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Laws Expanding Japan Military Come into Force
   2016-03-29 13:15:46    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xu Leiying

People attend a rally to protest against the controversial security bills in Tokyo, Japan, July 14, 2015. About 20,000 people took part in the demonstration. [File photo: Xinhua/Stringer]

Japan's controversial security laws have come into effect, despite a huge public backlash.

The legislation and related bills had to be forced through both chambers of parliament six months ago.

Opponents say the new security laws are unconstitutional.


The legislation will now allow Japan, against its pacifist constitution, to exercise the right to collective self-defense and permit Japanese forces to come to the aid of its allies and friendly nations under armed attack even if Japan itself is not being threatened.

Japan will also be able to participate more fully in international peacekeeping, compared to its previous, mostly humanitarian, missions.

Japanese Defence Minister, Gen Nakatani, stressed the need for the change in order to improve international co-operation.

"Recently situations have changed, especially in terms of terrorist attacks. Incidents that occur abroad are not necessarily unrelated to Japan's national security. Furthermore, we are living in times where it has become extremely difficult for one country alone to maintain peace. We need a seamless law to handle any sort of situation, and we will continue to explain this to the public."

On Monday, a day before the bills came into effect, over a hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the premier's residence.

Kazue Sato, a 61-year-old protester, said they were disappointed that the government had ignored their protests and vowed to continue their opposition.

"Even though there are so many of us who are raising our voices in opposition to the security bills, the government isn't listening, I am very disappointed about that, I feel it's an unfortunate country."

On the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, when asked about Japan's new security laws, said China urged Japan to do more to enhance mutual trust with countries in the region and promote regional peace and stability.

"Japan's Asian neighbors and the international community are concerned about this issue for historical reasons. In regard to Japan's moves in military and security affairs, we hope that the Japanese side will draw lessons from history, stick to the path of peaceful development, handle prudently its military and security policies and do more to enhance mutual trust with neighboring countries, and contribute to peace and stability in the region."

The South Korean Foreign Ministry has said it will monitor Japan's security policy in response to the new security bills.
It says Japan's defence and security policies should move in a direction that contributed to the region's peace and stability.

Osamu Watanabe, honorary professor at Japan's Hitotsubashi University, says the new security bills conflict with the Japanese Constitution.

"The new security bills seriously violate the Article IX of Japanese Constitution. Its first item says that Japan will not start a war. The second item says that Japan will not maintain military forces or fighting army and it will not resort to force as a means of settling international disputes. This is what Article IX says to restrain state power."

About 100 Japanese lawyers have set up a lawsuit association, and plan to take action in the local courts in relation to the new security bills in April, on the grounds that they are unconstitutional.

The use of force by the Japanese military had been limited to its own self-defence since World War II.

Previous postwar governments had all made the notion of collective self-defense unconstitutional.

However Shinzo Abe's Cabinet last year decided to allow it, by unilaterally adopting a new interpretation of the constitution, instead of formally revising the charter, saying it must be adapted to today's increasingly challenging security environment.



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