志位委員長と「カクサン部」がウォールストリートジャーナルに登場!!

参議院選挙もいよいよ明日が投票日ですが、米ウォールストリートジャーナル紙が、昨日、今日と相次いで、日本共産党を取り上げています。昨日は、志位委員長を取材した記事。そして、今日は、なんと!日本共産党「カクサン部」です。^^;

ということで、まずこれが、昨日の志位和夫委員長を取材した記事。都議会議員選挙で、民主党を抜いて第3党に躍進したことに注目しています。

Ahead of Election, Japan Communist Leader Rails Against Abenomics – Japan Real Time – WSJ

ほいでもって、こっちが「カクサン部」を取材した記事。

Japan Communists Campaign With Cakes, Costumes – Japan Real Time – WSJ

ということで、まずは

共産党党首、アベノミクスを批判する

[ウォールストリートジャーナル(電子版)July 19, 2013, 7:51 PM JST]
アレキサンダー・マーティンとエレノア・ワーノック

 最終盤を迎えた参議院選挙のキャンペーンとして、ジャパン・リアル・タイムは、日本共産党委員長の志位和夫を追いかけた。彼は、安倍晋三首相の経済戦略、「アベノミクス」に不安を抱く有権者に彼の党を選択肢として示すために日本国中をキャンペーンしている。
 木曜日におこなわれたインタビューで、志位氏は、安倍氏と与党・自民党の財界中心の政策と目標とする憲法改正の危険性について展開した。
 「この選挙は国民の暮らしと経済、とりわけアベノミクスを認めるのか否かを有権者が決める選挙だ」と志位氏はいう。
 彼は、法人税を切り下げ消費税を来年から増税するという政府の計画に反対する。市石は、平均的市民に負担を負わせるよりも、巨大企業の内部に溜め込まれた何兆円もの内部流を使って経済を再生すべきだという。
 1世紀近い歴史をもつ共産党は、最近おこなわれた東京都議会議員選挙での見事な勝利の波に乗っている。日本共産党は、127議席中17議席を勝ち取り、43議席から15議席へ大敗北した民主党を抜いて、第3党に躍り出た。
 日本共産党はいま、安倍氏と連合政権の暴走をストップさせることをねらっている。
 世論は、自民党と連立与党の公明党が地すべり的勝利をすると見ている。野党が多数を占める参議院のねじれが2007年いらい初めて解消されることは、政府が政策課題を推し進めることを強めるだろう。参議院242議席のうちわずか6議席を占める――そのうち3議席が改選される――だけであるにもかかわらず、日本共産党は、自民党にたいする対案を求める有権者のなかで勝利を収めることができると確信しているように思われる。

 一度は反自民党気運の旗印となった、主要野党で前政権の民主党は、昨年の衆議院選挙での大敗北いらい、もがき苦しんでいる。民主党は、44議席の半分を失うと思われている。共産党は、改選3議席を維持し、さらに2議席勝ち取ることを目標としている。日本共産党は、非正規労働者と低賃金を増大さえるといって、雇用規制を緩和しようという政府の計画に反対している。同党はまた、日本農業と地域経済を破壊するといってTPPへの参加にも反対している。さらに日本共産党は、自民党がすすめている原発再稼動と原発技術の輸出にも反対している。
 しかし、志位氏は、共産党は自民党がやろうとしていることに単純に何でも反対しているわけではないと強調した。「どんな問題についても、我々は常に対案を示してきた」と彼は言った。
 日曜日に自民党が勝利することはほとんど確実であることについて、志位氏は、安倍首相が憲法改正にむけた動きを進めることに最大の関心があると言った。首相は、まず96条を変えて、戦争をおこなう国の権利を否定している9条をふくむ他の条項の改正へのハードルを低くしたいと語ってきた。
 「我々は、これを阻止するように訴えたい」と志位氏は言った。「共産党は大きな前進を遂げるだろう」

原文はこちら。↓

Japan Communist Leader Rails Against Abenomics

[July 19, 2013, 7:51 PM]
By Alexander Martin and Eleanor Warnock

As the campaign for Sunday’s upper-house election entered its last leg, JRT caught up with Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii, who has been campaigning across the nation to cast his party as an alternative for voters uneasy with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic agenda, or “Abenomics.”

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Shii laid out what he sees as the dangers of Mr. Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s pro-business agenda and goal of revising the nation’s constitution.

“This election is about people’s lives and the economy, and especially whether voters decide to embrace Abenomics or not,” Mr. Shii said.

He opposes the government’s plan to cut the corporate tax rate and raise the consumption tax from next year. Rather than burdening average citizens, Mr. Shii said the trillions of yen that big corporations hold in their internal reserves should be used to revitalize the economy.

The nearly century-old Communist party is riding on an impressive victory in the recent Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election. The JCP placed third, winning 17 of 127 seats, more than the Democratic Party of Japan, which suffered a massive defeat, dropping to 15 seats from 43.

The JCP is now aiming to put the brakes on Mr. Abe and the ruling coalition’s seemingly unstoppable momentum.

Opinion polls show the LDP and its coalition partner, New Komeito, poised for a landslide. Wresting back the opposition-controlled upper house for the first time since 2007 would strengthen the government’s hand in pushing through its policy agenda.

Despite holding only six of 242 seats in the upper house?three of which are up for re-election?the JCP appears confident it can win over voters looking for an alternative to the LDP.

Once the flag-bearer for anti-LDP sentiment, the main opposition and former governing DPJ has been floundering since a crushing lower-house election defeat last year. The DPJ is expected to lose half its 44 seats up for grabs Sunday. The Communists aim to hold their three seats under contention and win at least two more.

Mr. Shii’s JCP rejects the government’s plan to ease employment regulations, arguing this would lead to an increase in non-regular workers and lower wages. The party also opposes plans to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, saying it would destroy Japan’s agricultural sector and local economies. As well, the JCP opposes restarting nuclear reactors and exporting nuclear technology?both of which the LDP supports.

But Mr. Shii stressed his party wasn’t simply taking knee-jerk positions against anything the LDP proposes. “In any issue that has come up, we’ve always presented alternatives,” he said.

With an LDP victory almost certain Sunday, Mr. Shii said he was most concerned that Mr. Abe would use his mandate to move ahead with efforts to revise the constitution. The prime minister has said he first wants to revise Article 96, lowering the bar to change other articles, including Article 9, which renounces the country’s right to make war.

“We’d like to make an appeal to prevent this from happening, Mr. Shii said. “The Communist party must make great strides.”

ほいでもって、こっち↓が「カクサン部」の記事。

Japan Communists Campaign With Cakes, Costumes

[July 20, 2013, 11:30 AM]
By Eleanor Warnock

As part of a push to refresh the image of Japan’s oldest political party, the Japanese Communist Party unveiled an eight-member digital mascot team, the Proliferation Bureau, to lead this year’s campaign charge ahead of July 21 elections. The characters, including a sun who’s an anti-nuclear activist and a pink-coated labor activist named Koyo no Yoko, lead full digital lives ? tweeting, doing online interviews and appearing in animated clips.

Party officials say supporters have taken political activism to a whole new level with their own Proliferation Bureau fandom.

JRT breaks down some of the more notable examples.

Gourmet Interpretations

In a special episode of the JCP’s online talk show that was dedicated to the Proliferation Bureau on Wednesday, regular presenter Akiko Asaoka revealed that one high-school-age fan had wished the party many happy returns for its 91st birthday with a Proliferation Bureau cake. The round cake read ’91st, Japanese Communist Party,’ next to an icing interpretation of the white, megaphone-bodied Proliferation Bureau chief.

Keeping Cool

Ms. Asaoka also revealed on the talk show that one JCP supporter living in Germany who has been keeping up a Twitter correspondence with the Proliferation Bureau member in charge of family issues had used the group’s logo to create a simple hand-held fan.

The JCP has since made the template for the fan available on their website so supporters can make their own by printing it out and pasting it on a plastic frame.

Aural Homage

The JCP has posted the lyrics to a theme song for the Proliferation Bureau on its website, and encouraged fans to create a hip-hop style jam. The songs presented on the site include rap, piano and a cappella versions.

JRT inteviewed the creator of one of the seven songs ? a JCP supporter who lives in Ishikawa Prefecture and goes by the handle ForeverAfterEternity on Youtube ? about the creative process, via Youtube’s message function.

ForeverAfterEternity said that the piece was originally supposed to be a mid-tempo rock song, but he sped it up and chose a clear synthesized voice to put more emphasis on the words.

“The result of working in more brightness made it a simple tune, almost close to the traditional Japanese pentatonic scale,” he wrote. “I made the song in a short time, but I am very pleased that it seems the party’s PR and many other people have listened to it.”

Playing Dress Up

It was only a matter of time before party supporters tired of just owning Proliferation Bureau goods ? why not get in character?

The first Proliferation Bureau costume was sighted on July 14 at a rally in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Not surprisingly, a woman had come dressed in a pink trench coat, pink shades and sporting a short haircut, posing as the group’s most popular character, Koyo no Yoko.

JCP Chairman Kazuo Shii (whose favorite character, he told JRT, is also Koyo no Yoko) posted a picture of the Commie cosplay to his Twitter account, as did several other party members. Though no one has been able to verify the identity of the mysterious woman, sightings have continued.

“She was at the Ikebukuro speech, and then people were talking on the Internet about how they had seen her in Yoyogi or this and that place. No one knows when or where she’s going to come out,” Kazushi Tamura, 50, deputy head of the publicity department, told JRT.

で、「カクサン部」の記事は、ウォールストリートジャーナル自身に日本語で出ておりました。志位さんの記事は邦訳されてないのに、「カクサン部」の記事が邦訳されるなんて、「カクサン部」もえらくなったもんです。^^;

日本共産党のマスコットキャラ「カクサン部」、参院選を後押し? – WSJ.com

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