DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .
An article by Jon Queally, Common Dreams (reprinted according to guidelines of Creative Commons)
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Japanese parliament building on Sunday to reject plans put forth by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that would see an aggressive expansion of the nation’s armed forces despite a long-standing constitutional mandate for a “defense only” military posture.
Protesters hold up banners reading ‘No To War,’ during a rally to protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to enact two controversial security bills on Sunday in Ogimachi Park in Osaka’s Kita Ward. (Photo: KYODO)
The enormous crowd—estimated by organizers as more than 120,000 people—is opposing a set of bills moving through the country’s legislature which would allow the country’s military to engage in overseas fighting and ratchet up spending on new weapons systems. Despite loud public protest against the plan, Abe has continued to defend the plan. Demonstrators carried banners reading “Peace Not War” and “Abe, Quit!”
“Sitting in front of TV and just complaining wouldn’t do,” Naoko Hiramatsu, a 44-year-old associate professor in French and one of the Tokyo protesters, told Reuters. Holding his four-year-old son in her arms, she continued, “If I don’t take action and try to put a stop on this, I will not be able to explain myself to my child in the future.”
As the Asahi Shimbum reports:
In one of the largest postwar demonstrations in Japan, tens of thousands of protesters swarmed in front of the Diet building in Tokyo on Aug. 30 to oppose the Abe administration’s contentious security legislation.
Following a wave of weekly protests near the Diet building in recent months, rally organizers had worked to mobilize 100,000 participants from across the nation.
Amid the gloomy and rainy weather, protesters held up placards and banners and chanted slogans against the legislation, which is being pushed through the Diet.
A huge banner hanging from dozens of balloons read: “Abe, Quit!”
Opponents blasted the security bills on concerns that they would drag Japan into unwanted conflicts overseas.
Organized by a union of three different anti-war citizens’ groups, the Japan Times reports Sunday’s rally was arguably the most massive in a string of similar protests in recent months.
Should Japan be allowed to militarize?