Japan's upper house panel approves security bill

Japan's upper house panel approved legislation over security policy shift which gives permission to send Japanese security forces abroad for first time since World War Two

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Japanese lawmakers scuffle during a committee voting of security bills at the upper house of the parliament in Tokyo, Thursday,

Updated Sep 18, 2015

Japanese lawmakers took a step on Thursday towards enacting legislation for a policy shift with a security bill that would allow the Japanese military to fight abroad.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition has a majority in the upper house but opposition parties have promised to use delaying tactics to keep the bill from passing before parliament leaves on Sept. 27. The legislation has already been passed by the lower house.

Shinzo Abe indicated that Japan needs to change the country's pacifist constitution and pass the bill to ensure regional peace and security for its global peacekeeping missions.

Supporters of the bill suggest that it helps enable the Japan Self Defence Forces prevent potential threats from nations such as China and North Korea which are continuing to develop their military and nuclear weapons programs.

Last Thursday Japanese lawmakers scuffled in Japan’s upper house during a heated debate over the bill.

Following the clashes, opposition lawmaker Tetsuro Fukuyama made an emotional speech on Thursday saying why his party had delayed the bills, which could see Japanese forces fighting abroad for the first time since World War II. "Is the ruling party listening to the voices of the public? You can do whatever you want to do because you have a majority - is that what you think?" he said tearfully.

Main opposition Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers Tetsuro Fukuyama shout as other lawmakers try to stop the start of an upper house special committee session (Photo by Reuters)

It was an unusual moment in Japanese sedate parliament that oppositions and members of coalition government pushed and shouted at each other around the chairman of the security committee and tried to snatch paperwork from him.

In the meantime, number of  Japanese rallied against the unpopular and lifted up pictures of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a Hitler haircut and moustache. The protests reminded Abe's grandfather Nobusuke Kinship resign’s after forcing a U.S.-Japan security treaty through parliament 55 years ago.

Aki Okuda, founding member of the protest group Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), shouts slogans during a rally (Photo by Reuters)

It is speculated that the expansion of SDF missions could lead to increases in Japan's defence budged while Japan is struggling with ongoing economic stagnation.

TRTWorld and agencies