＃LDP and the Komei Party(supported by SGI) are both the ruling parties in Japan.#
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/japans-politicians-at-war-after-parliamentary-panel-passes-controversial-security-legislation-for-proactive-defence-policy-10391474.html 15-7-2015 independent tokyo The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, wants his nation's armed forces to join in military activities overseas and defend allies under attack – principally the US
A parliamentary panel in Japan has approved controversial security legislation that critics say will dramatically change the nation’s defence policy and weaken its pacifist constitution.
Angry opposition politicians shouted “shame” and held signs calling the bills “unforgivable” as the Special Committee for Peace and Security passed the bills. The coalition government’s two-thirds majority in the lower house means they will almost certainly clear a full vote on Thursday.
The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, wants Japan’s armed forces to join in military activities abroad and defend allies under attack – principally the US – a policy he has dubbed “proactive pacifism”. One aim is to achieve “inter-operability” with US forces, to meet new guidelines adopted during a visit by Mr Abe to Washington in April. Currently, almost anything Japan’s military wants to do has to receive temporary legislation. But the attempt to legislate for collective defence has united most constitutional scholars against Mr Abe’s government and triggered deep divisions in a country where pacifism sunk deep roots after the Second World War. More than 20,000 people demonstrated in central Tokyo on Tuesday. Campaigners are calling for 100,000 people to surround the Diet (parliament) to try to halt the bills and force Mr Abe’s resignation.
Public backing for the government has dipped below 40 per cent for the first time since Mr Abe called a snap election last year, according to several polls. A survey by the state broadcaster NHK found only 18 per cent of people support the legislation. Conservatives in Mr Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) say the constitution, written in 1946 during the US occupation, has kept the country weak. They want to scrap Article 9, which “forever renounces war” as a sovereign right. To rewrite the article they need a two-thirds majority in both houses, followed by a referendum – a hurdle that has defeated every previous government. Mr Abe’s solution has been to ignore decades of legal consensus and read the constitution as he sees fit, says Yasuo Hasebe, a constitutional scholar. That sets Japan on a very dangerous road, he adds. “Any interpretation of any constitutional clause seems now up for grabs.” In addition, he says, Mr Abe’s security bills could make the country less secure by triggering a response by China.Mr Abe reinterpreted the clause last July, triggering a backlash from most constitutional experts. An academic group campaigning against the legislation has collected the support of more than 9,000 scholars. The Prime Minister is attempting a “constitutional coup d’état”, said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan.
“Knowing he can’t revise the constitution because he doesn’t have the numbers to do so, Mr Abe is gutting Article 9 constraints on the Japanese military.”
Many ordinary Japanese are concerned, he added, that new defence guidelines with America, agreed this year, will drag Tokyo into a conflict – possibly with China – at US behest. Mr Abe needs political legitimacy if he is going to send Japanese troops into harm’s way, so he is trading with his political rivals
＃LDP's partner is the Komei party supported by SGI, and both parties are the ruling parties in Japan.#
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33546465 BBC ｎｅｗｓ 3 hours ago The lower house of Japan's parliament has approved two controversial bills that change the country's security laws, despite protests in Tokyo. The changes would allow Japanese troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War Two. The bills still need approval from the upper house, but many expect them to eventually be passed into law. The changes are unpopular and thousands demonstrated outside parliament on Wednesday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed for the two bills, arguing it is necessary to expand the role of the military in a doctrine called collective self-defence. But polls show more than half of Japanese citizens oppose them. Reacting to the passing of the bills, China's foreign affairs ministry spokesman Hua Chunying questioned if Japan was "abandoning its pacifist policies", and urged Japan to "stick to the path of peaceful development" and avoid harming the region's stability. South Korea has similarly in the past urged Japan to "contribute to regional peace and security" and called for transparency in Japan's defence policy discussions.
What is collective self-defence? Japan's post-World War Two constitution bars it from using force to resolve conflicts except in cases of self-defence.
Mr Abe's government has pushed for a change that would revise the laws such that Japan's military would be able to mobilise overseas when these three conditions are met: ◾when Japan is attacked, or when a close ally is attacked, and the result threatens Japan's survival and poses a clear danger to people ◾when there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan's survival and protect its people ◾use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum Most of the opposition lawmakers walked out of the lower house chamber in protest before the vote took place on Thursday, with only members of the small Japan Restoration Party voting against the bills.
Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partners hold a two-thirds majority in the lower house, which is needed to approve bills. The upper house, where the LDP and partners also hold a majority, now has 60 days to rule on the bills. Even if it rejects them, the bills would be sent back to the lower house which can then pass them into law. But the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says that the opposition is expected to launch legal challenges to rule the bills as unconstitutional.
Our correspondent says those in Japan who oppose the bills believe they break Japan's explicitly pacifist constitution and also distrust Mr Abe, who is known for his right-wing nationalist views.
Organisers of a large protest which took place outside parliament on Wednesday night said about 100,000 people showed up.
"I'm angry at both the new security bill and Prime Minister Abe. The bill is against Japan's constitution... Abe does not understand it," student Jinshiro Motoyama told the BBC.
Mr Abe first put the changes in motion last year when he sought to reinterpret Japan's pacifist constitution to allow the bills.
Protests as Japan paves way for self-defence law change 15 July 2015 From the section Asia BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33532557 A parliamentary committee in Japan has approved two major bills for debate, paving the way for an expanded role for the military. The move sparked protests from opposition lawmakers in parliament and activists outside the building. If the bills are passed, Japan would be able to fight overseas in a doctrine called collective self-defence. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says it is necessary for the country's protection, but polls show many Japanese oppose it. On Wednesday, a special committee set up in Japan's lower house to decide on the two security bills gave its approval. The bills, will now be presented before Japan's full lower house on Thursday for another round of debate and approval. They still have to clear the upper house as well before they can be passed. Many expect the bills to be passed as both the lower and upper houses of Japan's parliament, known as the Diet, are dominated by Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Tensions ran high inside the Diet building on Tuesday when the special committee, which is also dominated by the LDP, moved to halt a long-running debate on the bills. Opposition lawmakers shouted their disapproval and mobbed committee chairman, Yasukazu Hamada, as he began the voting process. AP news agency reported that some began slapping and grabbing him. Hundreds of activists opposing the bills also gathered outside the Diet to protest the move. Several recent polls showed that more than half of Japanese voters were opposed to passing the bills, reported The Asahi Shimbun. Mr Abe addressed the committee on Wednesday, saying: "Unfortunately, the Japanese people still don't have a substantial understanding... I will work harder so public understanding would deepen further." The change was put in motion more than a year ago when Mr Abe sought to reinterpret Japan's pacifist constitution - put in place following WW2- to allow the change. Neighbours such as China and South Korea have decried the move and accuse Japan of re-militarisation.
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150716p2g00m0dm065000c.html July 16, 2015 (Mainichi Japan) TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's ruling coalition pushed controversial security bills through the House of Representatives on Thursday, moving a step closer to achieving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's goal of expanding the role of the Self-Defense Forces abroad for a firmer alliance with the United States.
Despite strong objections by opposition parties and rising concerns among the public, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the Komeito party, railroaded the bills through a lower house plenary session. The Democratic Party of Japan, the Japan Innovation Party and the Japanese Communist Party boycotted the vote in protest.
With their passage at the session, a day after a similar "forced passage" at a lower house committee, the government-sponsored bills will be sent to the House of Councillors for further deliberations.
"The government would like to continue thorough explanations so as to win broader understanding from the people," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, referring to deliberations in the upper chamber after a total of 116 hours of deliberations at the lower house panel on security legislation.
"The government bears responsibility to ensure people's lives and peaceful living in an increasingly severe security situation surrounding our country, especially North Korea's nuclear and missile development," the top government spokesman told reporters, stressing the need to enact the bills.
The proposed legislation would allow Japan to defend the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack to cope with new security environments including a rising China and a nuclear-armed North Korea.
It would also enable Tokyo to increase its contribution to international peacekeeping efforts.
Opposition lawmakers and constitutional scholars argue Japan's exercising the right to collective self-defense would violate the war-renouncing Constitution.
Abe dismisses such claims and defends a landmark Cabinet decision in July last year that reinterprets the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.
The prime minister has expressed determination to enact the bills by the Sept. 27 end of the current extended Diet session. In an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in late April, he promised to enact the bills "by this coming summer" as part of efforts to "provide a seamless response for all levels of crisis."
The LDP-Komeito coalition controls more than two-thirds of the lower house and holds a majority in the upper house. Under Diet rules, even if the upper chamber fails to vote on the bills, a second vote in the lower chamber can pass them into law with a two-thirds majority.
But railroading the bills through parliament risks a further fall in public support for the government because opinion polls show a majority of the public opposes the bills and believes Abe has not explained them sufficiently.
On Wednesday, Abe acknowledged such public sentiment. "It is true that the public has yet to gain sufficient understanding (of the bills). (We) would like to increase efforts so as to promote their understanding."
Rallies have been held across Japan in protest to the forced passage of the bills. A demonstration near the Diet building in Tokyo on Wednesday drew about 100,000 people, according to organizers.
Lower House passes security bills amid protests
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/16/national/politics-diplomacy/lower-house-set-to-pass-security-bills/#.VaeKc1Iw_IV Jul 16, 2015 .japantimes Tens of thousands of angry voters in the streets. Opinion polls recording deep-seated public unease.
The cause: a pair of security reform bills that will turn the nation’s retiring Self-Defense Forces into a more proactive fighting unit, and the manner in which the government is pursuing that change.
On Thursday the ruling camp bulldozed the bills through a plenary session of the Lower House and immediately sent them to the Upper House.
The question on many people’s lips: Why is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in such a hurry?
Abe, many political analysts say, may be sure of one thing: The political environment will only worsen if he takes his time over the legislation.
He is set to face a number of difficult political events this summer, each of which is likely to further eat away at his already declining popularity among voters.
Those events include the planned reactivation of the Sendai nuclear reactor in Kagoshima Prefecture, Abe’s release of a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the possible conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks.
“The Upper House schedule is so tight. We have so many things on the agenda,” complained a high-ranking official close to Abe recently.
Given that the current Diet session would likely be devoted to those political events, only about 24 days will effectively be left for deliberations on the security bills in the Upper House, the official said.
“First, opposition parties are likely to ‘go to sleep’ so the Diet will be unable to hold deliberations for 10 days or so,” the official said, referring to a likely boycott by the opposition bloc.
The ruling bloc will have no choice but to agree to hold special intensive sessions at the Upper House for each political event as it arises this summer, which will leave fewer hours for deliberations on the security bills, the official said.
Still, Thursday’s passage of the bills will leave more than 60 days before the end of the current Diet session on Sept. 27 — a period that all but guarantees their enactment because bills can be returned to the Lower House if the Upper House fails to vote on them within 60 days. And controlling more than two-thirds of the Lower House the ruling coalition can then secure passage in short order.
For the time being, Abe is faced with few developments that might boost his approval rating.
Many voters are frustrated over the government’s extravagant plan for the costly — and initially misrepresented — new National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics. The estimated cost surged from ¥130 billion to ¥252 billion without explanation.
Following the passage of the security bills through the Lower House, Abe reiterated Thursday the necessity of enacting the legislation in the current Diet session. “The security environment surrounding Japan has become more severe. These bills are absolutely necessary to protect the lives of citizens and to prevent war,” Abe told reporters.
Democratic Party of Japan President Katsuya Okada told DPJ lawmakers that it is their responsibility to translate the public’s concern into action.
“Debate will kick off at the Upper House and I believe it will be a long debate,” Okada told DPJ members following the plenary session. “Let’s gain more support from the public and drive (the ruling camp) to scrap the bills.”
One of the two security bills will establish a new permanent law to allow the SDF to provide logistic support for a foreign military engaging in U.N.-backed operations, while the second will amend 10 security-related laws and remove various restrictions on the SDF’s operations.
The latter bill would allow Japan to use the right of collective self-defense as defined under the United Nations charter, or the right to use force to aid an ally under attack even if Japan itself is not.
The government had long maintained that the use of the right was banned under the postwar pacifist Constitution. But last year, Abe adopted a new reading of the Constitution and submitted the two bills to the Diet. Constitutional scholars have said the reinterpretation is unconstitutional.