It has been 32 years since the Tiananmen Incident occurred at Tiananmen Square in China on June 4, 1989. It was a serious incident in Chinese history, and simultaneously, it was serious to Japan as well as the international community. It has clearly been recorded in the world history. Who could have imagined today’s China that has grown as a gigantic economic country competing with the US, the largest economic country in terms of nominal GDP in the world? China, at the time of the Tiananmen Incident, had the largest population in the world, and most of the Chinese people, particularly those in the agricultural rural areas, were suffering from poverty.
In 1989 (Heisei 1), when the Tiananmen Incident occurred, I was in the middle of my election campaign as a candidate for the forthcoming election of members of the House of Representatives, making desperate efforts to recover my defeat in the previous election that took place three years earlier. Subsequently after the declaration of martial law in Beijing in late May, 1989, the Chinese government’s heavily-armed troops accompanied by tanks assaulted the demonstrations led by students calling for democracy at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, on June 4. The cruelty of this incident executed by the Chinese Communist Party with its own rigid principles quickly spread all over the world on TV and other mass media. This Incident also sparked national and democratic movements in many countries in East Europe in 1989. Those countries include Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany where the communist parties collapsed. Meanwhile, in the former Soviet Union, Gorbachev regime’s ‘perestroika’, which means ‘restructure’, primarily aiming at the economic reforms incorporating the market economy into the planned economy, was implemented in the late 1980s, but it failed in 1991, and the Soviet Union collapsed, and it was handed over to the Russian Federation.
This Tiananmen Incident had a great impact on Japan. It brought a great change in Japan’s domestic affairs and public sentiment. At that time, I was competing with a candidate of the Japanese Communist Party to win the last seat in the election of members of the House of Representatives in my electoral district in Kanagawa Prefecture. (Several members of the Diet were elected in one constituency under the medium electoral district system at that time). As the election day approached, I was appealing to the voters saying, “Which do you choose? The Communist Party or Harada?” I earnestly appealed to the voters to elect Harada instead of the candidate of the Communist Party. I did not know whether my appeal was successful or not, but I was elected a member of the House of Representatives for the first time in February 1990 (Heisei 2).
Since then, I have been keeping my belief that the start of my life as a politician was motivated by the prayers of the precious souls of the many victims of the demonstrations in the Tiananmen Incident in 1989 and of the subsequent democratic revolutions which occurred around the world. This is why I have always been committed to “protecting the basic human rights of all the people in the world” as my lifelong mission, and I have endeavored to put that belief into practice in my political activities. At least, I want to respond to the prayers of those souls of the victims of the above-mentioned incidents.