Following boisterous confrontations in the Diet and more than three days of public protest, the Upper House finally enacted two divisive security laws early Saturday that will mark a significant departure from Japan's postwar pacifism.
Enacting the contentious laws was one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's long-held ambitions. His goal was to find a way to remove some of the key legal restrictions that the war-renouncing Constitution imposes on the Self-Defense Forces during overseas missions in order to strengthen Japan's all-important military alliance with the United States.
Given the ruling coalition's strength in both chambers of the Diet, the opposition camp was essentially powerless to stop him. It was thus reduced to obstructing the voting procedures and tapping public frustration with the legislation in hopes of rallying widespread resistance.