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Inside Japanese politics

Japan Communist Party in turmoil as calls emerge for new leadership

Leader Shii faces fresh challenges as party struggles to gain traction

Kazuo Shii of the Japanese Communist Party has been the party leader for more than 20 years.

TOKYO -- Japan, an ally of the U.S. and a capitalist nation, is one of the few countries where a political party that harbors communism has seats in its parliament. In recent elections, one of the main issues has always been how the Communist Party will work with other opposition parties.

That is why a recent call for a change of leadership within Japan's oldest political party, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), has surprised Japanese political observers.

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