Minutes Japan Commission

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From the minutes of the Thirteenth World Congress of the Fourth International
March 1991

Report by Philomène

From 1982, the Japanese section of the Fourth International had to confront a situation where the women members and women who worked with the section in the Sanrizuka airport movement accused members of the Japanese section of severe sexual discrimination, harassment and rape.
The response of the JRCL and its leadership was to deal with the accusations as individual cases. There was a lack of collective understanding that these cases arose in a context of severe sexual discrimination within the organization for which all male comrades bore collective responsibility. Moreover, the individual cases were dealt with in an uneven and inconsistent way.
This led to the situation where almost all women comrades ceased regular functioning within the framework of the JRCL.
The inability to deal with the rape and discrimination cases revealed and accentuated a general state of crisis which led to the split of the JRCL into two groups (JRCL and National Council) with greatly weakened national implantation.
Around 30 women comrades are organized in the Fl Women's Liberation Group, whose principal activity as a group is to discuss what happened in the section. Their outward political activity is carried out through the Socialist Women's Association, a women's organization of around 130 members which was originally founded by the JRCL in 1978 but today has no formal relationship to either of the factions resulting from the split.
This situation of division of the male and female members into separate groups because the women comrades consider it impossible to participate in a common organization with the men is extremely serious.
It indicates a profound inability on the part of the male members to apply our programme concerning the fight against women's oppression in the practice of the organization. This deep contradiction between our programme and the reality of these groups of male members make it impossible for us to consider these groups as being in any way groups that represent the International or have any formal status within it. The ability of members of the JRCL and National Council groups to continue a discussion which increases their understanding of why these problems arose and why their response was judged inadequate by the women comrades will also depend on their developing activity within the Japanese workers' movement challenging all manifestations of discrimination and oppression of women.
The women's liberation group was founded within the framework of the Fourth International. The IEC Women's Commission has maintained regular relations with this group since 1987. Members of the group have twice come to Europe to participate in activities of the women's commission and are present at this World Congress.

The proposal of the Japan commission is to approach the situation in the following way:

  • To consider the women comrades who so wish as individual members of the Fourth International;
  • To maintain a direct relationship with the Fl Women's Liberation Group, inviting it to participate in all activities of the IEC Women's Commission including attendance at EEC meetings;
  • To maintain comradely relations with the JRCL and National Council groups. In particular the International will discuss with the comrades all the problems posed by the former internal functioning of the JRCL.
  • The place of Japan in East Asia and the former importance of the existence of the JRCL as our Japanese section makes it all the more necessary that the International should actively aid all the Japanese comrades and associate them with our activities. It is of crucial importance to the International to rebuild a Japanese section. To maintain regular contact we will invite representatives of the JRCL and National Council groups to attend EEC meetings.
  • The EEC is mandated to follow the evolution of the organizational situation. Should there be a positive evolution, in other words the development of a united organization of women and men, the IEC is empowered to establish formal relations with such a group. If the group meets the criteria of being a nationally implanted group, able to organize around all aspects of our programme and to overcome the discredit incurred by the rape cases, this can include formal recognition as a sympathizing group.

Contributions: Hirai, Chan (Japan)
Summary by Philomène
— Carried : 69 for, 0,5 against, 2 abstentions, 18,5 not voting