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
'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.'