[Ed. – It’s done. Strap on the rocket booster, shipmates.]
Japan’s parliament has voted into law a defence policy shift that could let troops fight overseas for the first time since 1945, a milestone in prime minister Shinzo Abe’s push to loosen the limits of the pacifist constitution on the military.
Mr Abe said the shift, the biggest change in Japan’s defence policy since the creation of its post-war military in 1954, is vital to meet new challenges such as from a rising China.
But the legislation has triggered massive protests from ordinary citizens and others who say it violates the pacifist constitution and could ensnare Japan in US-led conflicts after 70 years of post-war peace. Mr Abe’s ratings have also taken a hit.
The legislation “is necessary to protect the people’s lives and peaceful way of living and is for the purpose of preventing wars”, Mr Abe told reporters after the bills were approved by the upper house.