Japan Cabinet to Endorse Bills Allowing Greater Defense Role

Peace and Freedom

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By MARIYAMAGUCHI

The Associated Press

Japan’s Cabinet is set to endorse a set of defense bills allowing the country’s military to go beyond its self-defense stance and play a greater role internationally, a plan that has split public opinion.

Hundreds of citizens rallied outside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office Thursday, calling the bills “war legislation” that turn Japan toward militarism. They say the move would tarnish nearly 70 years of efforts by Japan to regain international trust and identity as a pacifist nation.

After its defeat in World War II, Japan renounced war under the U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution that bans the use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

Abe and his government say that leaves Japan vulnerable amid increasingly assertive China’s presence in the region, adding Japan should be better prepared to defend itself while doing more to help out in international peacekeeping efforts.

The…

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