Japanese Communist Party snubs China’s Communist Party on centenary, saying it is ‘not worthy’ of name
- The JCP said the Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the East and South China Seas are ‘nothing to do with socialism’
- It was the only major Japanese party not to congratulate Beijing, although the government held back, sending a message through the ruling LDP instead
“[These] have nothing to do with socialism and are not worthy of the name of a communist party,” he wrote.
Hiromi Murakami, a professor of political science at the Tokyo campus of Temple University, said Shii’s comments were “very surprising because they were so blunt”.
“It is interesting that they have not been afraid to speak up on these issues and let the party in China know that despite having ‘communist’ in both their names, they do not intend to shy away and not say the hard things that need to be said,” she added.
The JCP’s stance, coming after it redrew its party platform last year for the first time in 16 years to differentiate it from the Chinese party, made it the only major political party in Japan that refrained from sending congratulatory messages to the Chinese Communist Party.
In contrast, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the other key parties in the Diet all sent messages, though the Japanese government itself held back from doing so, unlike other Asian governments and leaders.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato instead told a press conference late last week that “stable Japan-China relations are important for the peace and prosperity of not only our two countries but also the region and the international community”.
The foreign ministry declined to comment on the decision not to send a message, but a senior official was quoted by the Yomiuri newspaper as saying that congratulating the Communist Party “could send the wrong signal” to Beijing.
Toshio Ueki, a spokesman for the JCP, told This Week in Asia that they had not heard from the Communist Party in response to the snub. He added there had been hope that other Japanese parties might choose not to congratulate Beijing.
“But the LDP and the other parties do not really care about human rights or many of these other issues,” he said.
The LDP’s congratulatory message was sent in the name of party secretary general Toshihiro Nikai, the Mainichi newspaper reported, with a source quoting him as saying that sending a message was “common practice” and that “it would have been strange not to send one”.
Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP’s political ally Komeito, told a press conference that a party marking 100 years is an unusual occurrence. “We hope the party will work harder to achieve global peace, development and stability.”
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force, sent a congratulatory message in the name of its leader, Yukio Edano, although he admitted at a media conference, “I don’t think we can celebrate the occasion without having reservations under the current circumstances”.
Tokyo has criticised Beijing’s unilateral occupation and militarisation of islands in the South China Sea that are also claimed by a number of neighbouring nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Japan is also actively attempting to build a security alliance of nations in the region and further afield to counter what is widely seen as Beijing’s efforts to extend its military and political reach.