Protests As Japan Paves Way For Self-defence Law Change | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Protests As Japan Paves Way For Self-defence Law Change

Posted: Jul 16, 2015 at 7:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

A parliamentary committee in Japan has approved two major bills for debate, paving the way for an expanded role for the military.

The move sparked protests from opposition lawmakers in parliament and activists outside the building.

If the bills are passed, Japan would be able to fight overseas in a doctrine called collective self-defence.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it is necessary for the country’s protection, but polls show many Japanese oppose it.

On Wednesday, a special committee set up in Japan’s lower house to decide on the two security bills gave its approval.

The bills will now be presented before Japan’s full lower house on Thursday for another round of debate and approval. They still have to clear the upper house as well before they can be passed.

Many expect the bills to be passed as both the lower and upper houses of Japan’s parliament, known as the Diet, are dominated by Mr. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Tensions ran high inside the Diet building on Tuesday when the special committee, which is also dominated by the LDP, moved to halt a long-running debate on the bills.

Opposition lawmakers shouted their disapproval and mobbed committee chairman, Yasukazu Hamada, as he began the voting process.

Report said that some began slapping and grabbing him.

Hundreds of activists opposing the bills also gathered outside the Diet to protest the move.

Several recent polls showed that more than half of Japanese voters were opposed to passing the bills, reported The Asahi Shimbun.

Mr. Abe addressed the committee on Wednesday, saying: “Unfortunately, the Japanese people still don’t have a substantial understanding… I will work harder so public understanding would deepen further.”

The change was put in motion more than a year ago when Mr. Abe sought to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist constitution – put in place following WW2- to allow the change.

Neighbours such as China and South Korea have decried the move and accuse Japan of re-militarisation.