Japan’s lower house approves bills that could see troops sent to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two. Julie Noce reports.
Despite protests, lawmakers vote to expand Japan’s military role
Controversial security legislation has been approved in Japan’s lower house of parliament that could see the country send troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two.
The bills would allow collective self-defence, or fighting to defend a friendly country, like the United States.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the measures are necessary to meet new challenges, especially those from China.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER, SHINZO ABE, SAYING:
“The security situation surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly challenging. With this in mind, it is an absolutely necessary legislation to protect the lives of the Japanese and also to prevent the country from going to war. “
Besides expanding the scope of Japan’s military the bills would relax limits on peace-keeping operations and would make it easier to respond to “grey zone” incidents.
The country’s constitution, which was drafted after Japan’s World War Two defeat, places strict limits on the country’s armed forces.
Opponents of the bills say the revisions could entangle Japan in U.S.-led conflicts around the world.
The legislation will now go to the upper house. If no vote is taken after 60 days it will be returned to the lower house, where Abe’s coalition can enact the measures with a two-thirds majority.