Anger erupted inside and outside the chamber, with protesters opposing the changes rallying on the streets and on Thursday, heated arguments erupted into a brawl in parliament, with normally sedate lawmakers getting caught up in a shoving match.
“We can counter this by developing a more powerful military to withstand Japan‘s provocation”, said the Global Times editorial. For example, a situation must be deemed an “imminent critical threat” to Japan. Japan was only to have “Self-Defence Forces”, which would only respond to a territorial attack.
The ministry pointed out the “perfect respect” for a third country’s sovereignty when Japan exercises the right to collective self-defense, which was specified in the revised guideline on the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation.
Opposition to the move is clearly evident in opinion polls.
The first Gulf War in 1990-91 was a major turning point.
However, Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), deputy legislative speaker and the ruling Kuomintang’s presidential candidate, expressed regret and concern over Japan’s two “war bills” and said the Japanese government should rethink its decision. Previously, Japan had restricted its role to noncombat activities such as building infrastructure and policing.
Kim Young-rok, spokesman of South Korea’s main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, said Japan’s pacifist constitution was toppled and Japan’s conscience was trampled down by the dream of distorted hegemony. In 2004, another special law authorized the one-time deployment of troops to Iraq for construction projects. The government will no longer need to enact a special law each time, though parliamentary approval to dispatch troops will still generally be required. Japan will also be able to participate more fully in worldwide peacekeeping, compared to its previous, mostly humanitarian, missions.
Previous postwar governments had all made the notion of collective self-defense unconstitutional.
In July the security legislation was approved by the lower house of parliament where Abe’s coalition holds a two-thirds majority.
It should be noted that Article 9 has not been amended.
Many Japanese who opposed the bills – which prompted large public protests – were also attached to the pacifist provisions in the constitution that banned fighting overseas.
US officials today are careful to avoid demanding changes in Japan’s military policy, at least publicly.
Japan’s close ally, the United States, welcomes the legislation, as do many Southeast Asian nations amid China’s growing power.
“Definitely, the enactment of this legislation is tantamount to a diplomatic suicide for Japanese foreign affairs and a setback to all the efforts Japan is making to bring permanent and durable peace to the region and to the world”, Matthews told Xinhua.
East Asia analyst Hosaka Yuji with Sejong University in Seoul says Tokyo’s authorization to use military force to defend its interests increases the possibly for conflict over these territorial disputes.