Japan Military Bills Provoke Scuffling in Parliament


Legislators scuffled in Parliament and demonstrators took to the streets on Thursday as Japan’s governing coalition moved to secure final passage of contentious legislation that would loosen decades-old limits on the country’s military.

The package of 11 bills was still tied up in Parliament’s upper house late Thursday night, past an initial deadline set by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has spent considerable political capital trying to convince a skeptical public that Japan should play a more assertive role in global military affairs.
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Scenes reminiscent of a rugby match played out in the committee chamber where lawmakers have been debating the bills for weeks. Opposition politicians tried to prevent voting by piling on top of the committee chairman and wresting away his microphone. Lawmakers from the governing party pulled them away and formed a protective scrum around the chairman to allow him to call the vote. The scenes were shown live on television by the national broadcaster, NHK.

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