negotiations, not to military solutions. The JCP says that Japan must adhere to the U.N. Charter.

With regards to Japan's own military forces, the JCP's current policy is that it is not principally opposed to its existence (in 2000, it decided that it will agree to its use should Japan ever be attacked), but that it will seek to abolish it in the long term, international situation permitting.

). Asia having the largest U.S. military base in Okinawa. (In Japan there are about 130 U.S. military bases and other related facilities, national sovereignty and self-determination, in accordance with its principles of neutral country and non-alignedOne of the JCP's main objectives is terminating the Japan–U.S. military alliance and the dismantling of all U.S. military bases in Japan. It wants to make Japan a


The arrest of Hakamada Satomi, a member of the Central Committee of the JCP, in 1935 has been cited as the destruction of the JCP. Contact with the Comintern would be lost.[27][28]

In late 1933, Central committee members Oizumi Kenzo and Obata Tatsuo were tortured by their colleagues in the Communist Party during investigation of suspicions that they were police spies. Obata died as a result of the torture. Oizumi escaped, and turned himself in to the police. During his subsequent trial, it was revealed that he had worked for the Tokkō. The press called the incident the "Red Lynching".[26]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.