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Protesters demonstrate against Abe's security bills

By Agencies in Tokyo (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-31 07:50

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied outside Japan's parliament on Sunday to oppose security legislation in one of this summer's biggest protests ahead of its anticipated passage next month.

"No to war legislation!" "Scrap the bills now!" and "Abe, quit!" they chanted during the demonstration in the government district in Tokyo, filling the street outside the front gate of the parliament, or Diet.

The demonstrators oppose legislation that would expand Japan's military role under a reinterpretation of the country's war-renouncing constitution.

Political heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa, who also serves as a co-head of the People's Life Party, and other opposition leaders also participated in the largest rally recently seen in Tokyo. According to organizers, similar demonstrations against the bills were also held across the country during the weekend.

Katsuya Okada, leader of the largest opposition Democratic Party, said the security-related bills violated Japan's pacifist Constitution, adding that the Japanese people were so angered by the bills there was a sense of crisis.

The Communist Party chief Kazuo Shii said the Abe administration avoided directly answering questions over the bills during parliament deliberations, vowing to stop the bills' endorsement in the upper house.

For his part, Ozawa, in a rare public appearance, said the bills should be thwarted and called for united efforts to retract them and force the Abe administration to step down. The new legislation was pushed through the Diet's lower house and now is under debate in the upper house.

However, the ruling camp enjoys two-thirds majority in the lower house, meaning that if the upper house vetoes the bills, they could also be enacted in a new poll in the lower house by securing over two-thirds support.

The bills, which are considered in contravention of the country's war-renouncing Constitution by about 90 percent of constitutional experts, will enable Japan's Self-Defense Forces to engage in armed conflicts overseas and help defend others even if Japan is not attacked.

Opponents said the bills will increase the risk of the SDF being dragged into armed conflicts and endanger Japanese people's right to live in peace.

AP - Xinhua

Protesters demonstrate against Abe's security bills

An estimated 120,000 protesters demonstrate outside the parliament in Tokyo on Sunday against bills allowing military action overseas.  Kyodo Via Reuters

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