2013年7月20日 (土) at 23:27:06 Posted in 選挙



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


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



[ウォールストリートジャーナル(電子版)July 19, 2013, 7:51 PM JST]




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.”


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.


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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