Japan Divided As Abe 'Bulldozes' Military Bills Through
Pacifist protesters across Japan are against Abe's push for more military powers in the face of international and regional security threats.
Japan is divided over taking a more active military role in foreign conflicts. Legislation passed the country's lower house Thursday.
The bills would allow the country limited military participation in some foreign conflicts. The change has sparked large protests and a petition of 1.65 million signatures. The protesters say the change violates the pacifist constitution Japan adopted after World War II.
But Japanese lawmakers have actually been chipping away at that pacifist policy for years.
Japan provided military support for U.S. actions in Afghanistan in 2001, in the form of naval tankers for refueling. And in 2006, Japan's self-defense forces were deployed for reconstruction in Iraq.
But Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants more and has been pushing for it for months. While addressing a joint meeting of Congress in the U.S., he talked about securing international waters and touted the military changes.
"Once in place, Japan will be much more able to provide a seamless response for all levels of crisis. These enhanced legislative foundations should make the cooperation between the U.S. military and Japan’s Self Defense Forces even stronger," said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
One other factor here: There's definitely a power shift happening in east Asia.
China's growing military strength and aggression in the South China Sea might have pushed Japan's leaders toward this change. (Video via The Kremlin)
And China's government isn't happy about it. According to Xinhua, China's State Councilor "urged the Japanese side to earnestly draw lessons from history ... and not to do any thing unconducive to regional peace and stability."
Abe also pointed to the kidnapping and murder of two Japanese citizens at the hands of ISIS as an argument in favor of expanding military powers.
The bill has already been sent to the upper house, in a process that was so quick, one Japanese outlet said the bills were "bulldozed" through.
This video includes images from Getty Images.
Pakistani police storm home of former PM Khan, arrest 61
Police broke open the door of Khan's residence and found automatic weapons, Molotov cocktails, iron rods and batons used in attacks on cops that week.
China's Xi to meet Putin as Beijing seeks bolder global role
Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine is expected to dominate Putin and Xi's discussions.
China says US is spreading disinformation, suppressing TikTok
The Biden administration has reportedly been calling for TikTok's Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the video-sharing app.
Texas police: Migrants found 'suffocating' in train; 2 dead
Migrants routinely travel through Uvalde, Texas, where the migrants were stopped, often leading to high-speed vehicle pursuits.
Pennsylvania chocolate plant blast kills 2, leaves 9 missing
Some residents were displaced from a neighboring apartment building that was damaged in the explosion.
Trump rallying supporters in Waco ahead of possible charges
The rally comes as Trump has berated prosecutors, encouraged protests and raised the prospect of possible violence should he be criminally charged.