Despite protests, Abe moves ahead
Japanís parliament drew near on Friday to enacting contentious defence legislation that could ease the constraints of the pacifist constitution to let troops fight overseas for the first time since World War-II, despite public protests and delaying tactics by the opposition.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the policy shift, which would mark the biggest change in defence policy since the creation of Japanís post-war military in 1954, is vital to meet new challenges such as from a rising China.
But the bills have sparked massive protests from ordinary citizens and others who say they violate the pacifist constitution and could ensnare Japan in US-led conflicts after 70 years of post-war peace.
Parliamentís session runs until September 27, but ruling party lawmakers are keen to have the upper house approve the bills before a five-day holiday starts on Saturday, when big street demonstrations could erupt.
Abeís ruling bloc has an upper house majority, but major opposition parties submitted censure motions and a no confidence motion in the lower house to block a vote.