There was a broad welcome by major business organizations of the passage of bills that will expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces abroad. However, one group said ruling party lawmakers need to explain the changes better to a skeptical public.

The prevailing mood was expressed by Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren: “The security situation surrounding our country is getting increasingly severe. We welcome the enactment,” he said, in a comment released by Keidanren shortly after the laws went on the books in the early hours Saturday.

Akio Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents small businesses, called the bills “a legislative arrangement necessary to protect the lives and assets of the Japanese people.”

Yoshimitu Kobayashi, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said, “We commend it as a major step toward strengthening Japan’s security.”

Kobayashi said it is “extremely regrettable” that strong opposition remains among the public.

The laws “did not foster (sufficient) public understanding,” he said, adding that he hopes government officials and ruling lawmakers “continue making further efforts at providing clarification in a sincere manner.”

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