Japan: Anti-war protests fume against 'militarism' of PM Abe

Hundreds of demonstrators joined a Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) protest on Friday in front of the National Diet (Japan's legislature) in Tokyo, protesting against the country's latest security bill. Protesters claim the bill will undermine Article 9 of the country's post-war constitution which outlaws the use of war to settle international disputes. Protesters held anti-war placards in front of the building during the rally, furious about the security bill's proposed expansion of the role the country's military. The bill - a cornerstone of Prime Minister's Shinzo Abe's move to shore up Japan's defence - is expected to pass next month, having already cleared the lower chamber of parliament. Hundreds of protests have broken out nationwide in the last week, opposing the legislation. A national poll of Japan's elderly who lived through the war found that 70 percent were opposed to any change to Article 9 of the constitution. The new legislation allows the Japanese military to deploy abroad for the first time since 1945. The move allows the prime minister and government to deploy troops to assist allies, likely the United States, without parliament's approval or public debate. Analysts have linked the changes to the US's 'pivot to Asia' in national security, a policy widely seen to be an attempt to contain China.

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