A Consideration on the Vulnerability of the Japanese Communist Party


Among the opposition parties in Japan, the Japanese Communist Party stands out as the most organized with a long history.

They articulate correct principles, maintain logical consistency, and excel in both information gathering and analytical abilities.

Despite these strengths, their support base is not growing; in fact, it may be decreasing.

While one could argue that the Communist Party is not understood due to the perceived low moral standards of the Japanese people, given the prolonged period of decline, there might be other reasons.

Let’s ponder on this a bit.

Overview of the Japanese Communist Party:

The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) was founded in 1922 and is a political party representing the interests of the working class, farmers, retailers, and other groups.

The JCP adheres to socialist and communist ideologies, aiming for social justice, equality, and a fair economic system.

Receiving support from a certain segment of the electorate in elections, the JCP holds political influence.

It tends to keep a distance from business organizations such as Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and often represents the interests of the general citizens.

The JCP engages in international exchanges and has cooperative relationships with communist parties in other countries.

The party’s policies cover a wide range of areas, including the economy, society, and the environment, with a particular focus on realizing the rights of workers and creating an egalitarian society.

Facts Illustrating the Vulnerabilities of the Japanese Communist Party:

While the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) receives support in various fields, it also faces several challenges and vulnerabilities.

Below, visible phenomena highlighting the vulnerabilities of the JCP are listed.

  1. Declining Approval Ratings: The approval ratings of the Japanese Communist Party are clearly on a downward trend, making it a representative example of an unpopular political party.
  2. Lack of Support from Younger Generations: Some believe that the policies and messages of the JCP are not appealing to the younger generation. In reality, many young people tend to vote for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
  3. Active Moves by Competitors: Other political parties are more actively presenting policies, making the weaknesses of the Japanese Communist Party more noticeable. Specifically, the Japan Innovation Party (Nippon Ishin no Kai) has succeeded in expanding its support among voters aged 20 to 40.
  4. Outdated Image: Despite being a party with a long history, the Japanese Communist Party has an outdated image. The name “Communist Party” itself carries a negative connotation, and the party is perceived as old-fashioned. It’s akin to a windowless coffee shop—difficult to discern from the outside, creating a lack of being relatable.

To increase the number of supporters, it is crucial to confront these realities directly.

Causes of Vulnerability in the Japanese Communist Party:

It is important to consider what is causing the vulnerabilities in the Japanese Communist Party after confirming the reality that illustrates its weaknesses.

The following outlines the reasons.

Democratic Centralism:

In a party with tens of thousands of members, the system of decision-making, including party policies and leadership, being determined by a small minority (approximately two hundred individuals) is known as democratic centralism.

This political party system, unfamiliar to the general public, gives the impression of being closed to many.

Democratic centralism tends to create a closed and exclusive atmosphere, making internal party discussions and exchanges of opinions challenging.

While Chairman Shii states that “there is freedom of expression within the party,” mere assertion without practical implementation is insufficient.

The top-down approach to eliminate dissent can create a negative impression externally.

These factors undeniably contribute to the lack of an increase in supporters.

However, democratic centralism plays a role in promoting internal unity and strengthening decision-making within the party.

Moreover, it has merits such as providing a clear political stance and generating unified opinions on policy directions.

Ultimately, when assessing whether democratic centralism has a positive or negative impact on increasing supporters, it is hard to ignore the significant negatives.

The prolonged low approval ratings tell the whole story.

While advancing reforms within the party and increasing transparency to the public may improve the closed impression, meddling with democratic centralism could weaken internal unity and decision-making.

Striking an appropriate balance, considering both internal and external opinions, is challenging.

However, the vulnerability arises from relying too heavily on democratic centralism without putting in the effort to maintain that balance.

Loss of Flexibility:

As mentioned earlier, adherence to democratic centralism has led to a loss of flexibility within the organization.

This rigidity makes it difficult for opinions and ideas necessary for reform to emerge.

The insistence on unanimous agreement and the exclusion of dissent undermine trust from external entities.

Taking drastic actions, such as expelling a member who have dedicated years to the Japanese Communist Party, simply for advocating a system of electing the party leader, is madness.

Compelling justifications for such extreme measures are not currently apparent.

A rigidified organization becomes stifling for its internal members.

The emergence of new ideas from within becomes unlikely.

Moreover, when the decision-making process within the party is opaque, it creates an impression of a “closed and intimidating organization” to external observers, making it challenging to attract new supporters.

The Japanese Communist Party needs to urgently recognize the seriousness of the situation, instill a sense of flexibility, and undertake efforts toward reform.


In this article, we have examined the vulnerabilities faced by the Japanese Communist Party.

While Chairman Shii of the Japanese Communist Party is intellectually and personally admirable, the party’s support has inexplicably remained at a low level for an extended period.

写真(日本共産党の志位委員長) 出典:TBS

Clearly, this is an abnormal situation.

Having something good but not leveraging it is a significant loss for society.

In such unfavorable outcomes, there is always a cause.

The Japanese are a people who do not shy away from efforts to look away from inconvenient truths, but isn’t the Japanese Communist Party an exception?

The current state of the Communist Party is like a cafe without windows.

If you can’t see what’s happening inside, no one would want to enter.

If the party wants to gain familiarity among the general public, showing unabashed debates within the party is crucial.

This is far more effective than criticizing the Liberal Democratic Party in the parliament or publishing impressive articles in their owned paper.

Let’s continue to pay attention to the Japanese Communist Party, observing how it addresses the challenge of acquiring flexibility in the future.