• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he’s going to promote better understanding of his security bills during deliberations in the Upper House amid declining public support for his Cabinet.

“Unfortunately, I believe low support for the security legislation and insufficient understanding (of the bills) have led to” the recent sharp fall in Cabinet approval ratings, Abe said Monday on TV.

He said the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito bloc will continue talks with Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party) over its counterproposals to the bills, saying, “I would like as many parties as possible to support the legislation.”

The coalition rammed the controversial bills, aimed at expanding the role of the Self-Defense Forces, through the Lower House last week, triggering public protests across the country.

The proposed legislation would allow Japan to defend the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack.

Opposition lawmakers and constitutional scholars argue such an operation, if Japan itself is not attacked, would violate the war-renouncing Constitution.

Some 150 academics who oppose the security bills held a news conference in Tokyo on Monday afternoon to release a declaration calling for the bills to be scrapped.

Toshihide Masukawa, a professor emeritus of Kyoto University and 2008 Nobel laureate in physics, said, “These are bills which empower the prime minister to wage war.”

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