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Japan Communist Party

A leading opposition party of the post-World War II era. Founded on July 15, 1922, the party initially attracted socialists and young intellectuals. Until it was legalized after World War II, however, the party remained a small secretive organization subject to frequent suppression by governmental authorities opposed to its aim of creating a workers' state free of monarchy. The party was legally constituted on October 4, 1945 by veteran communists released from prison the preceding month, and in the 1946 election captured 5 seats in the House of Representatives. In a whirl of activitiy, party membership and influence on organized labor grew rapidly until General Douglas MacCrthur banned the General Strike of 1947. Nonetheless, the communists increased their influence, winning 25 seats in the 1949 election as voters critical of the Occupation's "reverse course" shifted their support from the socialists to the communists. However, this success evaporated quickly in the heightened cold war atmosphere of the early 1950's. Today, the party remains an active opposition party and continues to win seats in the Diet. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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