4.28.2009

Disgruntled Japanese turn to resurgent communists

·Web-savvy Japanese Communist party's message of welfare and jobs, lures young voters away from sleazed-mired political mainstream.
[Warning! Article to be taken with a pinch of salt. It is, after all, The Guardian]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/27/japanese-communist-party-resurgence
http://www.moo-azumino.com/main/Diary/2007.7/Communism%20Is%20Alive%20and%20Well%20and%20Living%20in%20Japan%20-%20TIME.files/postcard_japan_0621.jpg
Faced with an economy in steep decline, rising unemployment and an uncertain future, a growing number of Japanese are shunning the conservative consensus and turning instead to a new brand of cuddly communism.
While the leaders of Japan's two main political parties battle poor opinion poll ratings and accusations of sleaze, the Japanese Communist party (JCP) has seen its fortunes transformed after years of being dismissed as an irrelevant hangover from the cold war.
In the last 16 months membership has soared to more than 410,000 as the revamped party courts younger voters from the working poor. Of the 14,000 ­people to have joined since the end of 2007, about a quarter are aged under 30, the party says. That contrasts with the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP), whose membership has plummeted from 5 million at its peak to about a million today.
By dispensing with ideological rhetoric and focusing on welfare and jobs, the JCP has struck a chord with students, the unemployed and the estimated 10 million Japanese earning less than 2m yen (about £14,000) a year.
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