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Thursday, May 20, 2010

JCP chief rates his U.S. visit a big success

Staff writer

Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii said Wednesday his recent visit to the United States was a success and he was able to convey the JCP's vision on nuclear weapons and Japan-U.S. relations.

When the 55-year-old Shii went to New York to attend a review conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, he became the first JCP leader to visit the U.S. since the party was founded in 1922.

"We went there driven by the desire to contribute to the path toward a nuclear-free world as a political party based in the only A-bombed country in the world," Shii said during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Shii said that during his visit he was able to exchange opinions with various organizers of the NPT conference, U.N. officials and delegates of nations attending the conference. He said he presented them with a document calling for a consensus on beginning international negotiations for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

"This position paper was actually very powerful," Shii said, explaining that the JCP's requests were reflected in the first draft report of the committee released last Friday.

"If this makes it to the final report, it will be an epoch-making event for the JCP," he said.

Shii said he also visited Vermont and spent two days in Washington, where he met with government officials and discussed issues on the Japan-U.S. relationship, especially regarding the contentious issue of relocating the Futenma air base in Okinawa.

"What we wanted to do was communicate directly to the U.S. government how strongly the Japanese people and Okinawans desire for a base-free Okinawa," Shii said.

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The Japan Times

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