Mothers, students join Japan's protests over security bills
Updated: 2015-08-31 09:53
Demonstrators protest against the controversial security bills outside the parliament in Tokyo, Japan, August 30, 2015. [Photo/IC]
TOKYO - Mothers holding their children's hands stood in the sprinkling rain, holding up anti-war placards, while students chanted slogans against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his defense policies to the beat of a drum.
Japan is seeing new faces join the ranks of protesters typically made up of labor union members. On Sunday, tens of thousands filled the streets outside Tokyo's parliament to rally against new security legislation likely to become law in September.
"No to war legislation!" "Scrap the bills now!" and "Abe, quit!" they chanted in one of the summer's biggest protests. Their cries are against a series of bills that would expand Japan's military role under a reinterpretation of the country's war-renouncing constitution.
In Japan, where people generally don't express political views in public, such rallies have largely diminished since the often violent university student protests in the early 1960s. Anti-nuclear protests after the 2011 Fukushima disaster also petered out.
Smaller protests were held elsewhere across the nation Sunday. The demonstrations started earlier this year but grew sharply after July, when Abe's ruling party and its junior coalition partner pushed the legislation through the more powerful lower house despite vocal opposition from other parties - and media polls showing the majority of Japanese opposed the bills.