Japan Parliament passes controversial security bill

Masaaki Yamazaki, the president of the upper house, said the bills were passed with 148 lawmakers voting in support and 90 against.

 

Japan has approved a historical bill that will allow the country to have a military role overseas. Previously, the constitution only permitted ‘collective self-defence’, a more pacifist clause that prevented Japan from using military force except in self defence (if under attack or survival is at stake).

 

According to Masaaki Yamazaki, the president of the upper house,  the bills were passed 148 in favour and 90 against.

 

Last minute protests were held outside parliament, and opposition members attempted to delay the vote in order to prevent the bill being passed. Opposition members strongly opposed the bill and attempted to delay the vote as long as possible by tabling minor motions. Tensions reached breaking point when scuffles broke out in Parliament.

 

Why the change?

 

 

In terms of the actual change, the bill is more a reinterpretation rather than any drastic change in the wording of the clause. However the intended effect is clear; to widen the remit of Japan’s use of military force to encompass more aggressive action. The bill comes at a time when China has been forcefully expanding its claims to territory in the South China sea, irking its regional neighbours including Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea and the Japanese themselves. Whilst many argue that the clause currently protects Japan as it prevents it from being a threat and provoking other nations, supporters of Abe indicate that the clause should reflect the times and Japan must be well-equipped to deal with a retreating US foreign policy that has resulted in many questioning its commitment to protecting its allies in the region.

It is worth noting that the US is firmly backing the bill, with many Japanese believing that it instigated this entire episode in the first place.