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Braving falling snow, supporters of Japan’s pacifist Constitution gathered in Tokyo on Thursday to object to the revised Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines set to be debated in the current Diet session and the possibility of Japan drafting emergency defense legislation.

Some 350 people, mostly from labor unions including the Japan Teachers Union, attended the meeting hosted by the Forum for the Protection of Constitution, Peace and Human Rights.

Haruo Fujii, a guest lecturer and military analyst, maintained that the support Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are to provide for U.S. Forces under the revised guidelines involves actions linked to war and is therefore unconstitutional, since Japan’s Constitution renounces war. “The current Diet deliberations to have these bills passed is the very first step toward (participating in) war,” Fujii said.

Under the new guidelines currently being discussed by the Diet, the SDF would provide logistic support for U.S. forces in areas not seen as battle zones should a situation threatening the nation’s security occur near Japan.

Another lecturer, Akira Yamada, an associate professor at Meiji University, touched upon Japan’s military history and warned that preparing emergency defense legislation itself could lead to another war.

Yamada cited a series of emergency laws that were enacted prior to Japan’s entering World War II, including those backing the creation of a draft system and oppressing freedom of speech, and said the legislation eventually helped ready Japan to join the war.

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