Thousands protest in Japan against new military law

Thousands of people protest in Tokyo against proposed new law that would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad to defend allies under attack.  

People are protesting against proposed legislation that would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad
People are protesting against proposed legislation that would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad

Thousands of people have protested outside the Japanese parliament in Tokyo against proposed new legislation that would allow the Japanese military to deploy troops overseas.

If passed, the new law would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two. Japan’s constitution bars the country form using military force to resolve conflict, except in cases of self-defence. However, as proposed the law would also allow “collective self-defence” – the use of military force to defend allies under attack.

The protests were led by students and youth who who say that they wish to protect Japan's pacifist constitution. Police have lined the streets and have told protesters to move along in an attempt to minimise disruption in the capital's centre.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claims the changes are necessary to protect Japan and has insisted that it would not lead to Japan’s involvement in foreign wars.

The legislation has already been passed by Japan's lower house and is expected to be endorsed by the upper chamber.

Speeches at an emotional memorial service to commemorate the victims of Nagasaki, where the US dropped an atomic bomb 70 years ago at the end of World War Two, criticised Abe for the proposed loosening of legislation.

86-year-old Sumiteru Taniguchi, a survivor of the Nagasaki attack, had turned on Abe and warned him not to meddle with the Japanese constitution, in a speech that was welcomed with cheers from the audience. 

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