Premier Abe vows to keep Japan out of war
Iran Press TV
Fri Jan 1, 2016 10:27AM
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to keep his nation out of war following the introduction of a controversial new law that would allow the military to engage in wars overseas.
"Under the new legislation for peace and security, we will prevent war by taking all possible preparations for any circumstances," Abe said in a New Year's message
In September last year, Japanese lawmakers in the upper house of the parliament approved bills that fundamentally reshape the country's constitution
The current Japanese constitution, in place since the Second World War, stresses non-intervention in foreign military conflicts.
Abe and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party have faced fierce criticism over the controversial legislation.
Last month, the Japanese cabinet approved the largest ever annual defense budget of 5.05 trillion yen (USD 41.8 billion).
Premier Abe and supporters argue that the new legislation is necessary to deal with a changing security environment and threats posed by regional countries that are expanding their military and nuclear capabilities.
Opponents, however, say the legislation threatens Japan's pacifist image and that the revisions will change its 1945 constitution, which prohibits Tokyo from combat except in self-defense. They also say the legislation allows the country to join wars waged by the US and allies.
Public anger has been rising on an unprecedented scale over the bills in the past days as tens of thousands of Japanese people have taken to the streets several times to express opposition.
Meanwhile, China and South Korea have criticized the new security bills, with Seoul urging Japan to "contribute to regional peace and security" and calling for transparency in Japan's defense policy discussions.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying had earlier urged Tokyo to "stick to the path of peaceful development."
Japan occupied large parts of China and the Korean Peninsula during World War II. Beijing and Seoul claim that Tokyo has not properly compensated for its past military aggression.
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