Tens of Thousands at Anti-war Rally in Japan over looming ‘War Law’

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Tokyo – Tens of Thousands of anti-war protesters rally outside parliament to oppose new laws that could see Japanese troops engaged in combat overseas for the first time since WWII.

The legislation, which is now under debate in the Upper House, is aimed at allowing the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to fight with allies overseas. The series of national security bills are due to be passed during parliament’s current session, which ends September 27.

The bills represent a landmark change in Japan’s defense policy in the postwar era since the previous governments adhered to the stance that the SDF’s role is basically limited to the nation’s defense in accordance with the war-renouncing Constitution.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed the bills for many years, saying the SDF taking up a greater role overseas would contribute to Japan’s defense. The legislation was rammed through the Lower House last month.

The massive crowd, which organizers put at 45,000 people, follows mounting protests nationwide, from Nagasaki to Kyoto to Osaka. On August 30, over 120,000 people rallied in Tokyo against the unpopular measures.

The ten-lane roadway leading to parliament was packed with people engaged in high-energy chants that roughly translate to: “What? This is our democracy!” And “Defend the Constitution!” calls of “Abe, Stop It!”


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