Part One: Humanism Based on Sanctity of Life
New Komeito is a political party for, of and by the people, open to all citizens of Japan. Underlying all our activities and policies is a humanism that assigns the highest importance on life, living and the right to survival, and has as its primary objective the pursuit of happiness for both the individual and for humankind.
As the world stands at this historic threshold, an era of momentous transformation when the 20th century cedes to the 21st, it is imperative that humanity possesses both the clarity of vision and acumen not only to address the challenges of this age, but to ensure a better tomorrow. We believe that the humanism based on life's inherent dignity meets this need.
The 20th century was an era sundered by war and revolution, the former typically resulting from nationalistic ambition, the latter from ideological clashes. Yet if history is to serve as a lesson, it is that nations and ideologies are not important in and of themselves, but for their contributions to the welfare of their people. Tragically, ordinary citizens have all too readily been sacrificed at the altar of national interest or ideological expedience.
The humanism of New Komeito holds that there is no higher end or objective than human happiness, and that nothing can ever justify relegating people as a means to an end. Thus, every human endeavor—from belief systems and institutions, to science, economics and politics—should exist to serve human beings.
The primary purpose of politics, then, is to ensure and promote the right of all human beings to live and flourish as humanely as possible. Historically, human rights began as a struggle to secure civil and political liberties of the individual by curtailing the authority of the state, evolving to include the rights of minimum subsistence and other social entitlements. Today, the principles of human rights occupy a central position in the matrix of basic human needs, from peace and economic development to harmony with nature.
New Komeito's advocacy of human rights is based on our belief in the sanctity of life, and the understanding that the protection and promotion of these rights are as crucial for Japan as they are the world in the 21st century.
Part Two: Reshaping a New Japan
Since the founding of New Komeito's predecessor, the Komeito party, we have consistently acted upon the principle that an individual's well being and social prosperity are inseparable and mutually dependent. We have poured our energies into building a culturally advanced society that, as a nation, offers comprehensive social services and is genuinely responsive to the real-world needs of ordinary people, for this very reason.
For more than a century, Japan has placed industrial development a priority and relied on exports to drive economic growth. And while our nation has emerged as one of the largest economies in the world, we have also had to pay a high price for our success, for Japan's monomaniac pursuit of economic gain has been the source of persistent criticism from the international community. The emphasis on producers and corporations has been sustained over the years by the postwar political, regulatory and commercial regime.
And it was this regime—in which the individual citizen was largely overlooked—that in recent years began to exhibit signs of serious duress and distortion. The distribution of wealth became disproportionate both economically and socially, and the right to a decent life as individuals thoroughly diluted. The Japanese typically worked long hours, took short vacations and lived in shabby houses; they were obsessed with grades and schooling and deeply concerned over retirement security. The nation, meanwhile, was hamstrung by a shortage of social capital and an education system that prized uniformity over uniqueness.
Japan may be an economic giant, but the quality of life for her people remains shamefully underdeveloped—a discrepancy requiring urgent redress.
The most crucial and difficult step is to revamp the postwar regime and institutionalize the principle that the nation, its bureaucracy and society itself exists to serve common citizens.
In addition, Japan must develop a new economic order, one that not only subscribes to free market principles, but ensures social equality and shelters the most vulnerable members of society. Striking a balance between market forces and the principles of basic equality will be an extraordinary test and challenge, yet serve as an invaluable model for other countries if it should prove successful.
In many ways, the transformation has already begun as Japan evolves from a highly industrialized society to its post-industrial successor. Many Japanese, especially those of the younger generations, are valuing their own careers and lifestyles over the companies they work for. Materialism is gradually ceding way to more humanistic values as people, seeking a more meaningful equilibrium, learn to appreciate the spiritual and cultural dimensions of their lives and the need to enrich both. New Komeito is committed to making this transition a success.
Part Three: Coexistence of Humanity and Nature
Protecting our planet from the ravages of environmental pollution and depletion of natural resources is as much a matter of utmost urgency to humanity now as it is also a duty owed to the generations that are to follow. For the future generations to enjoy the treasures of a rich, biodiverse earth that people enjoy today, a paradigm shift in the way we produce and consume goods must occur. We need to adopt new lifestyles which value the quality of life over its material affluence.
To engender such a shift, humanity can no longer be hostage to economic principle and its relentless pursuit of profit and productivity, we must alter the very tenets of a worldview that modern civilization has, often wrongly and at great cost, adopted over the centuries. An end must be put to the view and practice that human beings are masters of the planet, destined to subjugate nature. We must recognize that the Earth itself is a dynamic, living entity, one in which the human species is inextricably linked and organically inseparable.
We ignore this at our own peril, for a direct correlation exists between the devastation human beings wreck on the natural environment and the impact it has on their survival. Entire civilizations have disappeared because they neglected this historical fact
Part Four: Global Citizenship, Global Benefit
Humanity stands at a critical crossroad. Although the specter of World War III and an all-out nuclear exchange has receded with the Cold War's end, the existence of a vast stockpile of nuclear weapons continue to threaten our survival as a species. Other crises haunt us on a global scale, including the environment, energy, population explosion, famine, poverty and a gamut of human rights abuses.
No nation could hope to tackle issues of such magnitude alone. The only viable alternative is to overcome the limitations of the nation-state and embrace a truly global vision and approach. We believe a lasting solution can only come about through global citizenry, a realization of our shared humanity and reliance on the power of dialogue to transcend our differences. Through it we can rise above the traditional, narrow-minded interests of governments and push forward the overarching interests of the human family and the planet.
As a party firmly committed to global citizenry, New Komeito is striving to bridge all that divides humankind, united in the effort to resolve all that confronts us. Or, as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto so succinctly counseled in 1955: “Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.”
Part Five: Japan's Contribution to the World
Japan today has not only emerged among the most powerful economies in the world, she has also become its largest creditor. We can no longer expect the world to remain silent, as it was in the past, when our nation thought about peace and prosperity only for itself. Instead, the international community has now come to depend on Japan as an invaluable member whose contributions to the world befit its status as an economic giant and global leader.
Were it not for her people and their unshakable work ethic, Japan would have never risen from the ruins of World War II to become the economic power she is today. Yet we also need to recognize the contributions of the international community, whose guardianship and generosity afforded our country the time and resources to rebuild and prosper. In way of replying to this debt of gratitude, Japan must assume a leadership role in advancing the interests of all humankind, operating on the principle that global prosperity is inextricably linked to its own prosperity.
Japan, moreover, occupies a strategic nexus, not only linking east and west, but also the underdeveloped south and the post-industrial north. This makes for a natural convergence of interests with the United Nations, which shares the ideals of peace and prosperity for all people. New Komeito has consistently advocated that the UN figure prominently in Japan's foreign policy agenda—a partnership that we believe will facilitate much-needed reforms to the UN on one hand, while serving to enhance and expand its role and responsibilities in the world. Most importantly, with Japan and the world body proactively coordinating policy and initiatives, we are confident that meaningful progress on disarmament, environmental conservation and protection, North-South issues, and a gamut of other challenges, can be achieved.
Part Six: Decentralizing Government and Genuine Democracy
New Komeito owes its origins to municipal assembly politics, reflecting our founding commitment to a truly grassroots democratic movement and to the pursuit of initiatives for the betterment of the communities in which our party serves. Today, our party is an active proponent of decentralizing national government and empowering local governments by granting them greater autonomy and participation in larger decision-making processes.
Community-level government is both the cradle and classroom of democracy. Residents of a community are obviously the most qualified to decide their own affairs—and if that spirit of self-determination is either demeaned or dismissed, there can be no genuine development of a democratic society.
In Japan, however, local government has become enfeebled administrative outposts of the national government, which rose to predominance in the Meiji era and whose powers remains ensconced in Tokyo to this day. The constitutional framework to divest the national government's authority has existed since the postwar era, including revenue generation through taxation, but that has yet to occur.
New Komeito believes the time for a limited divestiture of sovereignty has finally arrived. It must respect the different needs of each community and grant local government as well as residents the right to decide community affairs as they see fit. While an ideal balance of administrative and taxation authority between the national and local governments must be discussed and determined, a portion of this power must be delegated to the prefectures, cities, townships and villages.
Decentralization reinvigorates a democracy because it brings government closer to citizens. It provides impetus for the further flourishing of local culture and creates opportunities in which communities may better address the unique needs and aspirations of residents. We maintain that this political and social process is both ideal and necessary for the continued democratization of Japan.
Part Seven: Meeting Challenges, Opening Vistas
Politics is the art of realizing the possible. While New Komeito is committed to the pursuit of lofty principles, we do so from a position of well-grounded realism, our political ideals firmly linked to the harsh realities of the modern world. We understand that the challenge before us is not merely to perform to the utmost of our abilities the duties of public office through action, policies and public discussions as legislators, but to lead through example through constant self-development as individual human beings.
Regardless of the era or circumstances in which we may find ourselves, New Komeito is forever bound to our founding pledge—to constantly engage common citizens in dialogue, to share in their struggle, and to live our lives among them. That is our most basic and abiding tenet.
As it has since 1964, New Komeito will continue to work for the public good, compelled out of impeccable sense of social justice and code of ethics. This, we are convinced, is the key to our continued success as a political party of, for and by the people.
We are determined to forge on, opening new vistas of hope for Japan and the world.
(Approved on December 5, 1994)
(Partly Revised on October 24, 1998)