Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Japanese Communist Party increases its seats to 21 from 8 seats in general election

Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii, right, smiles as he shakes hands with Tadayoshi Ichida, the party’s vice chair at the party’s headquarters in Tokyo

In the House of Representatives general election held on December 14, the Japanese Communist Party increased its number of seats to 21 from its pre-election strength of eight. It gained support from voters averse to the ruling coalition parties. The party won a seat in a single-seat constituency race for the first time since the 1996 lower house election, and took 20 in proportional representation blocs. The JCP is now entitled to submit a bill unrelated to the budget, which requires a minimum of 20 seats. It was also the first time that the party secured double-digit seats since the 2000 lower house election. Meanwhile, other minor opposition parties failed to increase the number of their seats. The JCP clearly demonstrated a confrontational stance against the ruling parties, raising objections to the consumption tax hike and the restart of nuclear power plants.

 The JCP won a single-seat constituency in Okinawa where the party staged its fight in collaboration with all anti-U.S. military base forces. Okinawans defeated all Liberal Democratic Party candidates who supported the base construction and ran for the single-seat constituencies in the prefecture.

The JCP obtained 20 proportional representation seats. In single-seat constituencies in Okinawa, JCP candidate Akamine Seiken, who contested the election with support from the People’s Life and Social Democratic parties, was elected. The JCP achieved a victory in single-seat constituencies for the first time since 1996.

The LDP decreased its number of seats by three to 291. It lost all of the four single-seat blocs in Okinawa. However, as its coalition partner the Komei Party added four seats to its pre-election strength of 31 seats, the ruling coalition occupies over two-thirds of the seats in the Lower House.

The Democratic Party of Japan gained 11 seats held to total 73 seats. The Japan Innovation Party (former the Japan Restoration Party) reduced its seats by one to 41. The Party for Future Generations fell to two seats from 19. The People’s Life Party lost three from its previous total of five. The SDP secured its pre-election strength of two seats.

Shii comments on the election results

Japanese Communist Party Shii Kazuo on the evening of election day held a press conference at the JCP Head Office in Tokyo, thanking every JCP member and supporter who called on as many potential voters as possible to support the JCP and JCP candidates.

As a brief review of the election campaign, Shii said, “Prime Minister Abe Shinzo asserted that Abenomics is ‘the only way’ but quite a number of voters felt that that might be a dangerous path to continue. We’ve never softened our head-on stance against Abe’s runaway policies. This is why, I think, our party gained so much support in the election this time.”

He also said that many voters showed their high regard for JCP counterproposals presented during the election campaign dealing with economic and diplomatic issues based on the people-first principle, and he expressed his determination to fulfill the JCP election promise in the Diet with all the JCP lawmakers in the House of Representatives and House of Councilors working in concert. The party will keep up the pressure and will work to increase various single-issue movements together with the general public, he added.

Regarding the election results in Okinawa, Shii said that it was an epoch-making achievement beating all pro-base candidates running for the election from Okinawa’s single-seat constituencies. He expressed his delight with JCP Akamine Seiken’s victory in one of the four single-seat constituencies in Okinawa. He extended his gratitude especially to all the Okinawans who strived for the victory of the JCP candidate irrespective of whether they are conservatives or progressives.

He gave a special thanks to Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi, Naha City Mayor Shiroma Mikiko, local business leaders, and those in the former LDP faction Shinpukai who were ousted from the LDP because they maintained their opposing stance against a new U.S. base in Henoko, for their efforts.

He said that the government, if it is in a truly democratic country, should listen to the demands of Okinawans as clearly shown in the election. To that end, the JCP will work even harder to press the government to cancel the new base construction plan and dismantle the Futenma base, he stressed.

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