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Thursday, July 12, 2007

PARTY LINE

JCP will go own way regardless of election outcome


Staff writer

The Japanese Communist Party will not form an alliance with the Democratic Party of Japan or any other party regardless of how the July 29 House of Councilors election turns out, according to party leader Kazuo Shii.

News photo
Kazuo Shii

Policy differences between the JCP, which strongly opposes any change to war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, and the DPJ are too wide, Shii said during a recent interview with The Japan Times.

"It would be almost impossible to cooperate with the DPJ," he said.

Winning a majority in the Upper House won't make the DPJ the governing party, because the Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition still holds an overwhelming majority in the more powerful Lower House. But the DPJ is aiming eventually to take control of both Diet chambers, even if it has to form a coalition with other parties.

Shii criticized the DPJ's unclear stance on the Constitution, with its members divided over whether to revise Article 9. He also lashed out at the DPJ for knuckling under on the government's decision to abolish tax cut measures this year that were introduced in 1999 to shore up the economy.

But Shii does not rule out cooperating with other parties on an issue-by-issue basis.

"Our gate is open when we need to form an alliance for action in the Diet. We have been doing so and will not change our stance," he said.

The JCP agrees with the Social Democratic Party when it comes to preserving Article 9, but the Communists do not agree with the SDP's intention to help form a coalition government with the DPJ.

Shii said his party, which now holds nine seats in the Upper House, including five up for grabs, would like to walk away from the upcoming election with at least a new total of 10. The JCP is backing 64 candidates.

"If we win six seats or more in the election, we'd call it a victory," he said.

On the pension records scandal, Shii said the government should immediately mail all premium payment data kept at the Social Insurance Agency to the payers.

"The priority is to best serve the people's interest, so the ruling and opposition parties need to cooperate to find a solution," Shii said.

The government announced earlier this month it will finish mailing notices to premium payers to inform them of their payment records by October 2008. This is too slow, Shii said.



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