Is Tokyo Ready To Trust The Communist Party?

The Japan Communist Party might sound like a relic from the cold war. But the 350,000-member party has softened its hard-line image and engineered a comeback by making a play for millions of voters hurt by Japan's deepest postwar recession and disillusioned by the pro-big-business policies and sleaze of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. "Many Japanese are starting to think that we're all they have," asserts deputy leader Kazuo Shii, head of the party's secretariat. "We're becoming socially acceptable and gaining credibility as a normal political party."

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