Early Saturday morning, after years of post-war pacifism, Japanese lawmakers voted to expand its military presence overseas, approving several pieces of legislation that would expand the country’s combat abilities beyond its current humanitarian role in the global community. The Japan Times reported that the new changes, which were passed 148-90, would take effect over a period of some six months. The move, meant to strengthen Japan’s military alliance with the United States, has already elicited vehement outcry from the public, which, for the most part opposes the measure wholeheartedly.
[…] The public’s aggressive opposition to the legislation is not a surprise to lawmakers, who have been battling it out with pacifist protesters for years. For Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been fighting for the changes since 2013, Saturday’s vote was of particular significance, despite the fact that he and the Upper House representatives faced an uphill battle on the popularity front.
[…] “It’s a very bad move,” added one female student, who asked to remain anonymous, in a comment to Bustle on Friday. “Japan will find excuses to go to war … using the Self-Defense troops instead of [letting them help] those of us in natural disasters — and I don’t buy the excuse that the troops will be used to save the Japanese living abroad.” She claimed that student Internet accounts were being monitored, and that the Security Office and the local police had supposedly been taping protesters and dissenters as well.
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