Japan's controversial security bills clear upper house panel

Baku, September 17, AZERTAC

Japan's ruling camp passed controversial security bills at a meeting of a House of Councillors panel Thursday, paving the way for enactment of the legislation at an upper house plenary session, according to Kyodo News.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the Komeito party, put the bills to a vote despite mounting protests from the opposition camp. The ruling coalition holds a majority in both chambers of the Diet.

Designed to expand the scope of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces' overseas operations, the legislation would enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of the United States and other friendly nations under armed attack, even if Japan itself is not attacked.

Advocates say the bills are needed to deal with the increasingly severe security environment facing Japan such as China's increasing military assertiveness. But critics argue that the security policy shift would violate Japan's war-renouncing Constitution and embroil Japan in U.S.-led wars.

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