Rising communism in Japan

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Let's hope this is a short-lived fad. From the UK Telegraph:
Japan's young turn to Communist Party as they decide capitalism has let them down
With its gleaming designer stores, the world's second largest economy and an insatiable appetite for luxury labels, Japan has long been regarded as the land of the rising capitalist.

But a wave of discontent among its younger workers is fueling a change in the nation's political landscape: communism is suddenly back in fashion.

What many young Japanese view as an erosion of their economic security and employment rights, combined with years of political stagnation, are propelling droves of them into the arms of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), the nation's fourth largest political party.

New recruits are signing up at the rate of 1,000 a month, swelling its ranks to more than 415,000. Meanwhile a classic proletarian novel is at the top of the best-seller lists, and communist-themed "manga" comics are enjoying soaring success.

A further sign of disaffection among young Japanese - who in recent years have been more renowned for their political apathy than their revolutionary zeal - is the increasing frequency of rallies by workers on the streets of the capital.

Earlier this month, crowds of up to 5,000 young Japanese workers marched through the streets of central Tokyo to express their growing discontent with the government over working conditions.

And the job losses, financial insecurity and social dissatisfaction that are expected to go hand in hand with the current global credit crisis are expected to increase the ranks of the party further.

Spearheading the lurch to the Left are young Japanese in their twenties and thirties, who have become increasingly disillusioned with changes to employment laws which they blame for creating a climate of insecurity.

Some 44 per cent of country's workforce are part-time only, while a profusion of short-term contracts has created a generation of freelancers who are often between jobs.

Kimitoshi Morihara, deputy director of the Japanese Communist Party's international bureau, said: "Working conditions dramatically changed for younger generations in 2002 when new temporary working laws were introduced.

Today, more than one in three Japanese is in temporary work. They have almost no rights, no security and no future.
Things have changed in Japan -- twenty years ago, Grade School was a ball-buster, College was a couple years of blowing off steam and then you fought like hell to get hired by a prestigious company as a salaryman. It was a fight because there were a lot of applicants for each position but once hired, you were guaranteed work for life -- getting fired (or quitting and moving to another company) were unheard of. This was a major management issue when the Japanese started building their automobiles in the USA -- they simply could not believe that people would want to move from job to job. Now, work is temporary -- I don't know the culture there now but I am assuming it's probably a bit like Microsoft where you work as a temp for a year or two and if they like you, you get vetted and hired. It seems like the modern Japanese aren't willing to put in the effort to get appreciated and vetted. A bit more (possibly the reason):
"The political climate in Japan is changing and more young Japanese are becoming politically aware because these issues have long been ignored by other parties." The revival of hard left politics comes as Japan faces the prospect of an general election in coming months, following the parliamentary deadlock which led to last month's sudden resignation of Yasuo Fukuda, the third prime minister in less than three years.

The country's sclerotic political system has enabled the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to hold power for an almost unbroken five decades, although its powers were critically curtailed last year when the main opposition party won control of the upper legislative chamber.
That party again? "Liberal Democratic Party" Well, it seems to be breaking up -- the next few years will be interesting to say the least. To put things into a bit of perspective though, if the Communist Party of Japan has 415,000 members, the general population is 127,288,416 (July 2008 est.) so we are looking at about 0.326% -- enough for a news story but not enough to really worry...

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 21, 2008 9:58 PM.

A noble idea gone horribly awry - Saul Alinsky was the previous entry in this blog.

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