Japan’s House passes bills allowing troops to fight overseas

Japan’s Lower House has passed security bills that aim to expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces abroad despite objections by opposition parties and unease among the public, according to Asia Times.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition railroaded the bills in an afternoon plenary session despite opposition parties’ calls for continued deliberations in the Lower House. Five opposition parties skipped the vote in protest.

The cause: a pair of security reform bills that will turn the nation’s retiring Self-Defense Forces into a more proactive fighting unit, and the manner in which the government is pursuing that change.

Also the Japan Times stated that “on Thursday the ruling camp bulldozed the bills through a plenary session of the Lower House and immediately sent them to the Upper House.

The question on many people’s lips: Why is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in such a hurry?

Abe, many political analysts say, may be sure of one thing: The political environment will only worsen if he takes his time over the legislation.

He is set to face a number of difficult political events this summer, each of which is likely to further eat away at his already declining popularity among voters.

Those events include the planned reactivation of the Sendai nuclear reactor in Kagoshima Prefecture, Abe’s release of a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the possible conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks.


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