Japan Protests: 120,000 People Rally Against New Military Bills

Around 120,000 people took to the streets of Tokyo, Japan on Sunday to protest new measures that would allow the country to deploy military forces overseas to defend an ally under attack. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to get the security bills through Parliament, but the political leader is already taking hits to his popularity as a result.

According to the Huffington Post, people of all ages braved the occasional rain to put pressure parliament.

There were around 300 demonstrations around Japan. Interviews with the participants illustrated how serious of an issue this has become.

A woman identified as A. Hashimoto explained politics is not an easy topic to discuss among other parents at her 5-year-old son’s kindergarten, but she still had to join the rally, according to Yahoo News.

“I’m afraid the legislation is really going to reverse the direction of this country, where pacifism was our pride… I feel our voices are neglected by the Abe government.”

French professor and 44-year-old mother Naoko Hiramatsu explained, “Sitting in front of TV and just complaining wouldn’t do.”

“If I don’t take action and try to put a stop on this, I will not be able to explain myself to my child in the future.”

The head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, Katsuya Okada, also addressed the rally.

“We need to make the Abe government realize the public is having a sense of crisis and angry. Let’s work together to have the bills scrapped.”

The BBC reports that Japan is restricted to using its military force for its own self-defense in accordance with article 9 of its constitution. At first, it seemed like Abe would require a constitution amendment to expand the military’s global role, but now the lawmakers have reinterpreted the founding document of modern Japan to allow for “collective self-defense.”

As a result, the security bills simply have to pass through the parliament, which has already happened in the lower house. Abe hopes to finish the process and get the security measures through the upper house by September 27th, when the legislative body ends its session.

If parliament ultimately passes the bills, the Japanese military will be able to fight abroad so long as the three conditions below are met.

“Japan is attacked, or when a close ally is attacked, and the result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to people”

“There is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people.”

“Use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum”

[Image Credit: Getty Images]