Some 15,000 female demonstrators rallied Saturday in Tokyo to protest security bills that would expand the scope of overseas operations by the Self-Defense Forces.
Wearing red, the color associated with anger, and carrying placards with slogans expressing opposition to the bills, the protesters formed a human chain around the Diet compound where the bills are under deliberation.
Miho Aoi, a professor at Gakushuin University Law School, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government ignores the opinions of many that the bills are unconstitutional.
The bills would also allow Japan to use the right to collective self-defense, or use force to defend an ally under attack. Many legal experts have said that would go against the war-renouncing Constitution.
Tokyo resident Mie Ishibashi, a 33-year-old nurse, brought her 4-year-old daughter to the demonstration, saying, “Children may lose their lives in war.” Ishibashi added, she took part in the demonstration because she fears for the changes the bills would bring about.
A similar demonstration was held in January around the parliament. Both events were inspired by women who campaigned for gender equality in Iceland 40 years ago, and who wore red stockings as a symbol of their cause.
The current Diet session is set to end Wednesday, but the government and the ruling coalition plan to extend it to ensure the bills pass and become law.