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Lower House passes security bills amid protests

by and

Staff Writers

Tens of thousands of angry voters in the streets. Opinion polls recording deep-seated public unease.

The cause: a pair of security reform bills that will turn the nation’s retiring Self-Defense Forces into a more proactive fighting unit, and the manner in which the government is pursuing that change.

On Thursday the ruling camp bulldozed the bills through a plenary session of the Lower House and immediately sent them to the Upper House.

The question on many people’s lips: Why is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in such a hurry?

Abe, many political analysts say, may be sure of one thing: The political environment will only worsen if he takes his time over the legislation.

He is set to face a number of difficult political events this summer, each of which is likely to further eat away at his already declining popularity among voters.

Those events include the planned reactivation of the Sendai nuclear reactor in Kagoshima Prefecture, Abe’s release of a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the possible conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks.

“The Upper House schedule is so tight. We have so many things on the agenda,” complained a high-ranking official close to Abe recently.

Given that the current Diet session would likely be devoted to those political events, only about 24 days will effectively be left for deliberations on the security bills in the Upper House, the official said.

“First, opposition parties are likely to ‘go to sleep’ so the Diet will be unable to hold deliberations for 10 days or so,” the official said, referring to a likely boycott by the opposition bloc.

The ruling bloc will have no choice but to agree to hold special intensive sessions at the Upper House for each political event as it arises this summer, which will leave fewer hours for deliberations on the security bills, the official said.

Still, Thursday’s passage of the bills will leave more than 60 days before the end of the current Diet session on Sept. 27 — a period that all but guarantees their enactment because bills can be returned to the Lower House if the Upper House fails to vote on them within 60 days. And controlling more than two-thirds of the Lower House the ruling coalition can then secure passage in short order.

For the time being, Abe is faced with few developments that might boost his approval rating.

Many voters are frustrated over the government’s extravagant plan for the costly — and initially misrepresented — new National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics. The estimated cost surged from ¥130 billion to ¥252 billion without explanation.

Following the passage of the security bills through the Lower House, Abe reiterated Thursday the necessity of enacting the legislation in the current Diet session. “The security environment surrounding Japan has become more severe. These bills are absolutely necessary to protect the lives of citizens and to prevent war,” Abe told reporters.

Democratic Party of Japan President Katsuya Okada told DPJ lawmakers that it is their responsibility to translate the public’s concern into action.

“Debate will kick off at the Upper House and I believe it will be a long debate,” Okada told DPJ members following the plenary session. “Let’s gain more support from the public and drive (the ruling camp) to scrap the bills.”

One of the two security bills will establish a new permanent law to allow the SDF to provide logistic support for a foreign military engaging in U.N.-backed operations, while the second will amend 10 security-related laws and remove various restrictions on the SDF’s operations.

The latter bill would allow Japan to use the right of collective self-defense as defined under the United Nations charter, or the right to use force to aid an ally under attack even if Japan itself is not.

The government had long maintained that the use of the right was banned under the postwar pacifist Constitution. But last year, Abe adopted a new reading of the Constitution and submitted the two bills to the Diet. Constitutional scholars have said the reinterpretation is unconstitutional.

  • Steve van Dresser

    Do you remember the ” Tonkin Gulf Incident”? The United States invented a story that US ships had been attacked by North Vietnam in international waters. With this legislation, Japan could have jumped into the Vietnam War.

    Do you remember Tony Blair saying that Saddam Hussein was ready to use nuclear weapons on London within forty minutes? George W. Bush agreed that Iraq posed a threat to the whole world with its Weapons of Mass Destruction, (which didn’t exist). This could easily have been interpreted as “an existential threat to Japan” which would justify Japan getting involved in the invasion of Iraq.

    Which of America’s wars does Shinzo Abe wish Japan had participated in? The Japanese public doesn’t have any difficulty in understanding this legislation — they understand it perfectly and recognize the super-patriotism, warmongering, and insanity that underwrite it.

    • koedo

      It’s not what wars does Abe want to jump into. Japan has to shed it’s child-like belief that if they don’t start a war, they won’t have to fight a war. Japan lives in a very dangerous neighborhood; Russia, China, N.Korea. With China’s continued belligerence in Asia, see their land grabs, priming Japan militarily is not only prudent, it’s necessary.

      • FireWraith

        It’s a very difficult question, or set of questions. How does Japan address its past, while reconciling that with the present and future?

        I certainly think that collective self defense is a reasonable proposition, at least on its face. It is a better thing for peaceful countries to stand together against aggression than not. I am also not afraid of an armed Japan, partly because the Japan of today is not the Japan of 75 years ago. What I am less sure about is whether or not I trust Abe and his government to that degree.

      • Tomoko Endo

        I think that you are not a Japanese. The right, many pretend to be a Japanese.

      • answerfrog

        >Japan has to shed it’s child-like belief that if they don’t start a war, they won’t have to fight a war.

        This was a non issue as they already had a SDF. This issue pertains to engaging in wars *AWAY* from Japan with allies. If you are commenting on an issue, you could at least bother to read up.

    • Tomoko Endo

      I suspect that the right maybe Koreans.
      Because they are yakuza, Japanese
      mafia who are mixed with Korean and Chinese.
      They speak and write strange Japanese without meanings.

      • Hendrix

        someone did a poo on the floor..oh it must be a Korean..

      • Ronmartin Realdude

        I think it’s incredibly spiteful and xenophobic to write off people who you disagree with politically as “not Japanese”. Though I’m surprised to see it in this situation, honestly, because more often than not it’s the right-wingers accusing the left of being secret Koreans and so on. Either way, it makes both you and your argument look foolish. That said, there are plenty of non-Japanese commenting on this site, but their perceived non-Japanese-ness doesn’t justify your dismissal of their arguments.

      • Ronmartin Realdude

        Hmmm…. all that lady’s comments are gone. They were probably deleted by pretend Japanese who got mad about what she wrote.

    • answerfrog

      >Which of America’s wars does Shinzo Abe wish Japan had participated in?

      Fair point. Most Americans wish we hadn’t been involved in these stupid costly wars.

      Why on Earth would Japan look at Iraq or Afghanistan and think “I really want to get involved!”

      • Hendrix

        simple really, cash…and lots of it… the military industrial complex beckons Japan and Abe and his cronies will get fat and rich… meanwhile the citizens will be sent off to be butchered..

  • Shavi Tupyraz

    Well, this sure to end badly, isn’t it …..

    Personally, I find it amazing how many Asian countries which have been bombed, occupied and violated by the USA (Philippines, Korea, Japan & Vietnam) are now eager to kowtow to the Great Colonial Master whilst refusing to acknowledge the 800lb gorilla in the room: China is there – it has always been there – it will continue to be there in some form or other – but rather than deal with it, the only policy response is antagonism and posturing.

    The British were big in Asia once – since Singapore fell, less so; so were the French before Dien Bien Phu; and so were the Spanish. The Americans will soon also be consigned to the annals of history, leaving these obsequious Asian vermin all alone and exposed to reap the consequences. Ask the Koreans, Singaporeans and Chinese what “End of Empire” looks like – they have direct experience of being abandoned (at the hands of a previous generation of Japanese “ambassadors”)

    • koedo

      Oh give it a break. Colonial masters? Which Asian country does the US currently colonize? You are aware time and history progress, correct? The US once was at war with Britain and now we’re not. The march of time is not stagnant and neither are alliances.

      • Tomoko Endo

        I think that all Japanese unhappy incidents’s back are American colonization. That’s rights.
        Now some Japanese notice of it.
        But not only America, but Comintern, communists, too.
        I’ve read that communists decide to attack Germany, Poland and Japan in 30’s-40’s.

    • Paul Martin

      The American taxpayeer is to thank for ptotecting Japan and SK. They would happily save $700 billion annually by withdrawing responsibility from Asia !
      If this should ever happen be sure that China and North Korea would HAPPILY fill the gap !
      America is FAR more advanced militarily and techonologically than MOST folk and their adversaries understand, they intend to keep that upper hand and have NO intention of letting their guard down and becoming second place ore second rate !
      America’s prime advantage is trade, without which Asia using tyhe US as a dumping ground for their non quality paroducts would have NO revenue to employ and feed their factorized masses !

  • Toolonggone

    This is just as worse as US Senators passing re-authorization of ESEA that was twisted into George W. Bush’s controversial No Child Left Behind Acts(2001). It is NOT the same as the original one legislated by the President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Abe & LDP leaders use the same tactics to deliberately change the meaning of language in the Constitution through invention of new coinage–such as ‘proactive Pacifism.’ for collective ‘self-defense.’ It’s an euphemism for unspoken compliance to US foreign policy and national security.

    • Tomoko Endo

      Abe and Koreans invade Japan to kill. They are Natiz.

      • Hendrix

        stop commenting here until you have taken your meds

  • Tomoko Endo

    I’m Dove of the left. I research political matters and I knew that an American professor revealed almost Japanese prime ministes are Korean. Japanese have lost our country long ago.
    Abe’s grand father was an A-class war climinal who avoided death penalty.
    So, Abe is a believer of Korean cult.
    Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone is a believer of Korean cult and built ‘Fukushima’ nuke reactors.
    Abe is said that he came from Korean e untouchables’ town.
    So, Japanese inperial family and old Japanese army’s headquater were s Korean, i suspect.
    During the war, tenno, Japanese emperor ordered all Japanese to die for him and he killed much Japanese. That’s unnatural.
    Now many ordinary people are detained at mental hospitals and tortured by Korean cults, mainly ‘soka’.Many are detained there for more than 10 years.
    Many are forced to drink narcotic drugs to shrink their brains and kill them.
    Unit 731 are business circle, pharmaceutial companies, hospitals and universities.
    They did experiments to mental patients to develope block busters.
    They did psychological tests to mental patients. Eichmann’s tests etc.
    Psychatrists did electoric shocks to patients to make them killers.
    Psychatrists are murerers.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      Careful, underneath your garbled ranting your racism is showing.

    • Mohamed Boussetta

      Tomoko-chan let me give you a piece of advice, go see a pshychotherapist before you kill somebody or kill yourself cause you are mentaly sick!!!

    • Hendrix

      Have you tried applying for a job at Fuji TV? … they would hire you with your hatred of Koreans…. yes the usual meme in Japan, blame the Koreans for everything…. you need to take your medication soon.

  • Merchant Mmo

    The irony of the protesters are that they don’t offer a solution and just protest. Who will aid japan 100% if any attacks? Surely japan cant just selfishly rely on the USA to sacrifice their people? The US isn’t a mercenary unit, even tho it would be favorable for japan to just pay the US and have them protect. What if we just let asia do its own thing? Well last time the world let aggressors run rampant for a while, it started WWII.

  • DrHanibalLecter

    Ah, come on..

    Where is the respect for millienia of japanese tradition?
    Japanese people have always been butchered for the greater glory of their masters.

    Help me, if I am mistaken here… but didn’t the japanese people elect Abe in free and fair elections? So, why is there a problem?
    Get used to the fact, that to save US exceptionalism and super power status, someone has to make a sacrifice in the fight against China. As the majority of Americans will be glad to confirm if asked: It is God’s will !
    Anyway, this country is used to have to have nuclear bombs dropped on is women and children…

    • Steve van Dresser

      In the last Japanese election, fewer than half of the population even voted. And of those who voted, fewer than half supported the LDP or its partner, New Komeito. Most of those elected got a plurality of votes in their in their districts, but still less than a majority. About 20 percent of the people voted for Abe, but the opposition was so scattered that the LDP got more than 67% of the elected representatives. I voted against Abe and his militaristic policies, but many people just stayed home.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        Genuine question..are you a naturalised Japanese citizen?

      • Steve van Dresser

        Yes, I am. I naturalized 6 years ago.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I see, figured you had to be if you voted.

  • SabineRiver

    Support to the protesters! No to Abe! Abe railroads the proposal through the Diet.
    He rushes to meet a deadline set by US imperialism.

    Like his grandfather, he prepares new disasters! Imperialism and capitalism cause war. The US billionaire capitalists are driving to control the investment markets of the entire world. To control China and Russia, US imperialism needs vassal military forces to surround China. US imperialism puts Japan on the most dangerous front lines.

  • Ron Lane

    Why no protests that Japan has reconfirmed its status as an American puppet, doing exactly what Washington wishes? Why also no protests that Abe has shown the Japanese constitution to be a worthless document? The constitution does allow for revision, but that would require a majority vote of the electorate — one this bill would be unlikely to receive. So I’d imagine Abe feels pretty much the same about the Japanese electorate as he does the constitution.

  • Tomoko Endo

    Japanese Meijl emperor wasnot a heir of the body.
    Hirobumi Ito was an adopted child.

    Japanese red cross is Japanese emperor’s financial combine.

    Shinzo Abe, Taro Aso and Japanese emperor are relatives.

    Ryoma Sakamoto belonged to Free Masonry.

    • Hendrix

      no mention of the Koreans then? …

  • Paul Martin

    NOT government of, by or for the people !

  • 46nd2

    Abe want’s his place beside Obama, Harper, Abbott and Cameron as the mercenaries against humanity.

  • J.P. Bunny

    There are 28,500 American troops in Korea because the war did not end, it is officially a truce. There are also American troops in Korea because the Korean government hasn’t kicked them out. North Korea is still a threat to the existence of South Korea, and the American troops play a huge part in keeping the Whack-a-doodle North on their side of the border. Do you really think that the U.S. could colonize a country in this day and age? The U.S. would have preferred to keep it bases in the Philippines, but was told to take its toys and go home when the treaty expired. Not very “colonial masterly” that.

    “Colonial masters, obsequious Asian vermin, Great Colonial Masters”, is this from the Vitriol book of History?

    • Shavi Tupyraz

      Well, if that’s what you like to believe, Good For You! Why not? Who knows, you might be right. I see things very, very differently, and am aghast at the USA’s repeated lies, violations of International Law and attempts to re-write history to suit whatever agenda it is pursuing from time to time. There is no Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, and it is not China which us running ships aground on reefs, flying CNN TV crews over disputed Islands, or flying B-52 bombers into a neighbouring ADIZ just to prove a point. There is no Freedom of Navigation issue either, because not only has China never impeded anyone’s freedom of navigation, the Spratleys and Paracel Islands are market on maritime maps as “Dangerous Ground” (Google it) and the shipping lanes steer well clear if the area due to the numerous reefs and shoals. Feel free to believe what you will, but in my view, you have been duped

      • J.P. Bunny

        Mentioned not did I anything about Abe, the AIIB, or anything else that you prattled on about. There is this amazing thing called history, it may behoove you to actually read it.

  • ricohflex

    People of South East Asia – watch out. This is not only about Japan vs China. This is Japan becoming a militarised country once again.
    Militarisation of a country like Japan does not happen overnight.
    It takes a few decades of gradual gestation, say about 30 years. Japan needs to increase the manpower of their armed forces, build new advanced powerful weapons, tanks, planes, ships, submarines, chemical & biological weapons and even nuclear weapons (which Japan pretends not to have). Then it is ready to wage war on others.
    Japan warmongers need to get rid of the peace-loving Japanese or threaten, coerce and destroy their livelihoods. So that no one dares to stop Japan’s descent into a fully militarised state ready to wage war on other countries. Monitor closely what Abe’s government will do to Japanese who protested against the new security bill.
    Japan will sugar coat future conquests in nice terms, like Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
    In reality it means slavery, rape, torture and death at the hands of the Japanese.
    The difference in future is that USA will not come to your rescue any more, like in WW2. USA actually welcomes Japan becoming a militarised nation again from 2015 onwards. As long as Japan does not threaten USA, and is allied with USA against China; the US is happy to let Japan rule the whole of South East Asia once again. This time there won’t be a Pearl Harbour attack by Japanese.
    Japan will keep USA on its side as an ally.