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Declaration of the Founding of A New Political Party

February 22, 2001

By Katsuhiko Shirakawa, Representative of Shirakawa New Party

     When it comes to the situations in Japan, the dawn of the 21st century does not appear to be so full of bright hopes and visions as we expected in the last part of the past century. Our nation has come up against thick and high walls in many areas, being unable to provide new prospects for our future. The sense of frustration is pervading among the people.
     Against that gloomy backdrop, however, I realize that there is a growing current of new perception: people have started demanding more freedom and fairness in all walks of life. In terms of politics, they are looking forward to "a more liberal polity"--a liberalism which regards social fairness as important.

     Despite the people's longing for liberal politics, the present coalition government formed by the LDP, Komeito, and Conservative Party is leading the nation in just the other direction. There is no need to despair though. It is my belief that creating hopes for our future may not be all that difficult a thing to achieve. We will be far better off if we set out to eliminate various impediments that are currently depriving us of our freedoms.

     People can be very powerful when they call for freedom. With the people that strong, it would actually be an easy task to defeat whoever stands against them. When Mr. Koichi Kato and his colleagues roused themselves to action last autumn, the people saw it as a rise by the most sensible liberals of the LDP and supported the attempt earnestly. Unless Mr. Kato had made the self-destructive decision as he did toward the end, I am certain that the Japanese politics would have changed for better, much better, at that point. Since that incident, the professed liberals within the LDP have been completely stamped out. It was a most deplorable fact indeed.

     But Kato's attempt was certainly not the last opportunity for us. The upcoming House of Councilors elections this summer are likely to change our politics, or rather we 'must' change it by all means through the elections. It is the time that we parted company with the LDP and started a new liberal political party of our own, since it is clear that we cannot expect much freedom and fairness in LDP politics. Further, we ought to set out to do everything in our power to bring down the LDP-Komei-Conservative Party coalition government which, being diagonally opposite from our liberal stance, is denying the existence of sensible, independent people. Letting the totalitarian coalition regime survive any longer will surely lead to the death of freedom in our country.

     We firmly believe that we will be able to provide positive national prospects, or hopes, for our nation. To do that, we need to trust the people's good sense, awareness and abilities. We also need to allow them more freedom and discretionary power, thereby promoting the development of their wisdom and vitality. While facilitating liberalization in all areas, we will need to provide safety nets to prevent social unfairness with a view to creating a society where people
can engage in free and open-hearted activities in peace.

     To create such a society, it also takes the awareness of self-reliance on the part of the people. Each and every one of them needs to realize that they are to contribute individually and positively to building their nation and communities on their own. We call such awakened people "liberal citizens," and we have founded the "Shirakawa Shinto" (meaning Shirakawa's new party) in the belief that, with those liberal citizens assembled under our party flag, a new life of our nation will be a reality in a not distant future.

     The majority of Japanese voters are now referred to as "mutoha" (meaning non-partisan voters). They are, in fact, sensible and independent voters; but there is no political party that caters to the wants of those voters. This constitutes one of the reasons for the current chaotic political situation in this country. What is to be done at the moment is that the liberal citizens get together and take action with confidence. The founding of our new party this time represents only putting up a flag. Under that flag, we are going to create, jointly with the liberal citizens, a new stage for our politics and lead effective political activities performed therein.

     With its emphasis upon liberalism and social fairness as its central political principles, the Shirakawa New Party aims its first mission at promoting liberalization and restructuring in all areas to bring the faltering national economy back to life, thereby a creating a free and democratic society full of vitality. We will not only champion our constitutional freedoms but also work hard to expand them wherever possible.

     Our Constitution provides under Article 20, "...No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority." Therefore, we are strongly against the participation of the Komei Party in the government, since it is a de facto political arm of the Soukagakkai.

     The Shirakawa New Party will: support and help independent, liberal citizens' social contribution activity (e.g., volunteer and NPO activity); diminish the morbid dependence upon administrative support rampant in such areas as welfare, medical care, education and environmental affairs; and carry out administrative reforms and fiscal reconstruction. As for the public pension scheme about which the people are greatly concerned, we will take all possible steps to warrant that the benefits will not fail to be provided. In the area of education, our aim is to implement a drastic educational reform, in which more attention will be paid to the sound nurturing of individual students' personality and potential talent appropriate for the torchbearers of our society in this new century. Specifically, we will devote all our energies to the fundamental scientific research and the development of advanced technologies.

     Our party will also campaign to rediscover the value of our indigenous culture, traditions, and historical heritages handed down over the long history of our country, and adapt them to our modern life. We will promote a drastic decentralization of authority to make local communities more attractive places with a higher level of amenity. On the front of foreign issues, we will strive to maintain the solid independence and security of our nation through firm international relations, while working towards the establishment of a national
security framework of higher quality. At the same time, our party will take initiative in turning Japan into a graceful but dignified, independent, free country by making great contributions to international peace.

     Upon these footings - and in the belief that there are truly freedom-loving people in Japan, we, the Shirawa New Party, have decided to rise with a firm resolve and to start our campaign in the upcoming House of Councilors elections in July.

     Before closing the present official announcement, let me take this opportunity to sincerely call for your warm understanding of, support to, and participation in the Shirakawa New Party.

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