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Japanese media slam Abe's war bills as unconstitutional

(Xinhua)    09:06, July 18, 2015

TOKYO, July 17 -- Major media outlets in Japan have denounced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling coalition's ramming of security-related bills through the lower house of parliament, saying the move blatantly thwarted the constitution and belittled public's commitment to pacifism.

The bills were passed despite five opposition parties imploring the ruling coalition to either scrap them for their unconstitutionality, or to continue debate and discussion over them, as the coalition's explanation was deemed wholly insufficient.

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper condemned Abe administration for not allowing enough debate and ignoring opinions of constitutional experts as well as rising public dissent on the bills which, if enacted, will render the constitution and hence the supreme law irrelevant.

"The Abe administration has failed to provide a convincing explanation of the constitutionality of its reinterpretation of the supreme law, which forms the basis of the bills. Nor has it attempted to deepen discussions on 'changes in the security environment' surrounding Japan, which it cites as the reason for allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense," the paper said.

It inferred that any expansion in the role of Japan's Self- Defense Forces, rather than being a deterrent, could in fact put the country in a more dangerous situation and further contribute to tensions in the Asia Pacific region

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper focused on the arrogance of the ruling bloc's moves, saying the bloc's reliance on the public having a short memory would be to its detriment.

"The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to assume that the people will eventually forget the way the legislation was rammed through the house. But the people who have sovereign power will never forget Abe administration's contempt for them," said the paper.

"The administration has imposed its view about the issue of Japan's right to collective self-defense on the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, which traditionally said Japan is not allowed to exercise that right, by replacing its chief," it added, highlighting the way Abe and his ruling coterie have browbeaten their way into getting what they wanted, including by threatening and attempting to manipulate the media.

The English-language Japan Times newspaper, in an editorial penned by renowned scholars, was, as with its Japanese counterparts, not backwards in coming forwards about its criticism of the bills and Abe government.

"As scholars from Japan and the U.S., we oppose the new security bills and call on anyone who is unfamiliar with what's happening to get informed. What we have here is legislation without representation; at its worst, tyranny," said Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University, and Nancy Snow, a Social Science Research Council Abe Fellow affiliated with Keio University's Institute for Communications and Research, in the joint editorial for the Japan Times.

"If adopted, Japan will be able to use military force even when it is not attacked, under the name of collective self-defense. Let us not mince words: this spells the end of Article 9 without ever formally amending it according to due process of law," the editorial said, adding that Abe's autocratic maneuvers could potentially undo decades of political pacifism in Japan.

"We cannot believe any assurances from a prime minister who thinks nothing of the constitutional ban and popular opposition that these security bills will strictly limit Japan's military role. This legislation opens the door to virtually unfettered government discretion over the use of force that violates Japan's fundamental principle over six decades of an exclusively self- defense posture," it said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Bianji)

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