Communists Rise in Japan

Young Japanese see red over lack of workers' rights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 3:57 AM CDT
A supporter of Japan's Communist Party looks skyward to check weather during an election campaign.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
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(Newser) – The recession has reversed a long slide in the fortunes of the Japanese Communist Party, the BBC reports. The party had been shrinking for decades, but membership is now growing at the rate of a thousand people a month. Young people—introduced to Communist ideology through efforts like a manga version of Das Kapital—say the party is the only one taking their concerns about the economy seriously.

Officials of the party—which polled 5 million votes even at its low ebb—acknowledges they are unlikely to take power soon, but expect to make big gains in this year's elections. "Many people are beginning to think: 'Is Japanese capitalism OK as it is?'" said a Communist member of the Japan's House of Representatives. "Living standards are going down. The gap between rich and poor is growing."