Thou­sands rally against Ja­pan PM’s bills boost­ing role of paci­fist mil­i­tary

The China Post - - BUSINESS -

Thou­sands of Ja­panese ral­lied Sun­day in protest at plans by Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe to bol­ster the role and scope of the paci­fist na­tion’s mil­i­tary.

The protest which sur­rounded the par­lia­ment build­ing was held as the na­tion­al­ist pre­mier tries to force through par­lia­ment a set of con­tro­ver­sial bills mak­ing the changes.

The bills are a pet project of Abe, who says Ja­pan can no longer shy away from its re­spon­si­bil­ity to help safe­guard re­gional sta­bil­ity, and must step out from un­der the se­cu­rity um­brella pro­vided by the United States.

The draft leg­is­la­tion would broaden the re­mit of Ja­pan’s well- equipped and well-trained armed forces.

It would al­low them to go into battle to pro­tect al­lies — so-called “col­lec­tive de­fense” — some­thing which is banned by a strict read­ing of Ja­pan’s paci­fist con­sti­tu­tion.

Op­po­nents of the bills ac­cuse Abe of try­ing to move the coun­try away from paci­fism, while three schol­ars sum­moned to par­lia­ment tes­ti­fied this month that the bills are un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Ja­pan’s con­sti­tu­tion was im­posed by U.S. oc­cu­py­ing forces in the af­ter­math of World War II, but its war-re­nounc­ing Ar­ti­cle Nine is held dear by many peo­ple.

“Don’t de­stroy Ar­ti­cle 9,” read ban­ners at the rally, which orga- niz­ers said at­tracted some 25,000 peo­ple.

The leg­is­la­tion, which would over­haul 10 se­cu­rity-re­lated laws and cre­ate a new one, would also pave the way for the mil­i­tary to deploy abroad on non- com­bat mis­sions such as dis­as­ter re­lief and U.N. peace­keep­ing mis­sions.

Re­vi­sions in­clude re­mov­ing ge­o­graph­i­cal con­straints on lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port for friendly forces in “sit­u­a­tions that would sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect Ja­pan’s se­cu­rity.”

They also say Ja­pan can de­fend al­lies “in sit­u­a­tions where there is a clear risk that Ja­pan’s ex­is­tence is threat­ened and its peo­ple’s rights ... are com­pro­mised through an attack on a coun­try which has a close re­la­tion­ship with Ja­pan.”

AP

Pro­test­ers hold anti-war plac­ards in front of the Na­tional Diet build­ing dur­ing a rally in Tokyo on Sun­day, June 14.

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