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Japan ratifies controversial bills that allow military to fight overseas

Before the bills were voted into law in the upper house, opposition lawmakers filed a number of censure and no-confidence motions against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

By Elizabeth Shim
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Japan ratifies controversial bills that allow military to fight overseas
Japanese lawmakers of the House of Councilors scuffle during a vote of the upper house special committee for the security-related bills in Tokyo, Japan on September 17, 2015. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

TOKYO, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Japan's parliament ratified security bills that would allow the country's military to fight in overseas missions, a historic revision to the country's pacifist constitution that was established after the end of World War II.

Japan's passage of the bills came early Saturday despite strong objections from opposition lawmakers and Japanese protesters, some who have called the bills "fascist" in rallies outside Tokyo's parliament.

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Before the bills were voted into law in the upper house, opposition lawmakers filed a number of censure and no-confidence motions against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and members of parliament. The ruling majority, however, rejected all motions, including a motion against Yoshitada Konoike, the ruling party member who chairs a special upper house committee, Kyodo News reported.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted the legislation that could revise Japan's pacifist constitution and allow Japan's military to serve in overseas missions whenever it or a close ally is attacked. Opponents of the bill, however, say the law would lead to unwanted Japanese involvement in U.S.-led conflicts around the world.

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Opposition party lawmakers and Japanese Communist Party members have denounced the bills. Democratic Party of Japan member Katsuya Okada said Abe was "out of control," and that he needed to "step down immediately," and Communist Party politician Kazuo Shii said the bills violated the war-renouncing Article 9.

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Outside parliament, student activists chanted slogans urging the overthrow of the "Abe regime" and condemning the bills as "fascist." One unidentified student told South Korean news agency Yonhap that while activists opposed China's superpower ambitions, Japan must work with China toward peace.

Hirokawa Nagatomo, a fourth-year student at Waseda University, told Yonhap that young Japanese feel the security bill is a relevant issue and scenarios in which Japan would have to go to war cannot be inconsequential to young people.

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