In Nagasaki on Aug. 8, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) and Communist Party USA (CPUSA) met to discuss their common struggle against the Bush foreign policy doctrine of first strike nuclear war. Nishiguchi Hikaru, JCP International Bureau director, and Judith Le Blanc, a CPUSA national vice chair, met at the time of the annual World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. As a result of the meeting, relations between the two parties were normalized.

The JCP and CPUSA had not met formally since the early 1980s. In an Aug. 1 letter to JCP Central Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo and Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo, CPUSA National Chairman Sam Webb and International Secretary Marilyn Bechtel expressed the CPUSA’s wish to normalize relations with the JCP. “We wish to apologize on behalf of the Communist Party USA for attacks the CPUSA made on the class position and motivation of the Japanese Communist Party in the period leading up to the rupture of relations between our two parties,” the letter said. Relations were broken off after publication of an article criticizing the JCP as “anti-Soviet, anti-working class and anti-Marxism-Leninism.”

“We believe the unity of the world communist movement is more important than ever at this time when the Bush administration’s policies and actions are greatly escalating the threat of war including nuclear war,” Le Blanc told the PWW. “Our parties are each working urgently to avert U.S. imperialism’s rampant drive for world domination and its doctrine of perpetual pre-emptive warfare.” When differences do arise, parties need to express these respectfully and objectively, she added.

At the time of the JCP’s 22nd Congress in 2000, the party had over 380,000 members, and its newspaper, Akahata, two million subscribers. The party has significant representation in both houses of the national legislature and has many local assembly members. It is an active participant in people’s movements including the labor movement and peace movement.

The Japanese peace and disarmament movement has sponsored an international conference since 1955, marking the anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to mobilize international action against the use of nuclear weapons.

Further plans for exchanges as well as use of their respective publications to inform U.S. and Japanese activists of the strategies of the CPs of Japan and the U.S. were also discussed at the Aug. 8 meeting. “We are excited to once again be linked with a very important party which is deeply involved in the struggle for a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons and closely connected to the daily struggles of the Japanese people,” Le Blanc said.