Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nationalist defence policy, which includes a desire to deploy Japan’s military to fight overseas, has caused a big drop in his approval rates, local media reported on Monday.
According to a survey by Nippon Television Network, nearly two-thirds of voters oppose his new security bill. Abe's approval rate has fallen to its lowest level since he became prime minister in 2012, as thousands of Japanese protested the bill over the weekend.
The proposed legislation is seen as a break from Japan's pacifist constitution that was imposed on it after its defeat World War II, and Abe has promised the United States that he will pass the bill to enable the country to aid its allies militarily.
Washington and Tokyo have recently signed a new defence cooperation agreement based on the bill being passed. But Japanese people are angered by the changes in the constitution, claiming Japan has become entangled in wars through its alliance with Washington.
According to a recent opinion survey, Abe's approval rating has fallen to 41.1 percent from 43.5 percent, and 62.5 percent of the poll’s participants said they are opposed to overseas military deployment.
A majority of the Japanese people believe the proposed legislation has not been explained enough and more than half also said Abe's economic plan is not working.
Japan’s cabinet approved the security bill last month. Should it pass it will lift geographic restrictions on military operations and allow the Japanese military to fight abroad World War II.
The country’s government will also gain the ability to provide logistical support for foreign armies and to join in international peacekeeping operations.
Japan will cooperate not only with the US military but also other Asian countries, as China’s influence rises in the region.