September 19, 2015
A bill that has caused so much protest and demonstration all across Japan in recent weeks has now passed the Japanese Parliament. The so-called “defense and security bills” eliminate constraints placed on the use of the Japanese military imposed by the Japanese Constitution, signaling Japan’s biggest foreign policy shift since the post-war military was created.
A main component of the new laws is an end to the ban on the “right of collective self-defense,” defending another country, particularly the United States, if it were to come under attack, or in instances where Japan faces a “threat to its survival,” i.e. where Japan must “defend its national interests.”
Under the Japanese Constitution, the Japanese military could only be used in cases of self-defense, hence the designation of “self- defense army.” Those restrictions have largely been removed as a result of the passage of the new bills.
The bills had already passed the lower house of the Japanese Parliament and were passed by the upper house in the early hours of Saturday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated the legislation was “necessary to protect the people's lives and peaceful way of living and is for the purpose of preventing wars.”
Protesters disagree, however, and fear a coming war and a tendency to move toward the perpetual war state and war economy of the United States.
As quoted by the Los Angeles Times, many protesters have been vocal about these concerns.
"When Abe was running for election, there wasn't a word about security legislation. All we heard was 'Abenomics, Abenomics,'" Yokoi, 71, a retiree from Tokyo's suburbs, said as she stood in front of the legislature Monday evening. "Then, as soon as he's elected … he's … putting the 'war bills' out there. That's just sneaky and underhanded. That's not democracy."
Yokoi is hardly alone. Since June, tens of thousands of demonstrators have repeatedly surrounded Japan's parliament, or Diet, and gathered in cities across the nation to express their discontent with the proposed security legislation.
Signs have read: "Abandon the war bill!" and "We won't be fooled again. We won't go to war again." Organizers claimed 45,000 showed up at the Diet on Monday evening, although there was no independent confirmation of that figure.
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Mothers Against War, a small group founded in July, has collected nearly 20,000 signatures protesting the bills. Its members have taken to holding up signs at rallies saying: "I won't let [anyone] kill anyone's children."
Perhaps one of the most prescient statements was made by protester, Miki Tsukamoto, a working mother with a 4 year old boy. “Everyone's life is important. I think members of the Self-Defense Forces will quit. Maybe the only way to get troops will be a draft,” she said. “And if not by force, there will be a sort of economic draft in which the less fortunate are lured by promise of economic rewards for service. We're becoming like America. That's frightening."
Indeed, it seems Ms. Tsukamoto’s fears are becoming realized. It only remains to be seen how long it will be before Japan becomes entangled in a destructive foreign adventure. The lessons of history appear to have a very short shelf life.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.