The elections in Japan have resulted in a very low turnout. It is reported that even less people choose to vote this time. The right-wing conservative; Liberal Democratic Party has won 291 seats out of 475. The Democratic Party ( pro-capitalist centrist party ) won 73 seats, but the biggest winner is the reformist; Japanese Communist Party ( JCP ). Although marginal and not revolutionary socialist by nature, the JCP has been able to increase it seats to 21. The communist party strengthen its support as the right-wing government is very unpopular. Although the JCP won more seats, it is not seen as a alternative for the millions of Japanese workers. This is because the party is moderate, reformist and not calling for revolution or a Japanese Socialist Workers Republic!
Japan is dominated by one big political party since 1955. The Liberal Democrats are the biggest party and dominate politics in Japan. Although they call themselves the Liberal Democratic Party, they are not progressive liberal. In fact the LDP is reactionary, conservative and right-wing populist. They are modeled on the American; Republican Party, a conservative right-wing party. As a pro-capitalist party, the Liberal Democrats support privatizations and deregulation’s of state enterprises. They favor classic capitalism and the absolute rule of big business. It comes to no surprise that most Japanese capitalists support the LDP!
Opposition to the LDP is weak. The Democratic Party is sometimes called the opposition to the Japanese government made up of LDP ministers. But even the Democratic Party offers no alternative to the pro-capitalist politics of the LDP. Although the Democrats call for a free market capitalism with some social security laws, they do not stand for anything leftist. Therefore the Democratic Party in Japan is a centrist party and not a real opposition to the LDP!
Next to the conservatives and centrists, there are far-right nationalist parties. The biggest is the Japan Innovation Party. This party promotes Japanese nationalism and tries to marginalize the crimes of the former Empire of Japan. ”Komeito” is the religious party. As a center-right party, ”Komeito” promotes social conservatism and political Buddhism on a pro-capitalist platform. This is ironic since the Dalai Lama of Tibet claims to be a Marxist and rejects capitalism. Still ”Komeito” seems to use Buddhism to attract religious voters in Japan!
The only left-wing party in the parliament of Japan is the JCP or Japanese Communist Party. Although still called a communist party, the JCP is not revolutionary socialist. Since the collapse of stalinism and the right-wing reforms in China and Vietnam, the JCP moved to the right. They accepted the Japanese emperor as head of state in 2004 and do not oppose the Imperial Family, which is strange since the JCP does oppose the Japanese flag and anthem. When it comes to workers struggle, the party remains committed to parliamentarian opposition only. On the economic level the ”communists” have social democratic demands, such as strong state regulations and keeping the big corporations in check. But these demands are not socialist, they are classic social democratic!
Still the Japanese Communist Party has been able to gain a stable base of support. This allows them to remain in the parliament. Because other leftist parties in Japan are weak and unable to offer anything better then the JCP, Japanese workers who have a good developed class consciousness vote on the communist party. But this does not make the ”communists” a proletarian party. Although reformist and social democratic, the JCP still has a bureaucratic structure. Political factions are not allowed and party leader Kazuo Shii is not a revolutionary leader. Dressed as a typical politician with a business suit and tie, Kazuo Shii does not look like a alternative to the pro-capitalist politicians of Japan!
Revolutionary socialists criticize Kazuo Shii for his choice of clothing. A revolutionary leader should not look like a capitalist businessman. Also under Shii’s leadership since the year 2000, the JCP became moderate in their propaganda. There are no red stars and no red flags on party propaganda posters. It seems that the JCP is working like most bourgeois parties, trying to sell a product to the Japanese workers. Although the ”product” of the JCP is far better then what the LDP and other capitalist parties offer, they should not play the game on the level of the capitalist media. Socialism is not a product to be sold in a capitalist way. Revolutionary politicians should not dress up as capitalist business people only because most Japanese dress like this. Capitalism in Japan is cruel and work stress is very high for workers. Japan has a very high rate of student suicide. Fear of failing their parents and society is what is driving many young students into desperation!
Japanese capitalists demands a lot from their workers. Failing your boss means shame and rejection by co-workers. Like many Asian nations, shame is a big problem which many try to avoid. Unlike the western world, the Asian capitalist system demands absolute perfection. This we seen in the public transport in Japan. When a train comes at 19:55 and you need the train of 20:00, you must wait 5 minutes for your train to come. Because the train of 19:55 is not your train, while in the western world a train that comes at 19:55 is mostly the train you need. Japanese also fear failure and this fear has led to disasters as workers try desperate not to fail their boss. Loyalty is very strong among Japanese workers, this loyalty lies in their nature. It made Japan very rich and powerful, but also created a system of work stress and fear of failure!
Workers need to brake from this system of loyalty, shame and overwork in order to please their bosses. Although Japanese capitalists have been able to promote some social security for their workers such as paid holidays, this does not hide the fact that billions end up in the pockets of the ruling class. Many Japanese do not like their politicians and only 59% choose to vote in 2012, which resulted in a massive victory for the Liberal Democratic Party over the Democratic Party. Because the Democrats offered no alternatives, the old conservatives are able to win back the votes they lost. Nationalism is used by both parties to attract workers, only to abandon their promises after elections are over!
The turnout for the December 2014 elections is said to the lowest in Japanese parliamentary history. 1 out of 2 workers choose not to vote this time, proofing that the political parties are not liked by at least 1/2 of the population. Although the Japanese Communist Party won 21 seats, it remains a small party compared to the Liberal Democratic Party, who are ( again ) in full control of Japan’s parliament. Revolutionary socialists call on workers to put pressure on the JCP to follow a socialist program, that rejects capitalism and fights for a socialist Japan. The communist party must brake with their tolerance of the Imperial Family and their willingness to compromise with the system. Workers do not need representatives who wear capitalist business suits and call for classic social democracy.
We stand for:
– A socialist government that stands for workers not big business
– Removal of American troops from Japan!
– Nationalization of all means of production under democratic control of workers, consumers and councils!
– A workers party with a socialist programs that rejects the bourgeois state and the ruling conservatives!
– Opposition to Japanese nationalism and marginalization of imperialist crimes!