From “For a Lasting Peace for a People’s Democracy
No. 11 (38), June 1, 1949

Movement for Democracy in Japan

Kyuichi Tokuda
General Secretary, Communist Party of Japan

Japan is the frontier of Asia in the Pacific. In the past the country’s geographical position was an important factor in the development of Japanese imperialism. Today Anglo-American monopoly capitalism regards Japan as one of the stepping stones in its drive for world domination. That is why the Japanese monopolists and their agents believe that the only way to safeguard their future is to form a close alliance with international monopoly capital.

After the capitulation of Japan in August 1945 which was a decisive blow to the emperor system, Japanese monopoly capital was plunged into a state of confusion. But with the formation of the Liberal-“Progressive” coalition cabinet – the first Yoshida cabinet – in June 1946, Japanese monopoly capital recovered from its military defeat and proceeded to launch vicious attacks upon the workers, peasants, fishermen, small and medium industrialists and merchants. At the same time it began to ally itself with international monopoly capital. The military clique and the bureaucrats who had held privileged positions under the old emperor system took advantage of the situation to renew their activities.

Premier Yoshida is a worthy representative of Japanese imperialism. He was Consul-General in Mukden and later Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs under General Tanaka who headed the cabinet from 1927 to 1929. In these capacities he helped to lay the foundation of the policy of aggression against China as a first step toward world aggression. The militarists, bureaucrats and big industrialists who continue the traditions of Japanese imperialism have every reason to centre their hopes on Yoshida.

It is common knowledge that these elements are again active, overtly or covertly. They broadened their reactionary activities during the Katayama–Ashida coalitions of the National-Cooperative and Social-Democratic parties, using the right-wing Social Democrats as their tool and cultivating rabid trotskyite agents. The drive to fascism, prepared in this way, is developing at a quickened tempo particularly since the formation of the third Yoshida Cabinet last February.

The main feature of the Yoshida cabinet and of those supporting it is to find the best means of serving Anglo-American monopoly capital and of winning its material and moral aid to buttress the domination of Japanese monopoly capital.

The Government is strengthening finance capital by handing over to influential private banks the functions of financial institutions formerly controlled by the state bureaucracy, with the result that a direct alliance between these banks and foreign banks has been made possible. Moreover, control of industries by private finance capital has been facilitated by removing the restrictions on industry.

As a result of the Government’s policy, Japan is suffering a loss in her foreign trade while foreign capital is raking in enormous profits. United States imports are priced three times higher than the official Japanese price for such goods, while export goods are sold at one-third, or even less, of the international standard price. The people have to bear the brunt of this loss while the monopolists are making huge profits. This policy is leading to the economic enslavement of the country.

By administrative measures concerning prices, taxation, labour legislation and so on, state authority is exercised solely to protect the interests of comprador monopoly capital.

The Yoshida Government is trying to restore landlordism and to revive a social basis for militarism by raising land rents and sabotaging the land reform.

The Yoshida Government is helping, both materially and spiritually to debase national education, science, technique, culture and the arts to a colonial level. At the same time, the Government is strengthening its system of repression for the purpose of crushing the widespread resistance of the masses to the comprador policy of the Japanese ruling circles, a policy leading to the loss of the country’s independence, freedom and peace, to the impoverishment of the workers, peasants and fisherman, to the ruin of the small and medium industrialists and landlords. The Government is doing everything to isolate the Communists and is intensifying fascist pressure against the Party.

All this is leading to a steady sharpening of class antagonisms and internal contradictions. Opposing the handful of monopolists and their agents are broad sections of the people and even certain representatives of capitalist circles and small and medium landlords.

The struggle is no longer restricted to strikes, sabotage, demonstrations, land disputes and refusal to pay taxes. It has become a nation-wide political movement in defence of the national industry, education and culture, in defence of our national existence. This powerful offensive of the people, with the working class as the spearhead, has roused all sections of society. This anti-Government struggle is drawing into its orbit also Government officials and rank and file Democratic-Liberals and exposing the lawlessness and corruption in towns and villages. The people are becoming more and more indignant and resentful at the police and finance organs which are carrying out the Yoshida Government’s anti-popular policy.

The active participation of the broad mass of the people in the democratic movement has long traditions. As far back as the 90’s of the last century the Japanese trade union movement did much to arouse the revolutionary spirit of the masses. The organised peasant movement developed in the early part of the century.

The Communist Party is at the head of this struggle, exposing the treacherous policy of the Democratic-Liberal Party which at present holds an absolute majority in Parliament. The lower organisations of the Democratic-Liberal Party are forced to side with the people for they are afraid that otherwise they will be swept aside by the sweeping indignation of the people. As a result the big monopolists and their agents are being driven further into isolation.

The experience accumulated by the Communist Party during the long period of brutal military and police persecution is helping it to guide the broad people’s movement in this post-war period. It should be noted that the people’s struggle in Japan was consistently guided in accordance with the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

The struggle of the mass of the people for liberation from the colonial yoke and foreign independence is gaining momentum in the Far East. The leadership of this struggle has passed from the bourgeois nationalists to the Parties which are guided by the teachings of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin. The struggle for democracy in Japan is one of the fronts of the world democratic movement.

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