[Ed. – As of now, it looks like this is going to happen — if not this week, then sooner rather than later. The effect would be to allow Japan to make mutual defense pacts with nations like the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and India (among others). Basically, it would be an earthquake in the geopolitical substructure of Asia.]
Japan’s upper house of Parliament is poised to pass the first major reinterpretation of the country’s pacifist constitution since the end of World War II, despite fierce and vocal opposition that culminated with lawmakers getting into physical altercations.
The historic vote, which could take place Friday, marks the most dramatic shift in Japanese military policy in 70 years, and has triggered the largest protests seen in Tokyo in decades.
A scuffle broke out Thursday as opposition lawmakers in a special committee of the Upper House attempted to delay a vote. But the bill ultimately passed the committee, clearing a key hurdle and setting the stage for a vote on the measure.
The controversial legislation reinterprets Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which outlaws war as a means of settling international disputes.
The reinterpretation allows Japan to exercise collective self-defense, enabling the Japanese military, known as the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), to fight overseas and defend allies with limited conditions.