Thousands protest Abe's new security bills
Updated: 2015-06-15 07:46
By Agencies in Tokyo(China Daily)
About 25,000 protesters on Sunday surrounded Japan's Diet building to express strong opposition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to ram through a series of security-related bills that are considered unconstitutional by legal experts.
Calling him "Abedolf", they likened Abe to Adolf Hitler, saying he has behaved like a dictator and would drag Japan into armed conflict again if the bills pass in the current legislative session of the Diet.
The bills are a pet project for 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 mission of Japan's well-equipped and well-trained armed forces, allowing them to go into battle to protect allies - a concept promoted as "collective self-defense" - something which is explicitly 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, and three scholars summoned to the country's parliament testified this month that the bills are unconstitutional.
The rally follows another one on Saturday in Tokyo attended by about 16,000 demonstrators.
"Don't destroy Article 9," read banners at Sunday's rally.
Leaders from opposition parties also took part in the rally, with Social Democratic Party Leader Tadatomo Yoshida saying that Abe has ignored the parliament by promising he will seek passage of the bills.
Akira Nagatsuma, from Japan's major opposition Democratic Party of Japan, told the rally that the Abe administration's arguments that the bills are constitutional are unconvincing.
Through a reinterpretation of the pacifist Constitution, Abe is seeking to lay a legal basis for the country's Self-Defense Forces to participate in collective self-defense through a new security-related legislative package. Japan's war-renouncing Constitution clearly bans the country's military from such activities, experts say.
Political heavyweights, including former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama; former chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono; former defense chief and vice-president of the LDP Taku Yamasaki; former finance minister Hirohisa Fujii; former chief cabinet secretary Masayoshi Takemura; and former LDP policy chief Shizuka Kamei all raised their voices against the new security legislation.
A survey conducted recently also showed that 81.4 percent of the Japanese population believe the government's explanations about the security-related bills are "not sufficient", while only 14.2 percent feel the opposite.
AFP - Xinhua
Sixteen thousand protesters demonstrate in Tokyo on Saturday against the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. On Sunday, demonstrators again took to the streets against security-related bills that legal experts consider unconstitutional. Yuya Shino / Reuters
(China Daily 06/15/2015 page11)