Created: 4/12/1963

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Drift to tho Left

The tendency of tho Japanese to vote left has remainedby the changes that bave taken place in Japan and in its place in the world. This leftward drift, which is relativelyby current political issues or shifts ln public opinion,basic sociological and psychological phenomena.

A primary factor in this gradual development Is tbeshift of population from rural areas to urban centers. Agricultural workers traditionally support the conservatives, and industrial and commercialthrough their unions have staunchly supported the left. Agricultural and forestry workers decreased by more

2 (when they totaled slightly overillion) and are expected to decrease by moreillion

In contrast, other workers gained by nearly one million2 to6 million. Union membership is the dominant factor accounting for most of the urban leftist vote. The new workersabor union and, despite their conservative rural background, seem to fall readily into the political patterns of their adopted group.

Host new voters initially vote for the left. Any tendency to switch allegiance to the conservatives as they age is more than offset by tbe greater number of new voters in eachdevelopment that



bo more pronounced as the high birth rate of the early postwar porlod is felt in the.

Youthful radicalism has been especially perslstont in Japan, perhapsesult of the discrediting of the old order by Japan's defeat. It Isroduct of the long-standing maladjustment of the Intellectual in Japanese society. After Japan's defeat, undorpaidwriters, and Journalists, expounding Marxist doctrine, quicklyominantamong students and Jobless graduates. Leftist Influence remains strong among these groups

Marxist Ideology

Japan's defeat and ensuing democratization gave the long-suppressod Marxist-oriented socialists, labor leadors, and Communists the opportunity to emerge as liberated martyrs who had consistently opposed the old order. They claimed the right to lead Japanrescribed course conceived ln Marxist terms. Marxism became, and has generally remained, tho prevailingnot only of the small Communist minority, but of the great majority of leftists who are supporters of the JSP. The only leftist party which has disavowed Marxism is the small Democratic Socialist Partyhich was formedy secession of part of the JSP's right wing.

Marxism gives acolor to the programs


and policies of the left andeep chasm in Japanesepolitics, across which thoro is ICI little communication. conflicts moreover, have provided the theoreticalfor the factionalism that plagues the parties of tbe left.

The Communist Party

The Communist Party (JCP) is the smallest of the left ln parliamentary representation and Influence, with threein the lower house and four in the upper. In the series of local elections throughout Japan which will comeeak in the latter part of April, the JCP is making an effr ft to increase its present one percent of local officeholders. As often ln the past, however, it Is supporting many candidates put up by the JSP.

Through penetration of popular movements and placing its supporters strategically in





unions and government offices, P-ields indirect Influence. Its troublemaklng potential was best shown in tbe staging of large-scale leftist demonstrations and riots2 and

The JCP suffers from its reputation

for subservience to "foreignand has been hurt into keep up with theIn the internationalline. It now is trying to straddle the fence in the Sloo-Soviet controversy. Its heart appears to be in Peiping, but Moscow's financial assistance and stross on tbe popularcoexistence" theme compel the JSP to protest its neutrality.!

socialists of Wostern Europe. Instead, it has occasionally looked to tbe Cosmninlsts of Italy and Yugoslavia for contemporary inspiration.

The party relies heavily on tbe organizational andsupport of the four-mllllon-raeaber General Council of Trade Unions (Sohyo). Far tbe largest labor organization lo Japan, Sohyo has long been controlled by Marxist militants and, until recently, was firmly weddedrogram of radical political action.

The JSP shies away from unltad-front action with the Communists, but contains a

Socialist Party

The JSP holds the bulk of the leftist support. 68 It nearly doubled its percentage of popular vote in national elections, reaching almost one third of the total.

Cast continually in an opposing role and lacking any immediate prospect for gaining power, the party generally couches its pronouncements In doctrinaire Marxist terms. Its foreign policies are similar to tbe Commninists', although it calls for "positive neutrality" and opposes the possession of nuclear weapons bv any power, Including the Soviet Union and Communist China. The JSP has remained largely isolated from the anti-communism and moderating

e affected th* III) humn lArANQi out







left wing eager for close ties wltb then. Competition with the Communists for the Marxist intellectuals' vote and tho influence of Communistcontribute to its extremism.

Tbe existence of the middle of-the-road Democratic Socialist Party has probably kept the JSP from straying further to the left. Moderate, non-Marxian Socialists have been kept in the JSP by timely compromises on immediate Issues and by tho attraction of office ln the far larger organization.

Democratic Socialist Party

The DSP has remained a

sickly splinter party, kept alive only by the funds of tho mllllon-odd-member Congress of Trade Unions (Zenro) and by the zealew Western-oriented intellectuals.

It has been close to tbe socialists of Western Europe, and is patterned along tbe lines of the West German Social Democratic Party. Inaugurated to repudiate the pro-Communist proclivities of the JSP, it has failed in its aim ofa wide segment of the growing Japaneso middle class.

The decline of its Diot representation fromosince reduced by deathsn0 general election for the lowerlow from which It has not recovered. In2 upper house election

its vote fell further and it lost four seats; it may notanother election.

The Rightward Mood

The trend toward tbe left in voting has been latelyby what tho Japanese refer torightward mood" on the part of thehift in emotional andattitudesesulting moderation.

In theheuprising and Khrushchev's denunciations of Stalin raised the Intellectuals' doubts about Communism. Subsequently Communist China's economic setbacks, the Slno-Soviet dispute, and the increased foreign contacts of the Intellectuals havemoderation. The mostinternal development which has brought about at least adetour to the right by both the JSP and JCP was the widespread revulsion to theand excesses marking the struggle over ratification of the US-Japanese Security Treaty

A more basic if slow-working force has been Japan's phenomenal economic growth over the past decade, which has benefited all levols of society. Increased foreign acceptance and growing pride in Japan's new placeartner in tbe free world also are Influences for moderation.

The present moderation could bo nothing moroassing mood. Nevertheless, considerable



eep and continuing trend. Tbe JSP's trade union base, Sohyo, has gradually shifted to anon primarily economic rather than political Issues, more like its American and Vest European counterparts. Younger and less doctrinaire leaders appear to be gaining rank-and-file support The influx of conservative-minded rural workers Into tbe unions may slowly be having some moderating influence.

JSP policy actions have been increasingly concentrated on immediate, concrete Issues affecting the welfare of tbe masses. There Isoncept known as "structuralhich calls for avoiding class war andandmass" partyrogram of broador appealide public. The term is borrowed from Italy's Communist chief, Palmlroto make it palatable to at least some of the extreme lert.

At tbe same time the JSP now is trying to distinguish its program clearly from that of the Communists, Last summer it broke openly with theantlnuclear-bomb organization and has moved rocently, with Sohyo support, to reconstruct this popular movement free of Communist

Out look

Eithor of these trends in Japanese political

the continued growth of tbe leftist vote and tbe recent rightward drift ln left-wingsubject toIn the social, economic, or international milieu which could check, divert, or reverse


If Japan's domestic and International position continues relatively stable and prosperity spreads, the JSP is likely to become an increasinglyfactor, as its share of the vote and of the seats in the Diet gradually grows. In the process, its stronger popular position might cause theLiberal Democratic Party to gain new vitality out of tbe necessities of competition.

rs IS)

The JSP's chances of gaining power in the foreseeable future would be enhanced by aof the present trend toward modernization. This wouldit to reduce the deepwithin tbe socialist camp and to conpete for votes outside the ranks of urban workers and Intellectuals.


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