The Japanese upper house of parliament has passed a controversial bill allowing the country’s army to fight abroad first time since the end of WWII.
According to the NHK broadcaster, the House of Councillors voted in favor of the controversial bills by a vast majority at a late-night plenary session, despite last-ditch opposition efforts to stall the vote. The legislation was approved by the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, as well a special panel in the upper house.
The Japanese lawmakers passed a package of security bills despite nationwide rallies and accusations that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is using it as a pretext to involve the country in international armed conflicts.
According to various estimates, up to 40,000 citizens have gathered outside the Japanese parliament building Friday to protest against the controversial law.
The new legislation, abolishing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that renounces the use of force in settling international disputes, would allow the co-called Self-Defense Force to be sent overseas in an offensive military posture for the first time in seven decades.
According to the bill, the purpose is to defend allied countries even if Japan is not directly attacked. It will also abolish a set of restrictions for military to participate in UN-led missions across the world.
In Japan, a recent Kyodo poll has revealed that 46.4 percent of the population is against the political course conducted under Shinzo Abe’s cabinet, with 43.2 percent supporting it.