Kosmodromio spoke in early February with Nobuko Motomura, a member of the Japanese Communist Party, about the pandemic’s crisis management, Sino-Japanese relations, patriarchy and the upcoming elections.
During the last weeks we saw Prime Minister Suga declaring state of emergency for Tokyo as Covid-19 cases reach highest levels. Could you provide us some context about the government response to Covid-19 and the position of the Japanese Communist Party towards the restrictive measures and the pandemic?
Tokyo and other metropolitan areas in Japan are currently under the “state of emergency”.
One of the background factors is that the government has allocated a huge budget in travel and dining promotion programs called “Go to travel campaign” and “Go to eat campaign” even though the spread of the Covid-19 has not yet contained as well as the number of PCR tests remains insufficient. It has eroded the sense of caution among people against infection prevention, resulting in a situation where the hospitals have nearly reached capacity.
The Japanese Communist Party insists that the policy direction should be changed to direct supports for businesses suffering from lower sales and lower profits, such as tourism, food service, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
In addition, the government imposes various self-restraints without sufficient compensation, which creates the situation where the very survival of small and medium-sized enterprises is at stake.
We demand adequate compensations according to the size of the business including re-payment the sustainability subsidy as well as consumption tax reductions.
We hear very often that since 2000, Japan has seen a gradual resurgence of anti-Chinese sentiments. To what extent this is true and how much is the Chinese Communist Party responsible for this image? Kazuo Shii, chief of your party, last year said that the Chinese Communist Party was “not worthy of the name.
Many Japanese have grieved over and criticized China’s crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as well as the repression and human-rights abuses in Hong Kong.
The Japanese Communist Party has stipulated in its program that a socialist/communist Japan will inherit and further develop all valuable gains of the capitalist era, including those of democracy and freedom. It is a political party that has nothing in common with hegemonism nor with human rights abuse observed in the former Soviet Union and the present China.
We consider that the Chinese unjust behaviors are irreconcilable with socialism/communism. Our party has criticized China based on facts with reason. It will continue to live up to its responsibility as a party that has struggled against hegemonism of any superpower.
The prevailing perception in Europe is that Japan is the very definition of what we call patriarchal society. Could you provide us with some context about the situation and the action of your party on the issue?
The Constitution of Japan came into force in 1947 gives its top priority to individual dignity but it has not yet been realized in Japan. I realize that old ideas of patriarchy remain deeply rooted in society as you can see that Japan is 121st worst country in the world in terms of gender gap index.
For example, of the 465 members of the House of Representatives, there only 46 women (9.89%). Among them, I am the only female member of House of Representatives elected in the proportional representation block of the Tokai region that has 21 seats.
The Japanese Communist Party will field candidates with the same number of women and men in the next general election.
Behind the problem of not having enough women in political decision making process, about 60% of female workers work as unstable non-regular employees at low pay, which makes it difficult for women to become financially independent.
Japan is entering a long pre-election period. How would you describe the political landscape in Japan today and what does Japanese Communist Party hope for?
The Japanese Communist Party has traditionally worked hard to change the neoliberal politics characterized by irrational generalization of “individual responsibility”, the predator-prey jungle law and maximization of the profits of multinational corporations at the sacrifice of the lives of the people.
Although Japan has the Constitution nicknamed “Peace Constitution” that vows to renounce any war, the Suga LDP-Komei coalition government tramples upon it by aiming to possess “the capability to attack enemy bases”, with the highest military spending ever.
As a daughter of an atomic bomb victim in Nagasaki, I eager to change the government in coalition with other opposition parties to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
As the only political party in Japan that has fought against Japan’s war of aggression in the past, the Japanese Communist Party adheres to all the provisions of the current Constitution, including the preamble, making every effort to fully implement the peaceful and democratic provisions. It also works hard for abolition of all nuclear weapons, demanding the Japanese government to sign and ratify the TPNW.
We will make at most efforts to transform Japan into a country where life, health and individual dignity are valued much more.