Japan’s post-World War II defense posture underwent a major shift this week as the Abe administration’s security legislation, enacted last year amid an outcry from the opposition camp in the Diet, charges of unconstitutionality from scholars and a sharply divided public opinion, took effect. The set of two laws enables Japan to engage in collective self-defense, which the government had banned for decades under the war-renouncing Constitution, and significantly expands the scope and alters the nature of Self-Defense Forces’ overseas missions.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touted the implementation of the legislation as an event of “historic importance that makes peace and security of our country even more secure” and “upgrades our deterrence and enables the nation to proactively contribute more than ever to peace and stability of regional and international communities.” At the same time, he stressed the importance of such actions winning a broad public support.

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