Japanese Communist Party


The Japanese Communist Party (日本共産党, Nihon Kyōsan-tō, abbr. JCP) is a political party in Japan and one of the largest non-governing communist parties in the world. The JCP advocates for the establishment of a society based on scientific socialism, communism, democracy, peace, and antimilitarism. It proposes to achieve its objectives by working within a democratic framework while struggling against what it describes as "imperialism and its subordinate ally, monopoly capital". The party does not advocate violent revolution, instead, it proposes a "democratic revolution" to achieve "democratic change in politics and the economy" and "the complete restoration of Japan's national sovereignty", which it sees as being infringed upon by Japan's security alliance with the United States, although it firmly defends Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and aims to dissolve the Japan Self-Defense Forces, which it considers unconstitutional, due to its opposition of the re-militarization of Japan.

Japanese Communist Party
ChairmanKazuo Shii
Secretary-GeneralAkira Koike[1]
Representatives leaderKeiji Kokuta
Councillors leaderYoshiki Yamashita
Founded15 July 1922; 99 years ago (15 July 1922)[2]
Headquarters4-26-7 Sendagaya, Shibuya, 151-8586 Japan[3]
NewspaperShimbun Akahata
Youth wingDemocratic Youth League of Japan
Membership (2021)270,000[4]
Political positionLeft-wing[12] to far-left[17]
International affiliationIMCWP
Colours  Red[18]
10 / 465
13 / 245
Prefectural assembly members
139 / 2,614
Municipal assembly members
2,473 / 30,101
Election symbol
Flag of JCP.svg
Party flag
Flag of the Japanese Communist Party.svg
www.jcp.or.jp/english Edit this at Wikidata
Kazuo Shii, Chair of the Central Committee (2000–present)
JCP members from left to right: Tokuda Kyuichi, Nosaka Sanzo and Yoshio Shiga (in 1945 or 1946)
JCP headquarters in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward

The JCP is one of the largest non-ruling communist parties in the world, with approximately 270,000 members belonging to 18,000 branches.[19] In the wake of the Sino-Soviet split, the party began to distance itself from the Eastern Bloc, especially from the Soviet Union. 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", while at the same time criticizing Eastern European countries for abandoning socialism, describing it as a "reversal of history".[20] Consequently, the party did not suffer an internal crisis as a result of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, nor has it considered disbanding or changing its name or fundamental objectives, as many other communist parties have done.

The JCP polled 11.3% of the vote in 2000, 8.2% in 2003, 7.3% in 2005, 7.0% in 2009, and 6.2% 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%) in the constituency section and 6,062,962 (11.37%) 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.[21] Following the 2016 Japanese House of Councillors election, the party holds 13 seats in the House of Councillors.[22] 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.


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.[23] 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.[23] More recently, membership numbers have declined, with membership at around 300,000 in 2017 and 270,000 in 2020.[24][25]


Prewar rootsEdit

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

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.[26][27]

Outlawed and persecutedEdit

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".[28] JCP members and sympathizers were imprisoned and pressured to "convert" (tenkō suru) to anti-communist nationalism.[28] 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.[citation needed]

Postwar reemergenceEdit

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".[29] 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.[30] In particular, the party was successful in winning acceptance of the notion that communists had been the only ones to resist Japanese wartime militarism.[28] This propaganda effort won the party thousands of new members and an even larger number of sympathizers, especially among artists and intellectuals.[29] 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 violenceEdit

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.[31] The purge was further intensified in response to the outbreak of the Korean War.[31]

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.[30] 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.[30] 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".[30]

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.[32] Stunned, the JCP gradually began to pull back from its militant line, a process facilitated by the death of Stalin in 1953.[33] 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.[33]

Anpo protestsEdit

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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[35]

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.[30] 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.[30] 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" revolution—first a "democratic revolution" that would overthrow American imperialism and establish true democracy, and then a "socialist revolution" that would establish communism.[33] 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.[30]

The Anpo protests greatly strengthened the hand of the Kōza Ha faction.[36] During the protest, the JCP, still scarred by the backlash to its violent line in the 1950s, consistently advocated peaceful, orderly, and restrained protests.[36] 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.[37] 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.[36]

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.[38] 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.[36] 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),[39] and the party had acquired around 300,000 members by 1970.[6]

Sino-Soviet splitEdit

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.[6]

These efforts proved popular, and 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.[40] Party membership continued to grow in the 1970s, albeit at a slower rate than in the 1960s, reaching approximately 500,000 members by 1980.[6]

1980s to 21st centuryEdit

During the 1980s, party membership began to decline, falling to 370,000 by 1997.[6] Owing to a significant loss in electoral support, the party revised its policies in the 1990s and became a more traditional democratic socialist party.[8]

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."[41]

In 2008, foreign media recorded an increase in support for the party due to the effect of the global financial crisis on Japanese workers.[42][43] 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[44][45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48] However, only 14 of those candidates contested single- and multi-member districts, while 42 contested the 48-seat national proportional representation block.[48]


Pacifism and Security policyEdit

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.[49] 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.[11]

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

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 ... [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.[citation needed]

Economic policyEdit

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.[50][51][52][53]

Social policyEdit

The Japanese Communist Party is generally known as the most (especially socially) progressive party in Japanese politics.[10] The JCP has traditionally been opposed to the existence of the Imperial House since the pre-war days. From 2004,[20] it has acknowledged the Emperor as Japan's head of state as long as he remains a figurehead. The JCP has stated that it supports the establishment of a democratic republic, but that "its [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".[54] 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.

LGBT rights and feminismEdit

The JCP jointly supports 'LGBT equality Law' with Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi.[55] The JCP supports the legalization of same-sex marriage.[56]

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.[57][58][59] The JCP supports eliminating the wage gap between men and women.[60] It also advocates for more women in politics and political life.[49]

Foreign policyEdit

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.[61] In the 1930s, while the JCP was still illegal, it was the only political party to actively oppose Japan's war with China and World War II.[clarification needed][citation needed] However, the JCP supports Japanese territorial claims over the Kuril and Senkaku Islands and Liancourt Rocks. Furthermore, the JCP has condemned North Korea's nuclear-weapons testing, calling for effective sanctions, but opposing the prospect of a military response.[62]

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".[63][64]



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.[65] 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.[66] Daini Musansha Shinbun was itself the immediate successor to the original The Proletarian News, which was banned by the government in September 1929.[66] Daini Musansha Shinbun began publication immediately after the ban.[66]

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).[67] 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.[68] They also published numerous (the exact number is unknown) factory newspapers.[69]

Some regional newspapers, such as Shin Kanagawa (Japanese: New Kanagawa) in Kanagawa, are still published.[70]

Affiliated organizationsEdit

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.[66]

The party also has affiliate medical and consumer co-ops.[71] 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.[71] 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.[71] It still advertises and occasionally is published in JCP newspapers such as Red Flag and New Kanagawa.[71] 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.[71]

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

The musical group Choir of JCP-fans (JCPファン雑唱団, JCP-fan zassyōdan), was founded in Kyoto in 2011 and directed by Tadao Yamamoto, composer, accordionist, choir director and an ordinary member of the National Council of The Singing Voice of Japan (日本のうたごえ, Nihon no utagoe) / うたごえ運動 Utagoe-undō). As of 2016, the choir is the only organization of Japanese musicians specializing in political support and in the cultural activity of the party, naming itself explicitly by the English official acronym JCP. Its repertory and artistic activity are strongly linked in The Singing Voice of Japan, 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. 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.

Activity of the Choir (some notable concerts and performances)
  • 11 February 2011, Kyoto Kaikan Hall: Concert sponsored by the Kyoto Committee of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP).[72]
  • 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.[73]
  • 23 September 2014, Takaragaike Park (Kyoto): Festival Kyoto ed.2014, organized by the Kyoto Committee of the JCP.[74]
  • 1 February 2015, Kyoiku Bunka Center (Kyoto): Festival sponsored by the Kyoto Committee of the JCP.[75]
  • 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.[76][77]

Notable membersEdit


Pre-war (1922–1941)Edit

Wartime (1941–1945)Edit

Post-war (1945–present)Edit


No. Photo Name
Constituency / title Term of office Prime Minister (term)
Took Office Left Office
General Affairs Chief Secretary (1922–1923)
1   Arahata Katsuzō
None 5 July 1922 1923 Katō To. 1922–1923
Yamamoto 1923–1924
2   Sakai Toshihiko
None 1923 1923
Party outlawed by the Government
General Secretary (1945–1970)
1   Kyuichi Tokuda
Rep for
Tokyo 2nd
Tokyo 3rd
3 December 1945 14 October 1953 Shidehara 1945–1946
Yoshida 1946–1947
Katayama 1947–1948
Ashida 1948
Yoshida 1948–1954
2   Sanzō Nosaka
Cou for
Tokyo at-large
14 October 1953 1 August 1958
Hatoyama I. 1954–1956
Ishibashi 1956–1957
Kishi 1957–1960
3   Kenji Miyamoto
None 1 August 1958 7 July 1970
Ikeda 1960–1964
Satō 1964–1972
Chairperson (1970–present)
1   Kenji Miyamoto
Cou for
National PR
7 July 1970 31 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
2   Tetsuzo Fuwa
(b. 1930)
Rep for
Tokyo 6th
31 July 1982 29 November 1987
Nakasone 1982–1987
Takeshita 1987–1989
3   Hiromu Murakami
Rep for
Osaka 3rd
29 November 1987 29 May 1989
  Tetsuzo Fuwa
(b. 1930)
Rep for
Tokyo 6th
Tokyo PR block
29 May 1989 24 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
5   Kazuo Shii
(b. 1954)
Rep for
Southern Kanto
PR block
24 November 2000 Incumbent
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

Popular support and electoral resultsEdit

House of Representatives (Lower House)Edit

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.

House of Representatives
Election year No. of votes % of vote 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 Opposition
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 (Upper House)Edit

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 % 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

Current Diet membersEdit

House of RepresentativesEdit

House of CouncillorsEdit

See alsoEdit



  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. ^ a b Uno 1991, p. 1030.
  3. ^ a b "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. ^ [1] (2021). Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  5. ^ Taguchi, Fukuji. 日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ)の解説 [The Nihon Dai Hyakka Zensho: Nipponica's explanation]. kotobank.jp (in Japanese). The Asahi Shimbun Company. Retrieved 28 October 2020.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d e Berton 2000.
  7. ^ "How the Japanese Communist Party Developed its Theory of Scientific Socialism". Japanese Communist Party. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Japanese Communist Party | political party, Japan". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  9. ^ ""선제공격 능력 갖추자" 日정부 주장에…"시대착오적" 비판". Edaily (in Korean). 13 November 2021. Retrieved 3 December 2021. ... 개헌에 반대해 온 진보 성향의 일본공산당은 "적 기지에 대한 공격력을 갖추더라도 상대국의 지하나 이동발사대 등 미사일 위치를 모두 파악하고 파괴하는 것은 불가능하다"며 ... [... The progressive position Japanese Communist Party, which has opposed the constitutional amendment, said, "Even if it has offensive power against enemy bases, it is impossible to identify and destroy all missile locations such as underground or mobile launchers of the other country" ...]
  10. ^ a b 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:
    • 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.
    • Willy Jou, Masahisa Endo, ed. (2016). Generational Gap in Japanese Politics: A Longitudinal Study of Political Attitudes and Behaviour. Springer. p. 29. ISBN 9781137503428. Conventional wisdom, still dominant in media and academic circles, holds that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) occupy the conservative and progressive ends of the ideological spectrum, ...
    • Takemasa Ando, ed. (2013). Japan's New Left Movements: Legacies for Civil Society. Routledge. p. 33. ISBN 9781135087388. Progressive parties: Progressive parties, the Japan Socialist Party (JSP) and the Japan Communist Party (JCP), also played a key role in the large-scale mobilisation
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  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "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.
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  19. ^ "A Profile of the Japanese Communist Party (2020)". www.jcp.or.jp. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
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  21. ^ 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.
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  24. ^ "A Profile of the Japanese Communist Party 2020". www.jcp.or.jp. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
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  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Walker, David; Gray, Daniel (13 August 2009). The A to Z of Marxism. Scarecrow Press. pp. 162–164. ISBN 978-0-8108-7018-5.
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  31. ^ a b Kapur 2018a, pp. 9–10.
  32. ^ Kapur 2018a, pp. 129, 133.
  33. ^ a b c Kapur 2018a, p. 129.
  34. ^ Kapur 2018a, pp. 1, 19.
  35. ^ a b Kapur 2018a, p. 27.
  36. ^ a b c d Kapur 2018a, p. 130.
  37. ^ Kapur 2018a, pp. 146–151.
  38. ^ Kapur 2018a, pp. 131–132.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ Kapur 2018a, p. 133.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ "Japan's young turn to Communist Party as they decide capitalism has let them down", Daily Telegraph, 18 October 2008.
  43. ^ "Communism on rise in recession-hit Japan", BBC News, 4 May 2009.
  44. ^ "JCP book to be published for the first time in South Korea". jcp.or.jp. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  45. ^ Dvorak, Phred (21 July 2013). "Japan Communists Celebrate a Little Victory". wsj.com. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  46. ^ "Opposition parties, activists ink policy pact for Upper House election". Japan Times. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ a b 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.
  49. ^ a b Durand, Damien. "Le Japon est-il l'avenir du communisme?".
  50. ^ Shii, Kazuo We Call For Establishing a "National Coalition Government to Repeal the War (Security) Legislation" September 19, 2015 Retrieved 29 September 2015
  51. ^ JCP proposes establishing a national coalition gov't to repeal war legislation September 20, 2015 Japan Press Weekly Retrieved 29 September 2015
  52. ^ JCP seeks cooperation from opposition parties on new security laws September 21, 2015 Japan Times Retrieved 29 September 2015
  53. ^ Two opposition parties to mull coalition talks with JCP September 28, 2015 Japan Times Retrieved 29 September 2015
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  55. ^ "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.
  56. ^ Inada, Miho; Dvorak, Phred. "Same-Sex Marriage in Japan: A Long Way Away?". The Wall Street Journal. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
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  58. ^ 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.
  59. ^ "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.
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  72. ^ 「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.
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  76. ^ 「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.
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  • Beckmann, George M.; Okubo, Genji (1969). The Japanese Communist Party, 1922–1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804706742.
  • Kapur, Nick (2018a). Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674984424.
  • Uno, Shun'ichi (1991). Nihon zenshi: Japan chronik (in Japanese). Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd. ISBN 4-06-203994-X.

Journal articlesEdit

  • Berton, Peter (May 2000). "The Japanese Communist Party and Its Transformations". Japan Policy Research Institute (JPRI Working Paper No. 67). Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  • Kapur, Nick (2018b). "The Empire Strikes Back? The 1968 Meiji Centennial Celebrations and the Revival of Japanese Nationalism". Japanese Studies. 38 (3): 305–328. doi:10.1080/10371397.2018.1543533. S2CID 149788596.

Further readingEdit

  • 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.

External linksEdit

  • Official website
  • "Anti-Russian Organization Rises in Japan; Red Liaison Officer Says That American Occupation Too Soft". Times Daily. 9 October 1945.
  • "Military Oblivion Is Japs' Fate". The Evening Independent. 15 October 1945.
  • "Jap Communists Ask United Front Against Shidehara". The Evening Independent. 19 October 1945.
  • "Japanese Reds Enjoy Freedom For First Time". Berkeley Daily Gazette. 15 December 1945.
  • Members of the Communist Party march and protest in Tokyo (in Japanese). NHK. 27 December 1945.
  • Article on Japanese Communist Party from Japanese Press Translations 1945–46. Dartmouth Digital Library Collections.
  • "Japanese Communist Party Asks End of Feudal System". Berkeley Daily Gazette. 23 February 1946.
  • "5–12 The Red Purge". National Diet Library. Modern Japan Archives. 6 June 1950.
  • "Red Parliament Members Fight Purge in Japan". The Owosso Argus-Press. 8 June 1950.
  • "Japan's Eight Top Communists Still Missing Without Clue". Reading Eagle. 3 June 1951.
  • Kazuo Shii: Comments from the Japanese Communist Party on the upcoming election. YouTube video (in English) of the JCP leader Kazuo Shii discussing the 2014 Japanese general election. Uploaded 8 December 2014.