They now have 410,000 members. Many are new, young, and disaffected. The ruling LDP by contrast has about a million members.
By dispensing with ideological rhetoric and focusing on welfare and jobs, the JCP has struck a chord with students, the unemployed and the estimated 10 million Japanese earning less than 2m yen (about Â£14,000) a year.
The hardline purists are no doubt appalled by what they see as a watering down of communist ideals, as the party professes to work within the system, something The Guardian calls “cuddly communism.”
“The JCP of today is very different,” said Go Ito, a professor of politics at Meiji University in Tokyo. “The modern party is pragmatic, which is why it has managed to tap into the dissatisfaction being felt right across Japanese society.”
Perhaps this is a tactic other hard left parties might want to follow.