Hundreds of Japanese protest against Abe, collective defense
Updated: 2014-07-14 15:47
A protester holds a poster during a demonstration against the Japanese government's decision to reinterpret the constitution to expand the role of its military, near the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, July 14, 2014.[Photo/IC]
TOKYO - About four hundred Japanese demonstrators on Monday here protested against the country's conservative leader Shinzo Abe and his move on lifting ban on collective self-defense in the back of Japan's Diet building.
The demonstration followed a similar one on Sunday also near the Diet building as the Japanese parliament on Monday kicked off a special session targeting the Abe's Cabinet's decision on collective self-defense.
The Cabinet gave a green light to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to exercise the right to collective defense through reinterpreting the country's war-renouncing Constitution on July 1, meaning the SDF could engage war outside Japan.
Japan's pacifist supreme law banned the SDF to combat overseas, but under the newly adopted Cabinet decision, Japan can use forces to help defense countries that have close relations with Japan if their military forces are under attack outside Japan.
Mizuho Fukushima, former leader of a Japanese opposition party the Social Democratic Party, also participated in Monday's rally and said Abe's decision to lift the ban on collective defense is illegal, asking the government to withdraw the decision.
On June 30, the eve of the overhaul of Japan's defense policy, about ten thousand Japanese rallied in front of the prime minister 's office, showing their opposition to Abe's move on the controversial issue.
Polls immediately after the July 1 decision said that about 54. 4 percent of respondents said they opposed the defense policy shift, while only 34.6 percent showed support.
According to the survey that covered 1,010 respondents by Japan 's Kyodo News, 73.9 percent expressed concern that the scope for Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense could expand in the future, while 68.4 percent said Abe should call a general election to allow voters to give their verdict.
Some 61.2 percent of respondents said Japan is now more likely to become involved in war, disagreeing with Abe's argument that the right to collective self-defense will serve as a further deterrent to conflict.
Meanwhile, the approval rating for the Abe's Cabinet slipped 4. 3 percent to 47.8 percent from 52.1 percent recently, the lowest level since the leader took office in December 2012, according to the survey.