Thousands rally outside Diet against Abe’s security bills


Thousands of people rallied Sunday against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to bolster the role and scope of the Self-Defense Forces.

The protest, which surrounded the Diet, was held as the nationalist Abe tries to force through a set of controversial bills making the changes.

The bills are a pet project of 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 role of SDF, including protecting allies.

Opponents of the bills accuse Abe of trying to move the country away from pacifism.

Three scholars summoned to the Diet testified this month that the bills are unconstitutional.

The Constitution was imposed by the U.S. Occupation in the aftermath of World War II, but its war-renouncing Article 9 is held dear by many people.

“Don’t destroy Article 9,” read banners at the rally, which organizers said attracted around 25,000 people.

The legislation, which would overhaul 10 security-related laws and create a new one, would also pave the way for the SDF to deploy abroad on noncombat missions such as disaster relief and U.N. peacekeeping missions.

Revisions include removing geographical constraints on logistic support for friendly forces in “situations that would significantly affect Japan’s security.”

They also say Japan can defend allies “in situations where there is a clear risk that Japan’s existence is threatened and its people’s rights . . . are compromised through an attack on a country that has a close relationship with Japan.”

In a separate rally in Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district the same day, young people, mainly high school and university students, also rallied against Abe’s drive.

“People in younger generations are feeling a sense of crisis now that constitutional scholars said no to the bills,” said college student Nobuyoshi Hatae, 21.

“We have no right to vote in elections, but we are strongly against war,” high school student Haruka Suzuki said.

  • At Times Mistaken

    Could they not find a photo with fewer people? There were 25,000 protesters there but only two are pictured here in the only photo that accompanies this story.

    • At Times Mistaken

      It looks like somebody found another photo. This one, from the smaller Shibuya demonstration, is much more crowded, with a lot of young people to boot. That photo would seem to trump an assertion made in a recent Japan Times article (Some Japanese Teens Welcome Move to Reduce Voting Age…) that “political apathy among youths is nothing new in Japan.” On the face of it, it seems like nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Richard Solomon

    KUDOS to the people who demonstrated on Sunday. It must be noted, however, that it will take many more such demonstrations as well as some election losses for Abe/the LDP to reconsider its approach to its security concerns. If he wants to beef up the SDF, he should seek an amendment to the Constitution. Then the people will have an opportunity to vote on it.

  • Boey Kwan

    So Japanese youth are also rallying now… luv hearing news when they make a stand. It’s been so long that I kind of assumed they were falling for the perfect-military-history-of-Japan-myth. *bowsheadinshame

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Fingers crossed that this is the beginning of a stirring, may the sleepers awake! It’s good to see people, and particularly young people (as they’ll be the ones donning camouflage and dodging bullets), taking to the streets to let Abe et al know they can’t just trample over the constitution to achiever their right-wing dreams. Halt the slow slide to dictatorship.

  • timefox

    The people action had been praised by Chinese Defense White Paper . Because they interfere with the defense force

    strengthening of Japan , seems a good convenience in China .

    Aggression, provocative behavior of the recent China
    East China Sea
    May 21: A bomber flying between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island (nominal training)
    May 28: Senkaku Islands offshore in territorial waters violation (three ships ship sea 警局)
    3: In the Senkaku Islands off the coast of Ishigaki, Okinawa
    Prefecture, China sea 警局 ship (Coast Guard) is intrusion into Japanese
    territorial waters
    June 13: in China sea 警局 of Zhejiang Wenzhou coast
    (near the Senkaku Islands), announced plans to build a large base. Site
    area 500,000 square meters, is set to allow large vessels berthing of
    up to six vessels of vessels such as to wastewater 10,000 tons class,
    hangar of airplanes and helicopters, also large training facility
    construction plan
    June 14: Japan’s exclusive economic zone from the Senkaku Islands Kubashima north 96 km (EEZ), research vessel navigation
    17: In the Senkaku Islands off the coast, three ships “Coast Guard” of
    China sea 警局 Japan’s territorial waters in the invasion
    June 21: the
    Senkaku Islands in the exclusive economic zone from Taisho Island of
    northern Japan (Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture) (EEZ), the sea, such
    things as Chinese marine research ship “Science No. 3″ is net and basket
    check was dropped twice. Is different from the had waters report in
    advance, Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels request to stop

    South China Sea
    28 : One of the artificial island that is construction in the South
    China Sea , artillery two installation of mobile ( the US military
    reconnaissance aircraft confirmation )
    May 31 : Chinese military
    grandson founding Deputy Chief of Staff , ” artificial island ” in the
    Asia Security Conference in Singapore remarks as ” in order to meet the
    needs of military defense .”

    China’s defense budget “about 40 times in the past 26 years .”
    budget of 15 years 886 800 000 000 98 million yuan ( about 16 trillion
    900 billion yen ) . 1989 and later, in continuing the double-digit
    growth with the exception of the ’10

    To deny the defense , it does not prevent the aggression .It ‘s clear that China is destroying the peace of Asia . Before the Asian Nazis get a boost , the world must remonstrance China.