Japanese Communist Party

The Japanese Communist Party (日本共産党, Nihon Kyōsan-tō, abbr. JCP) is a communist political party in Japan. With approximately 270,000 members belonging to 18,000 branches, it is one of the largest non-governing communist parties in the world.

Japanese Communist Party
Nihon Kyōsan-tō
ChairmanKazuo Shii
Secretary-GeneralAkira Koike[1]
Representatives leaderChizuko Takahashi
Councillors leaderTomoko Kami
Founded15 July 1922 (15 July 1922)[2]
Headquarters4-26-7 Sendagaya, Shibuya, 151-8586 Japan[3]
NewspaperShimbun Akahata
Youth wingDemocratic Youth League of Japan
Membership (2020)270,000
Political positionLeft-wing[5] to far-left[10]
International affiliationIMCWP
10 / 465
11 / 248
Prefectural assembly members
139 / 2,614
Municipal assembly members
2,473 / 30,101
Election symbol
Party flag
JCP headquarters in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward

The party advocates the establishment of a democratic society based on scientific socialism and pacificism. It believes this objective can be achieved by working within an electoral framework while carrying out an extra-parliamentary struggle against "imperialism and its subordinate ally, monopoly capital". As such, the JCP does not advocate violent revolution and instead proposes a "democratic revolution" to achieve "democratic change in politics and the economy". A staunchly antimilitarist party, the JCP firmly supports Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and aims to dissolve the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The party also opposes Japan's security alliance with the United States, viewing it as an unequal partnership and an infringement on Japanese national sovereignty.

In the wake of the Sino-Soviet split, the JCP began to distance itself from the Eastern Bloc, especially the Soviet Union. The party consequently did not suffer an internal crisis as a result of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991; instead, it welcomed the dissolution of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which it described as the "embodi[ment] of the historical evil of great power chauvinism and hegemonism".


Prewar roots

The Japanese Communist Party was founded in Tokyo on 15 July 1922.[2] Its early leadership was drawn from the anarcho-syndicalist and Christian socialist movements that developed around the turn of the century. From the former came Yamakawa Hitoshi, Sakai Toshihiko, and Arahata Kanson, who had all been supporters of Kōtoku Shūsui, an anarchist executed in 1911. Katayama Sen, another early leader, had been a Christian socialist for much of his political life. The three former anarchists were reluctant to found the JCP, with Yamakawa shortly after arguing that Japan was not ready for a communist party and calling for work to be done solely within labor unions. Katayama's theoretical understanding of Marxism also remained low.[12][13]

Outlawed and persecuted

Prominent wartime JCP members from left to right: Kyuichi Tokuda, Sanzō Nosaka and Yoshio Shiga, c. 1945–1946

The JCP was founded as an underground political association. Outlawed in 1925 with the passage of the Peace Preservation Law, the JCP was subjected to repression and persecution by the Special Higher Police (Tokkō), nicknamed the "Thought Police".[14] JCP members and sympathizers were imprisoned and pressured to "convert" (tenkō suru) to anti-communist nationalism.[14] Many of those who refused to convert remained imprisoned for the duration of the Pacific War. The Japanese Communist Party member Hotsumi Ozaki, who was part of the Richard Sorge spy ring for the Kremlin, was the only Japanese person hanged for treason under the Peace Preservation Law.[15]

Postwar reemergence

The Japan Communist Party was legalized in 1945 by the Allied military occupation of Japan and since then has been a legal political party able to contest elections. In the aftermath of the war, under the guidance of charismatic party chairman Sanzō Nosaka, the party pursued a policy of portraying itself as "lovable".[16] Nosaka's strategy involved avoiding open calls for violent revolution and taking advantage of the seemingly pro-labor stance of the Occupation to organize the urban working classes and win power at the ballot box and through propaganda.[17] In particular, the party was successful in winning acceptance of the notion that communists had been the only ones to resist Japanese wartime militarism.[14] This propaganda effort won the party thousands of new members and an even larger number of sympathizers, especially among artists and intellectuals.[16] The party rapidly built up its strength and in 1949, made unprecedented gains by winning 10 percent of the vote and sending 35 representatives to the Diet.

Red Purge and turn to violence

Beginning in the fall of 1949, in reaction to the JCP's electoral success and as part of the "Reverse Course" in Occupation policy amid rising Cold War tensions, the U.S.-led occupation authorities and the Japanese government carried out a sweeping Red Purge, firing tens of thousands of communists and suspected communists from government posts, teaching positions at universities, high schools, and primary schools, as well as from private corporations.[18] The purge was further intensified in response to the outbreak of the Korean War.[18]

Against this backdrop in January 1950, the Soviet-led Cominform, at the behest of Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, issued a blistering criticism of the JCP's peaceful line as "opportunism" and "glorifying American imperialism". It also demanded that the JCP carry out an immediate violent revolution along Maoist lines.[17] This devastating "Cominform Criticism" led rival JCP factions to compete for the Cominform's approval, and ultimately led to the militant "1951 Platform" (51年綱領) which declared that "it would be a serious mistake to think that Japan's liberation can be achieved through peaceful, democratic means" and called for an immediate violent revolution.[17] The result was a campaign of violence in which JCP activists threw Molotov cocktails at police boxes and cadres were sent up into the mountains with instructions to organize oppressed farmers into "mountain guerrilla squads".[17]

The backlash to the JCP's new militant line was swift and severe. Militants were rounded up, tried, and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, and in the 1952 general election, Japanese voters vented their ire at the JCP by stripping the party of every single one of its 35 Diet seats, a blow from which it would take two decades to recover.[19] Stunned, the JCP gradually began to pull back from its militant line, a process facilitated by the death of Stalin in 1953.[20] At the 6th Party Congress in 1955, the JCP renounced the militant line completely, returning to its old "peaceful line" of gradually pursuing socialist revolution through peaceful, democratic means.[20]

Anpo protests

Kenji Miyamoto held the party's leadership position from 1958 to 1982.

In 1960, the JCP played a central role in organizing the massive Anpo protests against the U.S.–Japan Security Treaty, which were the largest protests in Japan's history.[21] The JCP took a different line than the Japan Socialist Party, Sohyo labor federation, and other groups who argued that the main target of the protest movement was Japanese monopoly capitalism. Instead, the JCP argued that the main enemy was American imperialism, and along with affiliated groups, focused its protests around the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.[22] Accordingly, JCP-linked groups were the driving force behind the "Hagerty Incident" in which the car carrying U.S. President Eisenhower's press secretary James Hagerty was mobbed outside of Tokyo's Haneda Airport on 10 June 1960, provoking a major international incident and helping to precipitate the downfall of the Nobusuke Kishi cabinet.[22]

The Anpo protests were a turning point in the JCP's ongoing attempts to revive its political fortunes after the disastrous turn toward violent revolution in the early 1950s.[17] Although the Maoists had been purged from the party following the earlier disaster, the JCP was still riven by the age-old rivalry between the Rōnō Ha (Worker-Farmer Faction) and the Kōza Ha (Lecture Faction), which dated back to the prewar era.[17] Among other disagreements, the two factions disagreed over which stage of Marxist development Japan was currently in; the Rōnō Ha believed that Japan had already achieved full capitalism, which meant that an immediate socialist revolution was possible, whereas the Kōza Ha argued that Japan's transition to capitalism was not yet complete and that therefore what was needed was a "two-stage" revolutionfirst a "democratic revolution" that would overthrow American imperialism and establish true democracy, and then a "socialist revolution" that would establish communism.[20] Although the "mainstream" of the JCP, led by Kenji Miyamoto, favored the Kōza Ha interpretation, as late as the 7th Party Congress in 1958 the "anti-mainstream" Rōnō Ha faction, led by Shōjirō Kasuga, still controlled around 40 percent of the delegates.[17]

The Anpo protests greatly strengthened the hand of the Kōza Ha faction.[23] During the protest, the JCP, still scarred by the backlash to its violent line in the 1950s, consistently advocated peaceful, orderly, and restrained protests.[23] This stance was highly unpopular with the radical student activists of the Zengakuren student federation, who broke decisively with the JCP as a result and began to build a New Left student movement.[24] However, the movement proved unpopular with the broader public, and the JCP was able to use its image as a "peaceful" and "positive" force during the protests as a recruitment tool. Membership in the party soared during the course of the protests, doubling from 40,000 to 80,000, and most of the new recruits wound up supporting the Kōza Ha line.[23]

Over the remainder of the 1960s, the Kōza Ha was able to purge many members from the Rōnō Ha faction, and others, dissatisfied with JCP policies, quit the party of their own accord.[25] Miyamoto was able to cement his control over the party and reigned as party chairman all the way until 1982. Meanwhile, the party's membership continued to grow rapidly, and the party began to make steady gains at the ballot box, winning more and more seats in the National Diet.[23] By the mid-1960s, the United States Department of State estimated party membership to be approximately 120,000 (0.2% of the working-age population),[26] and the party had acquired around 300,000 members by 1970.[27]

Sino-Soviet split

The party did not take sides during the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. Its politics were independent of the Soviet Union. Reflecting this, the party chairman Miyamoto announced the JCP's opposition to the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. At the same time, the party had distanced itself from Mao and Maoism, which allowed it to avoid being associated with China's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution once they started coming more fully to light in the 1970s. In July 1969, the JCP declared that if it ever came to power, it would permit the free functioning of opposition parties, in an effort to distinguish itself from the one-party states in the Soviet Union and China.[27] In 1976, mentions of "Marxism–Leninism" in the party program were changed to "scientific socialism".[28]

These efforts proved popular among Japanese voters. In the 1972 general election, the JCP won an astonishing 38 seats in the Diet, surpassing its 1949 high of 35 and signalling the party's full recovery from the disastrous militant line of the early 1950s.[29] Party membership continued to grow in the 1970s, albeit at a slower rate than in the 1960s, reaching approximately 500,000 members by 1980.[27]

1980s to 21st century

During the 1980s, party membership began to decline, falling to 370,000 by 1997.[27]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the JCP released a press statement titled "We welcome the end of a party which embodied the historical evil of great power chauvinism and hegemonism". The party also criticized the Eastern Bloc countries which abandoned socialism, describing their decisions as a "reversal of history".[30] Consequently, the party did not suffer an internal crisis as a result of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, nor did it consider disbanding or changing its name. Owing to a significant loss in electoral support, however, the party revised its policies in the 1990s and became a more traditional democratic socialist party.[4]

Lam Peng Er argued in the Pacific Affairs in 1996 that "the JCP's viability is crucial to the health of Japanese democracy" because "[i]t is the only established party in parliament that has not been coopted by the conservative parties. It performs the watchdog role against the ruling parties without fear or favor. More importantly, the JCP often offers the only opposition candidate in prefectural governorship, city mayoral and other local elections. Despite the ostensible differences between the non-Communist parties at the national level, they often support a joint candidate for governor or mayor so that all parties are assured of being part of the ruling coalition. If the JCP did not offer a candidate, there would be a walkover and Japanese voters would be offered a fait accompli without an electoral avenue of protest. Promoting women candidates in elections to win women's votes is another characteristic of the party. More women are elected under the Communist label than other political parties in Japan."[31]

In 2008, foreign media recorded an increase in support for the party due to the effect of the global financial crisis on Japanese workers.[32][33] However, the party failed to increase its number of seats in the 2009 general election. Subsequently, the projected decline of the party was halted, with the JCP becoming the third-largest party in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly[34][35] and making gains in the House of Councillors, going from six to 11 seats. The party surged in the 2014 elections, receiving 7,040,130 votes (13.3%) in the constituency section and 6,062,962 (11.37%) in the party lists.

During the nomination period of the July 2016 House of Councillors election, the party signed an agreement with the Democratic, Social Democratic and People's Life parties to field a jointly endorsed candidate in each of the 32 districts in which only one seat was contested, uniting in an attempt to take control of the House from the LDP/Komeito coalition.[36] JCP leaders expressed willingness to enter into a coalition with the Democratic Party, a notion which was rejected by then-Democratic Party President Katsuya Okada as being "impossible" in the near future due to what he viewed as some of the "extreme leftist policies" promoted by the JCP.[37] The party had three Councillors up for re-election and fielded a total of 56 candidates in the election, down from 63 candidates in the 2013 election, but still the second-highest number after the LDP.[38] However, only 14 of those candidates contested single- and multi-member districts, while 42 contested the 48-seat national proportional representation block.[38]


Pacifism and security policy

One of the JCP's main objectives is terminating the Japan–United States military alliance and the dismantling of all American military bases in Japan.[39] It wants to make Japan a non-aligned and neutral country, in accordance with its principles of self-determination and national sovereignty. There are about 130 American military bases and other related facilities in Japan, with Okinawa Prefecture having the largest American military base in Asia. The JCP has also traditionally championed pacifism.[40]

With regards to the Japan Self-Defence Forces (Japan's armed forces), the JCP's current policy is that it is not principally opposed to its existence (in 2000 the party stated that it would agree to its use should Japan ever be attacked), but that it will seek to abolish it in the long term, international situation permitting.[41]

The JCP also opposes possession of nuclear weapons by any country or the concept of military blocs and opposes any attempt to revise Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which says that "never again ... [will Japan] be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government". Regarding the resolution of disputes, it argues that priority must be given to peaceful means through negotiations, not to military solutions. The JCP says that Japan must adhere to the United Nations Charter.[41]

Economic policy

The JCP strives to change the nation's economic policy of what it sees as serving the interests of large corporations and banks to one of "defending the interests of the people", and to establish "democratic rules" that will check the activities of large corporations and "protect the lives and basic rights of the people".

Regarding the issue of the international economy, the JCP has advocated establishing a new international democratic economic order on the basis of respect for the economic sovereignty of each country and strongly opposes the participation to the TPP. The JCP sees the United States, transnational corporations and international financial capital as pushing globalization, which it says is seriously affecting the global economy, including the monetary and financial problems as well as North–South and environmental problems. The JCP advocates "democratic regulation of activities by transnational corporations and international financial capital on an international scale".

In September 2015, after the passage of the 2015 Japanese military legislation, the JCP called for cooperation from other opposition parties to form an interim government to abolish the bills. It was the first time the party had called for such cooperation with other parties.[42][43][44][45]

Social policy

The Japanese Communist Party is generally regarded as the most progressive party in Japanese politics.[46] The JCP has traditionally been opposed to the existence of the Imperial House since the pre-war days. However, the party changed its stance in 2004 by acknowledging the Emperor as Japan's head of state.[30] The JCP has stated that it supports the establishment of a democratic republic, but also that "[the monarchy] continuation or discontinuation should be decided by the will of the majority of the people in future, when the time is ripe to do so".[47] It is also against Japan's use of its national flag and national anthem which it sees as a relic of Japan's militarist past.[48]

LGBT rights and feminism

The JCP jointly supports 'LGBT equality Law' with Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi.[49] The JCP supports the legalization of same-sex marriage.[50]

The JCP has maintained a friendly relationship with the Japanese feminist camp since its inception, and is still the most active in women's rights issues among major Japanese political parties.[51][52][53] The JCP supports eliminating the wage gap between men and women.[54] It also advocates for more women in politics and political life.[39]

Foreign policy

The JCP adheres to the idea that Japan as an Asian country must stop putting emphasis on diplomacy centering on relations with the United States and the G8 Summit and put Asian diplomacy at the center of its foreign relations. It supports establishing an "independent foreign policy in the interests of the Japanese people" and rejects "uncritically following any foreign power".

The JCP advocates that Japan issue further apologies for its actions during World War II and has condemned prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine.[55] In the 1930s, while the JCP was still illegal, it was the only political party to vocally oppose Japan's war with China.[56] The JCP supports Japanese territorial claims over the Kuril and Senkaku Islands and Liancourt Rocks.[57][58] Furthermore, the JCP has condemned North Korea's nuclear-weapons testing, calling for effective sanctions, but opposing the prospect of a military response.[59]

In 2020, the JCP revised its platform for the first time since 2004. The new platform criticized the Communist Party of China, denouncing China's "great-power chauvinism and hegemonism" as "an adverse current to world peace and progress". The JCP also removed a line from its platform which described China as a country "that is beginning a new quest for socialism". JCP members have stated that this was due to human rights conditions in China. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China denounced the accusations of the JCP as "groundless and biased".[60][61]


According to the party constitution, the highest body of the JCP is the Party Congress, organized by the Central Committee every 2–3 years, though it may be postponed in special circumstances. Between the congresses, the highest body is the Central Committee, elected by the Party Congress. The Central Committee meets two times every year and can also hold a plenum at the request of one-third of its membership.[62] The Central Committee is made out of regular and alternate members; the latter can precipitate in Central Committee meetings but cannot vote. The Central Committee also elects the Executive Committee of the Central Committee, and its chairpersons and vice-chairpersons, the head of the Secretariat and may also elect the chairperson of the Central Committee. The current chairman of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the JCP is Kazuo Shii. The Central Committee also appoints the Disciplinary Commission and the Audit Commission.[62]

The Executive Committee manages party affairs between Central Committee meetings. It appoints the members of the Secretariat, which manages the day-to-day affairs of the party center, and the Central Organ Paper Editors Commission. It also elects the Standing Committee of the Executive Committee.[62]


Shimbun Akahata (Japanese: Red Flag Newspaper) is the daily organ of the JCP in the form of a national newspaper. Musansha Shinbun (Japanese: Proletarian News) was another publication of the party which was circulated between 1925 and 1929.[63] Several other newspapers preceded and merged into Red Flag, including Daini Musansha Shinbun (Japanese: The Second Proletarian News), which was merged into Red Flag in 1932.[64] Daini Musansha Shinbun was itself the immediate successor to the original The Proletarian News, which was banned by the government in September 1929.[64] Daini Musansha Shinbun began publication immediately after the ban.[64]

In the past, the party published numerous other newspapers as well, including another national paper called Nihon Seiji Shinbun (Japanese: Japan Political News) and a theoretical journal called Zenshin (Japanese: Forward).[65] The party also published several regional newspapers such as Class War in and around Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, Shinetsu Red Flag in Nagano and Hokkaido News in Hokkaido.[66] They also published numerous (the exact number is unknown) factory newspapers.[67]

Some regional newspapers, such as Shin Kanagawa (Japanese: New Kanagawa) in Kanagawa, are still published.[68]

Affiliated organizations

The youth wing of JCP is the Democratic Youth League of Japan. In the 1920s and 1930s, the organization published several newspapers of its own, including Rēnin Seinen (English: Lenin Youth) and Proletarian Youth.[64]

The party also has affiliate medical and consumer co-ops.[69] The Japanese Consumers' Co-Operative Union (JCCU), the umbrella body of the co-operative movement in Japan, has a sizable number of communists in its ranks, although the exact numbers are difficult to verify.[69] Another example of the JCP's prevalence in the co-operative movement is the Co-op Kanagawa in the Kanagawa Prefecture, which has 800,000 members and has historical ties to the JCP.[69] It still advertises and occasionally is published in JCP newspapers such as Red Flag and New Kanagawa.[69] The prevalence of house unions in Japan as opposed to enterprise unions has prompted much of the exceptional development of other organizations by the JCP, as well as causing the JCP to seek other external organizational support, including from kōenkai.[69]

Official logo of the Japanese Communist Party and the highlighted acronym JCP

The Choir of JCP-fans (JCPファン雑唱団, JCP-fan zassyōdan) is a musical group which supports the JCP. Its repertory and artistic activity are strongly linked to The Singing Voice of Japan (日本のうたごえ, Nihon no utagoe) / うたごえ運動 Utagoe-undō), a musical movement of Japanese working class that dates back to 1948, when the Choir of the Communist Youth League of Japan (日本青年共産同盟中央合唱団, Nihon-seinen-kyōsan-dōmei Chuō-gassyōdan) was established. The group was founded in Kyoto in 2011 and is directed by Tadao Yamamoto, a composer, accordionist, choir director and ordinary member of the National Council of The Singing Voice of Japan. In various cultural events organized by the party, the Choir of JCP-fans appears as an element among the joined choirs of the volunteer singers of The Singing Voice of Japan. As of 2016, the choir is the only organization of Japanese musicians specializing in political support and in the cultural activity of the party.

Notable concerts and performances by the choir include:

  • 11 February 2011, Kyoto Kaikan Hall: Concert sponsored by the Kyoto Committee of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP).[70]
  • 1 August 2013, Nishijin Bunka Center (Kyoto): Cultural Live Revolutionary Pub, in collaboration with Tokiko Nishiyama (西山登紀子), former JCP member of the House of Councilors.[71]
  • 23 September 2014, Takaragaike Park (Kyoto): Festival Kyoto ed. 2014, organized by the Kyoto Committee of the JCP.[72]
  • 1 February 2015, Kyoiku Bunka Center (Kyoto): Festival sponsored by the Kyoto Committee of the JCP.[73]
  • 29 April 2016, Takaragaike Park (Kyoto): Festival Kyoto ed. 2016, organized by the Kyoto Committee of the JCP: performance with Seifuku Kōjō Iinkai (制服向上委員会) and Akira Koike (小池晃), JCP member of the House of Councilors and Secretary-General of the party.[74][75]


In January 2014, the JCP had approximately 320,000 members. Following the party's advancement in the 2013 Tokyo prefectural election, there had been an increase in membership growth, with over 1,000 people joining in each of the final three months of 2013.[76] Approximately 20% of new members during this period were aged 20–40, showing a higher ratio of young people joining the party than in the past.[76] More recently, membership numbers have declined, with membership at around 300,000 in 2017 and 270,000 in 2020.[77]

Notable members

Pre-war (1922–1941)

Wartime (1941–1945)

Post-war (1945–present)


No. Photo Name
Constituency / title Term of office Prime Minister (term)
Took Office Left Office
General Affairs Chief Secretary (1922–1923)
1Arahata Katsuzō
None5 July 19221923 Katō To. 1922–1923
Yamamoto 1923–1924
2Sakai Toshihiko
Party outlawed by the Government
General Secretary (1945–1970)
1Kyuichi Tokuda
Rep for
Tokyo 2nd
Tokyo 3rd
3 December 194514 October 1953 Shidehara 1945–1946
Yoshida 1946–1947
Katayama 1947–1948
Ashida 1948
Yoshida 1948–1954
2Sanzō Nosaka
Cou for
Tokyo at-large
14 October 19531 August 1958
Hatoyama I. 1954–1956
Ishibashi 1956–1957
Kishi 1957–1960
3Kenji Miyamoto
None1 August 19587 July 1970
Ikeda 1960–1964
Satō 1964–1972
Chairperson (1970–present)
1Kenji Miyamoto
Cou for
National PR
7 July 197031 July 1982 Satō 1964–1972
Tanaka K. 1972–1974
Miki 1974–1976
Fukuda T. 1976–1978
Ōhira 1978–1980
Ito 1980 Acting
Suzuki Z. 1980–1982
2Tetsuzo Fuwa
(born 1930)
Rep for
Tokyo 6th
31 July 198229 November 1987
Nakasone 1982–1987
Takeshita 1987–1989
3Hiromu Murakami
Rep for
Osaka 3rd
29 November 198729 May 1989
Tetsuzo Fuwa
(born 1930)
Rep for
Tokyo 6th
Tokyo PR block
29 May 198924 November 2000
Uno 1989
Kaifu 1989–1991
Miyazawa 1991–1993
Hosokawa 1993–1994
Hata 1994
Murayama 1994–1996
Hashimoto 1996–1998
Obuchi 1998–2000
Mori 2000–2001
5Kazuo Shii
(born 1954)
Rep for
Southern Kanto
PR block
24 November 2000Incumbent
Koizumi 2001–2006
Abe S. 2006–2007
Fukuda Y. 2007–2008
Asō 2008–2009
Hatoyama Y. 2009–2010
Kan 2010–2011
Noda 2011–2012
Abe S. 2012–2020
Suga 2020–2021
Kishida 2021–present

Electoral performance

House of Representatives

Prior to 1996, the entire House of Representatives was elected by majoritarian / "semi-proportional" voting systems with votes cast for individuals (1946: limited voting in multi-member districts, 1947 to 1993 SNTV in multi-member districts). Since 1996, the House of Representatives is elected in a parallel election system—essentially two separate elections only in the lower house complicated by the fact that a candidate may stand in both segments and the sekihairitsu system which ties proportional list ranking to FPTP results: only the majority of members the House of Representatives, 295 (initially 300) seats, are elected in a majoritarian system with voting for candidates (first-past-the-post in single-member districts), while the remaining 180 (initially 200) seats are elected by a proportional representation system (votes are cast for party lists in regional multi-member districts, called "blocks" in the House of Representatives). The votes and vote percentages in the table below are the JCP candidates' vote totals for the whole election from before 1993 and just the votes for the party in the election to the 180 proportional seats after 1996.

The JCP polled 11.3 percent of the vote in 2000, 8.2 percent in 2003, 7.3 percent in 2005, 7.0 percent in 2009, and 6.2 percent in 2012. These results seemed to indicate a trend of declining support, but the party won 21 seats in 2014, up from eight in the previous general election, as the JCP received 7,040,130 votes (13.3 percent) in the constituency section and 6,062,962 (11.37 percent) in the party lists. This continued a new wave of support that was also evident in the 2013 Tokyo prefectural election in which the party doubled its representation. Fighting on a platform directly opposed to neoliberalism, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, attempts to rewrite the constitution, United States Forces Japan, and nuclear power, the JCP tapped into a minority current that seeks an alternative to Japan's rightward direction.[78] Following the 2016 Japanese House of Councillors election, the party held 13 seats in the House of Councillors.[79] After the 2017 Japanese general election, the party held 12 seats in the House of Representatives, and since the 2021 Japanese general election, it holds 10 seats.

House of Representatives
Election year No. of votes % Total seats ± Status
1946 2,135,757 3.8
6 / 464
1947 1,002,883 3.7
4 / 466
2 Opposition
1949 2,984,780 9.8
35 / 466
31 Opposition
1952 896,765 2.5
0 / 466
35 Extra-parliamentary[lower-alpha 1]
1953 655,990 1.9
1 / 466
1 Opposition
1955 733,121 2.0
2 / 467
1 Opposition
1958 1,012,035 2.5
1 / 467
1 Opposition
1960 1,156,723 2.9
3 / 467
2 Opposition
1963 1,646,477 4.0
5 / 467
2 Opposition
1967 2,190,564 4.8
5 / 486
0 Opposition
1969 3,199,032 6.8
14 / 486
9 Opposition
1972 5,496,827 10.5
38 / 491
24 Opposition
1976 5,878,192 10.4
17 / 511
21 Opposition
1979 5,625,527 10.4
39 / 511
22 Opposition
1980 5,803,613 9.8
29 / 511
10 Opposition
1983 5,302,485 9.3
26 / 511
3 Opposition
1986 5,313,246 8.8
26 / 512
0 Opposition
1990 5,226,987 8.0
16 / 512
10 Opposition
1993 4,834,587 7.7
15 / 511
1 Opposition
1996 7,268,743 13.1
26 / 500
11 Opposition
2000 6,719,016 11.2
20 / 480
6 Opposition
2003 4,586,172 7.8
9 / 480
11 Opposition
2005 4,919,187 7.3
9 / 480
0 Opposition
2009 4,943,886 7.0
9 / 480
0 Opposition
2012 3,689,159 6.2
8 / 480
1 Opposition
2014 6,062,962 11.4
21 / 475
13 Opposition
2017 4,404,081 7.9
12 / 465
9 Opposition
2021 4,166,076 7.2
10 / 465
2 Opposition

House of Councillors

Elections to the House of Councillors are staggered. Every three years, half of the House is up for election to six-year terms. In addition, a parallel election system is used: the majority of members of the House of Councillors (currently 146 of 242, or 73 in one regular election to one half of the House) are elected in 45 (formerly 46→47) prefectural districts, votes are cast for individual candidates by SNTV, but with both multi- and single-member districts used and in the latter SNTV becomes identical to FPTP (winner-takes-all). The remaining, currently 96 members (48 per regular election) are elected in one nationwide district. Until 1980, votes there were cast for individuals too by SNTV. Since 1983, votes are cast for party lists and the seats are allocated proportionally (d'Hondt) in the nationwide district. Unlike in general elections to the lower house, a candidate may not be nominated in both segments of one regular election to the upper house. The seats totals show below are the JCP's overall post-election seat totals, not just their seats elected in that particular year. The votes shown are the votes in the election for the 48 (formerly 50) seats in the nationwide SNTV/PR segment.

Election year National district votes Total Status
No. of votes % Seats ±
1947 610,948 2.9
4 / 250
1950 1,333,872 4.8
4 / 260
0 Opposition
1953 293,877 1.1
2 / 260
2 Opposition
1956 599,254 2.1
2 / 254
0 Opposition
1959 551,916 1.9
3 / 254
1 Opposition
1962 1,123,947 3.1
4 / 254
1 Opposition
1965 1,652,364 4.4
6 / 254
2 Opposition
1968 2,146,879 5.0
7 / 251
1 Opposition
1971 3,219,307 8.1
10 / 251
3 Opposition
1974 4,931,650 9.4
19 / 260
9 Opposition
1977 4,260,050 8.4
16 / 252
3 Opposition
1980 4,072,019 7.3
12 / 252
4 Opposition
1983 4,163,877 8.9
14 / 252
2 Opposition
1986 5,430,838 9.5
16 / 252
2 Opposition
1989 3,954,408 7.0
14 / 252
2 Opposition
1992 3,532,956 7.9
11 / 252
3 Opposition
1995 3,873,955 9.5
14 / 252
3 Opposition
1998 8,195,078 14.6
23 / 252
9 Opposition
2001 4,329,210 7.9
20 / 247
3 Opposition
2004 4,363,107 7.8
9 / 242
11 Opposition
2007 4,407,937 7.5
7 / 242
2 Opposition
2010 3,563,556 6.1
6 / 242
1 Opposition
2013 5,154,055 9.7
11 / 242
5 Opposition
2016 6,016,245 10.7
14 / 242
3 Opposition
2019 4,483,411 8.95
13 / 245
1 Opposition
2022 3,618,343 6.82
11 / 248
2 Opposition

Current Diet members

House of Representatives

House of Councillors

See also


  1. The JCP retained members in the House of Councillors.



  1. "JCP elects new leadership" (12 April 2016). "The Japanese Communist Party 5th Central Committee Plenum on 11 April relieved Yamashita Yoshiki (House of Councilors member) of his duty as secretariat head for health reasons and elected Koike Akira (House of Councilors member and currently JCP vice chair) to the position". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  2. Uno 1991, p. 1030.
  3. "Japanese Communist Party". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 25 January 2022. Japanese Communist Party (JCP) operates as a left-wing political party in Japan. The Company conducts membership organization established to promote the interests of a national, State, or local political party or candidate.
  4. "Japanese Communist Party | political party, Japan". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  5. [3][4]
  6. Robert J. Pekkanen; Steven R. Reed; Ethan Scheiner; Daniel M. Smith, eds. (2018). Japan Decides 2017: The Japanese General Election. Springer. p. 93. ISBN 9783319764757.
  7. Ronald J Hrebenar, ed. (2019). Japan's New Party System. Routledge. ISBN 9780429721083. This trend erodes the traditional support of the "progressive" parties, especially those—as with the JCP —perceived to be on the extreme Left.
  8. Jou, Willy; Endo, Masahisa, eds. (2016). Generational Gap in Japanese Politics: A Longitudinal Study of Political Attitudes and Behaviour. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 16. ISBN 9781137503428.
  9. "Election campaign, the Japanese way". The Straits Times. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017. Both the LDP and Kibo no To are in favour of constitutional revision, unlike the new left-leaning Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the far-left Japanese Communist Party.
  10. [6][7][8][9]
  11. 日本に定着するか、政党のカラー [Will the colors of political parties settle in Japan?] (in Japanese). Nikkei, Inc. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  12. Crooke, Matthew (2018). Betraying Revolution: The Foundations of the Japanese Communist Party (master's thesis). University of San Francisco. p. 9. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  13. Walker, David; Gray, Daniel (13 August 2009). The A to Z of Marxism. Scarecrow Press. pp. 162–164. ISBN 978-0-8108-7018-5.
  14. Kapur 2018b, p. 307.
  15. Johnson, Chalmers A. (1990). An Instance of Treason: Ozaki Hotsumi and the Sorge Spy Ring. Stanford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-8047-1766-3.
  16. Kapur 2018a, p. 12.
  17. Kapur 2018a, p. 128.
  18. Kapur 2018a, pp. 9–10.
  19. Kapur 2018a, pp. 129, 133.
  20. Kapur 2018a, p. 129.
  21. Kapur 2018a, pp. 1, 19.
  22. Kapur 2018a, p. 27.
  23. Kapur 2018a, p. 130.
  24. Kapur 2018a, pp. 146–151.
  25. Kapur 2018a, pp. 131–132.
  26. Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H. (March 1968). "Communism and Economic Development". American Political Science Review. American Political Science Association. 62 (1): 110–123. JSTOR 1953329. At. p. 122.
  27. Berton 2000.
  28. Abe, Hitoshi; Shindō, Muneyuki; Kawato, Sadafumi (2018). Pekkanen, Robert J. (ed.). Critical Readings on the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan. Vol. 1. Brill. p. 106. ISBN 978-90-04-38052-3. Retrieved 26 December 2022. In 1976, even the term "proletarian authority" was expunged from the party program, and "Marxism-Leninism" was changed to "scientific socialism."
  29. Kapur 2018a, p. 133.
  30. The Daily Yomiuri JCP struggling to become relevant July 16 2012 Retrieved on 12 July 2012
  31. Er, Lam Peng. The Japanese Communist Party: Organization and Resilience in the Midst of Adversity – in Pacific Affairs, Vol. 69, No. 3. (Autumn, 1996), pp. 362–363.
  32. "Japan's young turn to Communist Party as they decide capitalism has let them down", Daily Telegraph, 18 October 2008.
  33. "Communism on rise in recession-hit Japan", BBC News, 4 May 2009.
  34. "JCP book to be published for the first time in South Korea". jcp.or.jp. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  35. Dvorak, Phred (21 July 2013). "Japan Communists Celebrate a Little Victory". wsj.com. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  36. "Opposition parties, activists ink policy pact for Upper House election". Japan Times. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  37. Osaki, Tomohiro (21 June 2016). "Abe to 'take responsibility' if ruling bloc fails to win 61 seats in Upper House election". Japan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  38. 第3極衰退で候補者減、タレント候補10人に [Fewer candidates with the demise of the third pole – 10 celebrity candidates]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 23 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  39. Durand, Damien. "Le Japon est-il l'avenir du communisme?".
  40. "Japan's persistent pacifism (in English)". East Asia Forum. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  41. 日本共産党綱領 [Japanese Communist Party Platform] (in Japanese). Japanese Communist Party Central Committee. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  42. Shii, Kazuo We Call For Establishing a "National Coalition Government to Repeal the War (Security) Legislation" September 19, 2015 Retrieved 29 September 2015
  43. JCP proposes establishing a national coalition gov't to repeal war legislation September 20, 2015 Japan Press Weekly Retrieved 29 September 2015
  44. JCP seeks cooperation from opposition parties on new security laws September 21, 2015 Japan Times Retrieved 29 September 2015
  45. Two opposition parties to mull coalition talks with JCP September 28, 2015 Japan Times Retrieved 29 September 2015
  46. The JCP is on an independent path different from other communist parties, and has traditionally been regarded as a (socially) progressive party in the context of Japanese politics:
  47. "Shii answers reporters' questions on JCP decision to attend opening ceremony of the Diet – @JapanPress_wky". japan-press.co.jp. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  48. "『日の丸・君が代』 子どもへの強制やめよう" (in Japanese). Japanese Communist Party. 6 March 2000. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  49. "FOCUS: Japan election pledges on LGBT rights boost legislation hopes". Kyodo News. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2022. The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and three others – the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi – agreed on a common policy of enacting an LGBT equality law.
  50. Inada, Miho; Dvorak, Phred. "Same-Sex Marriage in Japan: A Long Way Away?". The Wall Street Journal. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  51. Ian Neary, ed. (2009). The Buraku Issue and Modern Japan: The Career of Matsumoto Jiichiro. Routledge.
  52. Melissa Haussman, Birgit Sauer, ed. (2007). Gendering the State in the Age of Globalization: Women's Movements and State Feminism in Postindustrial Democracies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 196. Movement The repression in the 1920s of all leftist organizations, including the Japanese Communist Party which had been formed in 1922, led to their women militants being hounded and also to the suppression of feminist activities.
  53. "Voters elect 41 women to the Tokyo assembly, the most ever". The Asahi Shimbun. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2022. Of all the parties, the Japanese Communist Party saw the highest number of its female candidates elected to the assembly at 14. Voters sent 19 of the party's candidates to the assembly in total.
  54. "Japan election latest: Tokyo stocks jump as LDP win eases uncertainty". Nikkei Asia. 1 November 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021. \The JCP also put gender at the center of its platform, vowing to eliminate wage gaps between men and women.
  55. "JCP Chair Shii comments on Abe's shrine visit". Japanese Communist Party. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  56. 日本共産党の八十年: 1922~2002 (in Japanese). 日本共産党中央委員会出版局. 2003. ISBN 978-4-530-04393-5.
  57. "尖閣・竹島・千島 領土問題 – 特集". Japanese Communist Party. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  58. "領土問題 尖閣諸島 竹島/日本共産党はこう考えます" (in Japanese). Japanese Communist Party. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  59. "Shii comments on DPRK nuclear test". Japanese Communist Party. 16 February 2013. 2 April 2014.
  60. "Japanese Communist Party slams China in first platform change since 2004". The Japan Times Online. 18 January 2020. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  61. "China's Communist Party a threat to peace, says Japanese counterpart". South China Morning Post. 20 January 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  62. "Constitution of the Japanese Communist Party". www.jcp.or.jp. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  63. Musansha shinbun. Stanford University Libraries. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  64. Beckmann & Okubo 1969, p. 188.
  65. Beckmann & Okubo 1969, p. 250.
  66. Beckmann & Okubo 1969, pp. 138–139.
  67. Beckmann & Okubo 1969, p. 152.
  68. Lam Peng-Er (1999) Green Politics in Japan, p63
  69. Lam Peng-Er (1999) Green Politics in Japan, pp62-64
  70. 「いっぱい花咲かそうコンサート2011」日本共産党京都府委員会 [First performance of the Choir of JCP-fans in a concert Kyoto Kaikan Hall, sponsored by the committee of Kyoto of the JCP.]. Japanese Communist Party.
  71. 「文化ライブで勝利に貢献 共産・文化後援会が革命酒場」- 京都民報 (in Japanese). 5 August 2013.
  72. 「2014 京都まつり」- 文化の森 ステージ「にぎわいの広場」日本共産党京都府委員会 (in Japanese). Kyoto Committee of the JCP. 9 September 2014.
  73. 「いっぱい花咲かそうフェスタ2015」同上 (in Japanese). Kyoto Committee of the JCP. 29 January 2015.
  74. 「2016 京都まつり」(宝が池公園)。制服向上委員会、小池晃(参議院議員・日本共産党書記局長)共演「2016京都まつり」同上 (in Japanese). Kyoto Committee of the JCP. 2 April 2016.
  75. 制服向上委員会公式ブログ「2016.04.23 イベント告知」 (in Japanese). Seifuku Kojo Iinkai (SKI). 23 April 2016.
  76. "Japanese Communist Party seeing sharp increase in new, young members (in English)". Mainichi Shimbun. 7 January 2014. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  77. "A Profile of the Japanese Communist Party (2020)". Japanese Communist Party. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  78. Katz, Phil. "Kinder Scout Trespass commemoration – sponsored fundraiser". www.communist-party.org.uk. Archived from the original on 30 October 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  79. "Upper House Election 2016". The Japan News. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.


Journal articles

Further reading

  • Peter Berton and Sam Atherton, "The Japanese Communist Party: Permanent Opposition, but Moral Compass." New York: Routledge, 2018.
  • T.E. Durkee, The Communist Party of Japan, 1919–1932. PhD dissertation. Stanford University, 1953.
  • G.A. Hoston, Marxism and the Crisis of Development in Prewar Japan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.
  • Hong M. Kim, Deradicalization of the Japanese Communist Party Under Kenji Miyamoto. Cambridge University Press, 1976.
  • Stephen S. Large, The Romance of Revolution in Japanese Anarchism and Communism during the Taishō Period. Cambridge University Press, 1977.
  • Robert A. Scalapino, The Japanese Communist Movement: 1920–1966. London: Cambridge University Press. 1967.
  • R. Swearingen and P. Langer, Red Flag in Japan: International Communism in Action, 1919–1951. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1952.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.