(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
A Fruitful Visit
I visited Japan
at the invitation of the
Japanese Communist Party from August 26 to 31 as the head of the CPI(M)
delegation. Accompanying me in the delegation was PMS Grewal, member of
Central Committee. I had last visited Japan 23 years ago in 1987
attended the 18th Congress of the JCP. So I was looking
after such a long gap, to renewing my acquaintance with the country and
bilateral discussions with the leadership of the JCP.
The JCP is an important
Party. It is a party which adheres to Marxism and scientific socialism
most advanced capitalist country in Asia.
JCP has around 400,000 members; 22,000 branches and 3000 local assembly
Its newspaper Akahata, the daily and
Sunday editions have a combined circulation of 1.4 million. In the Japanese parliament, the Diet, the JCP
has nine members in the lower house and six members in the upper house
maintains an active presence despite its strength having been reduced.
experience of the JCP is significant for the CPI(M) as it is working in
most advanced capitalist country and has maintained a fierce
its political and ideological outlook.
The six-day visit began
discussions with the JCP leadership. Stretching over three days there
than ten hours of talks with the JCP side headed by Kazuo Shii, the
of the Executive Committee of the JCP. The others who participated in
discussion from the Japanese side wereYasuo Ogata, vice chairperson and head of the international
and Kimitoshi Morihara, member of the Executive Committee. These were
bilateral discussions in eight years since the visit of Shii in 2002 to
The talks were wide
intensive. They covered the CPI(M)’s exposition of the situation in India, the role our Party is playing,
current developments including the attack on the Party and the Left
Front in West Bengal and the social
and economic situation in the
country. The Japanese side explained the situation in Japan and the role the JCP is playing
the “two aberrations” -- the subservience of Japan
to the United States
exemplified through the US-Japan Security Treaty and the stranglehold
business on Japanese society.
The impact of neo-liberal
both countries was discussed. In Japan, a serious problem is
casualisation of the work force and the growing number of part time and
contract workers who have no job security.
The JCP side explained the
undertaken in their Party programme in 2004. The JCP is the consistent
demands the abrogation of the Japan-US Security Treaty and the removal
military bases. It also advocates regulating big business and bringing
in an “economy
with rules” that protects the rights of the working people.
The JCP is demanding the
the Marine Corps Air station at Futenma in Okinawa.
base is situated in the midst of civilian habitation, schools and
hospitals. The newly elected DPJ government in 2009 had pledged to get
relocated to another part of the island. Its failure to do so is one of
main reasons for the resignation of prime minister Hatoyama after
hardly a year
in office. The JCP had also played the key role in exposing the secret
agreement with the US
stationing of nuclear weapons in US bases and ships deployed in Japan.
From the CPI(M) side we
changes brought about in the updating of the Party Programme in 2000.
the theoretical issues concerning imperialism and the future society
by the JCP were also discussed.
The JCP side explained its
nuclear disarmament and the abolition of all nuclear weapons. On the
the CPI(M) it had taken a clear cut stand on nuclear weaponisation in India.
JCP and the CPI(M) agreed that we should work together to strengthen
efforts for nuclear disarmament and the eventual abolition of all
After the discussions, we
impressive office of the Akahata
daily which is just a few yards away from the Central Committee office.
The Akahata is the main vehicle of the
Party’s political work and publicity. Its editorial system and printing
equipment are technologically advanced. The printing presses are housed
three floors at the basement level. Akahata
must be the only newspaper of a non-ruling Communist
Party to have foreign correspondents
in various parts of the world like Hanoi,
Paris and Washington.
We met with the editorial staff and briefly interacted with them.
After the bilateral
discussions in Tokyo, our delegation
the ancient capital of Japan
and is also a major cultural centre. The JCP has a strong base in the Kyoto
prefecture. It has 126
local assembly members out of a total of 600 in the prefecture. In
it has 19 out of the 62 councilors. Eight out of the 19 are women. An interesting feature of the membership of
the JCP in Kyoto
is that more than 50 per cent are women. In the two days that we stayed
we had a meeting
with the leaders of the assembly group at the prefectural level and the
assembly level. This gave us an idea of how the party’s elected
are working among the people at the grassroots level.
We also had an opportunity
to see how
the JCP is representing the interests of the small enterprises and
self-employed persons. On the second day we had the opportunity to
home and workshop of Kitamura Gazen, who is a well known ceramic
artist. He has been a member of the JCP for fifty years. Similarly, we
small enterprises engaged in the dyeing of silk kimonos and a coffee
by a JCP member who is the president of the shops association in a well
Being in Kyoto
also gave us the chance to see some of its cultural landmarks like the KinkakujiTemple,
NijoCastle and the Ryoanji Zen
On our return to Tokyo we had a
meeting with Tadayoshi Ichida,
head of the secretariat of the JCP and a member of the upper house, the
of councilors at his office in the Diet. We also met three members of
parliamentary group. This meeting gave us an idea of the work being
done by the
JCP members of the Diet in various spheres.
The last meeting was a
We met Tetsuzo Fuwa, the former chairperson of the JCP. It was Fuwa who
first visited India
in 1988 and held substantive bilateral discussions with the CPI(M)
At that time, I had the privilege of accompanying Fuwa during the
and also taking him and his colleagues to visit the Tajmahal in Agra. Fuwa is
main ideologue of the Party having written a number of books on Marxism
JCP’s ideological approach. Meeting with Fuwa after 22 years was a
experience. He provided me with photographs taken during his visit to India
included pictures of him with EMS Namboodiripad, Harkishan Singh
Surjeet, B T
Ranadive and others. We exchanged books and discussed our parties’
We utilised the visit to
our friendship with the JCP members and other scholars who had links
them is Kazuo Miura who was the first Akahata
correspondent to be posted in India.
Another friend we met was Professor Heiji Nakamura who is the Emeritus
of Contemporary History of South Asia in the Tokyo University of
Studies. Accompanying us throughout the trip was Hisanobu Ito who was
of Akahata in India and who
now works in the international department. He was invaluable as our
The visit concluded with a
dinner hosted by Shii for the delegation. Both Shii and I shared the
our discussions had helped our two parties to come closer and
other better. Both parties affirmed that they have much in common and
work to strengthen mutual ties and relations.