Thousands Protest As Japanese Gov Ushers In New Age Of Militarism

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Above Photo: Demonstrators protest against the new security law as they rally outside the Diet building in Tokyo. (Photo: AFP)

Turning its back on decades of pacifism, controversial ‘war legislation’ takes effect

Thousands of anti-war protesters rallied outside the parliament building in Tokyo on Tuesday, railing against the Japanese government’s new so-called security law which marks a historic departure from the country’s decades-long pacifism.

The controversial “war legislation,” a package of bills that passed parliament in September and took effect on Tuesday, reinterprets Article 9 of the country’s Constitution, which renounced war as a means to settle international disputes following World War II.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed for the revisions which “expand the activities of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) overseas, even in situations when Japan is not under direct attack,” The Asahi Shimbun reports. “The laws call for the SDF to provide greater support to the militaries of the United States and other nations anywhere in the world.”

Tens of thousands of people protested against the measure last fall and on Tuesday an estimated 37,000 demonstrated against Japan’s expanded militarism. According to The Mainichi, demonstrations were held in 35 cities across Japan.

In Tokyo, protesters chanted and held signs reading ‘oust the Abe administration’ and ‘we don’t condone war,’ RT reported. Over the weekend, hundreds of high school students took to the streets in Tokyo’s Shibuya district calling for a “peaceful future.”

The new aggressive posture comes amid heightened tensions with neighboring China and North Korea. In an online commentary published Tuesday, the state-run Xinhuanews agency accused “warlord” Abe of threatening peace in the region in an effort to appease the United States.

The editorial continues:

[T]he only purpose of the controversial laws are to ride the coattails of Uncle Sam’s “pivot to Asia” strategy and pave the way for Japan to further meddle in regional affairs—not only territorial disputes with its neighbors, but also issues for which Japan is not a stakeholder—with the United States, in a saber-rattling way.

Along with Abe’s value-oriented diplomacy, the security legislation increasingly empowered Japan to promote weapons assistance and defense technology transfer to regional countries close with Japan and the United States, risking loss of regional geopolitical balance through triggering an arms race.

By doing so, Abe’s elaborate ruse to contribute to regional peace and stability has been exposed and once again unmasked Japan as a trouble maker and a pawn of the United States in interfering in Asia-Pacific region affairs.

Indeed, as Abe himself said before a session of the Upper House Budget Committee on Tuesday, “When North Korea launched its ballistic missiles, there was greater cooperation because of the increased sharing of information between Japan and the United States…The passage of the legislation has strengthened alliance ties.”

  • Southern

    Nothing to do with protecting civilians, everything to do with empire building.

    Okinawans have been protesting their opposition to the expansion of the US base on their island, as the locals rightly point out, it has absolutely nothing to do with protecting them, it’s all about the location of a forward staging point related back to the pivot to Asia.

  • American people, DO THE RIGHT THING.
    Your force squatting in Japan has captured a Japanese citizen today AM, illegally detaining, you American citizens are responsible of this injustice, SHOULD MAKE THEM RELEASE HIM RIGHT NOW.
    Call your Congress, write your Congress, call your embassy in Japan, send
    mails, call any military guy that you know, spread it wide, help us, DO
    THE RIGHT THING.
    He’s an Okinawan novelist, this is his web page, http://blog.goo.ne.jp/awamori777 look at it, help him out immediately.
    This COLONIAL RULE should be ENDED by the decision of you American electorate.
    DO THE RIGHT THING NOW.

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