World / Asia-Pacific

Thousands protest against collective self-defense in Tokyo

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-18 14:37

TOKYO - More than 5,000 people took part in a rally on late Tuesday to protest against Japanese government's drive to lift the ban on collective self-defense right, local media reported Wednesday.

According to Japan's Kyodo News Agency, people hold up placards with slogans "Antiwar" and "Don't destroy Article 9" at Tokyo's Hibiya Park near Japan's parliament.

The incumbent government by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to lift the ban on exercising collective-self defense right by reinterpreting the Pacifist Constitution, which bans Japanese Self- Defense Forces from fighting overseas, so as to enable Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

It has aroused strong criticism both at home and abroad. In Japan, a total of 1,756,368 people have signed a petition against the government's move, condemning it disregarded and offended its people.

Miyoko Kimura, a 59-year-old Tokyo resident who took part in Tuesday's rally, said Abe's move did not sufficiently reflect public sentiment and his plan to use a Cabinet decision for constitutional reinterpretation rather than amendment is an " expedient."

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) now aims to seek Cabinet approval before the current Diet season ends on June 22, but New Komeito Party, the junior coalition partner, remains divided with LDP over this major policy change.

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