Ja­pan’s na­tional bar in op­po­si­tion to se­cu­rity bills

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Ja­pan’s na­tional bar as­so­ci­a­tion on Wed­nes­day threw its weight be­hind grow­ing op­po­si­tion to con­tro­ver­sial se­cu­rity bills that could pave the way for Ja­panese troops to en­gage in com­bat for the first time since the end of World War II.

Hun­dreds of de­mon­stra­tors, in­clud­ing some mem­bers of the 36,000-strong Ja­pan Fed­er­a­tion of Bar As­so­ci­a­tions (JFBA), took part in a Tokyo rally with aca­demics and cit­i­zens groups call­ing for the gov­ern­ment to scrap the leg­is­la­tion — in the fi­nal stages of work­ing its way through par­lia­ment.

Un­der the pro­posed new rules, paci­fist Ja­pan’s Self-De­fense Forces would have the op­tion of go­ing into bat­tle to pro­tect al­lies even if there was no di­rect threat to Ja­pan or its peo­ple.

“The con­sti­tu­tion couldn’t work as a con­sti­tu­tion” if the bills took ef­fect, JFBA chair­man Susumu Mu­rakoshi told a news con­fer­ence ahead of the rain-soaked demon­stra­tion.

Mu­rakoshi called the swelling num­ber of lawyers and aca­demics op­posed to the bills “un­prece­dented.” Lawyers typ­i­cally avoid tak­ing part in large scale ral­lies.

The pro­posed leg­is­la­tion passed through the pow­er­ful lower house of par- lia­ment last month and Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s rul­ing coali­tion aims to win fi­nal ap­proval in the up­per house by the end of Septem­ber.

Abe and his sup­port­ers say the changes are nec­es­sary for Ja­pan to deal with the world around it, but the push is deeply un­pop­u­lar among the gen­eral public.

Many le­gal scholars have said the changes are un­con­sti­tu­tional and crit­ics say they will drag Ja­pan into Amer­i­can wars in far-flung parts of the globe.

A con­sti­tu­tion im­posed by a post-war U.S. oc­cu­pa­tion force barred Ja­pan’s mil­i­tary from com­bat ex­cept in self-de­fense.

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