June 30, 2015

"Abe has alienated some would-be allies who complain not only about his proposal but also about what they perceive as heavy-handed tactics."

LA Times Japan's ruling coalition came in for a shock recently as parliament mulled legislation pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to expand the powers of the nation's Self-Defense Forces. By Jake Adelstein

'The lawmakers had invited three constitutional scholars to address the lower house. One of them, Waseda University professor Yasuo Hasebe, was handpicked by the coalition, which was stunned when he said the legislation would "considerably damage the legal stability" of the nation and violate the country's post-World War II pacifist constitution. The other two scholars agreed.

'"It was a total disaster," said a coalition lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. "With all three scholars saying the bills are unconstitutional, the debate exploded."

'The debacle in the Diet, Japan's parliament, in early June has only added to doubts about Abe's campaign to unshackle Japan's military under the doctrine of "collective self-defense." Polls show well over half the public oppose the effort, up significantly in recent months, despite attempts by Abe's administration to stifle criticism.'

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