By fatally slashing Japan’s seven decades of pacifism, like a Shogun’s shoulder to waist “kesagiri” finishing move, in the very year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday realized his dream of abandoning postwar order and switching his country back into war mode.
“Prime Minister Abe should admit that he has failed to gain public understanding for the government plan and withdraw it immediately”, said Katsuya Okada, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.
Japan Lower House OKs Security Bills Despite Protests Japan’s lower house of parliament has approved legislation that would allow an expanded role for the nation’s military in a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Mr Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner have a majority in that house, but commentators said it was possible the chamber could reject, or amend the bills.
“Abe has hinted that collective self-defense could be extended to such nations as South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and India, if threats from China or other aggressive states bring matters to a head”.
On Thursday, hundreds of protesters outsidide the building chanted anti-war and anti-Abe slogans during the debate and vote, some holding banners reading, “No to war legislation!”
The legislation now moves to the upper house, and if no vote is taken after 60 days it will be returned to the lower house, where Abe’s coalition can enact it with a two-thirds majority.
Yang told Yachi that Japan’s security bills “would fuel doubts and questions among neighbouring countries and the worldwide community” over whether Japan was abandoning its defensive defence policy, according to a statement on China’s foreign ministry website.
Major protests in Japan are unusual, and the level of discord reflects deep concern about Abe’s changes. The two aspects are not unrelated – Beijing views Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution as an important check preventing its neighbor to the east from becoming a true military rival.
Or if an American warship came under attack, Japanese forces could join the fight if the situation were deemed an “imminent critical threat” to Japan.
Joseph Matthews, a scholar on worldwide relations at Asia Europe University of Cambodia, noted that Japan’s new security bills will have a profound and risky impact in Asia. NHK is run by an ally of Abe’s, and its coverage is supportive of the prime minister’s efforts.
Japan’s constitution prohibits a standing army. The committee said it will work closely with the government to make sure the review does not “adversely affect” the event. If the legislation is passed in the upper house and made into law, it is uncertain though if it will be declared unconstitutional by judges as historically, the judiciary in Japan has been unwilling to overrule the government on national security matters.
The USA revised its bilateral defense guidelines with Japan in April, emphasizing for the first time “the global nature of the alliance”. Once it becomes effective, Japan would cooperate with the USA in overseas military operations with minimal involvement though.