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Japan ruling camp rams security bills through lower house

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.
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。