In a dramatic reversal to decades-old policy, the upper house of Japan’s parliament has consented to a bill allowing the stationing of Japanese troops abroad.
The text of the bill passed by the upper house of Japan’s legislature, the House of Councillors, is carefully worded: Japan now has the right to send troops overseas to assist in multinational security operations when “threats to Japan’s security” arise.
A key element of Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s foreign policy, Abe has stifled opposition to the passage of a series of bills to guarantee the motion’s approval.
Commenting on the bill, Abe addressed the media Sunday morning:
“This is necessary to protect the people’s lives and peaceful way of living and is for the purpose of preventing wars. I want to keep explaining the laws tenaciously and courteously.”
The series of defense bills under consideration since their initial passage in July have been met with crushing domestic criticism with protesters flooding the streets of Tokyo in protest. Additionally, a scuffle broke out on the floor of the House of Councillors after the bill’s approval.
Similarly, China weighed in to express their concern with the prospect of Japanese troops abroad. Beijing announced their disapproval and demanded Japan examine domestic opposition prior to adopting the bill.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei declared:
“We demand that Japan earnestly listen to these just voices domestically and internationally, learn the lessons of history, uphold the path of peaceful development, speak and act cautiously in security and military matters and take actual steps to maintain regional peace and stability.”
Backed by the United States, Japan is responding to aggressive military moves by both China and North Korea. China is in the midst of a military buildup, particularly the development of a blue-sea fleet, and North Korea threatens its neighbors daily.
China, in particular, has made no secret of its envious eye on the Spratly Islands and is currently building military installations on the hotly-contested island group.
If China is displeased with Japan’s legislative activity, one wonders how the communists will re-act when Japan grants itself the privilege of maintaining its own nuclear arsenal. This will cause a considerable amount of consternation in Beijing.
[RT News] [Photo courtesy Focus News]