Years of agitating by Japanese PM Abe Shinzo for a legal workaround for the nation’s post-WW2 ban on overseas military adventures had long been met with little public comment within Japan, but as the effort nears fruition it has provoked a major backlash, with a massive antiwar protest in Tokyo.
Organizers put the number of demonstrators at 120,000 as people took to the streets in front of parliament, a fierce new antiwar force in a nation which hasn’t been in a war in generations and indeed has a relatively politically passive population.
Abe’s efforts have been backed by the United States, ironically the same nation that imposed the restrictions on Japan after WW2 in the first place, with officials imagining that, like Britain, Japan could become a sidekick nation in America’s various military adventures, allowing the US to claim more international support and drag other nations into these costly conflicts.
That’s not sitting well with a lot of Japan’s youth, who are of course the ones who are going to start getting deployed abroad to fight all these new wars. The idea of “collective self-defense” isn’t sitting well, in no small part, because of how broadly the more warlike “partners” Japan would define self-defense.
Though Abe and supporters are presenting this as helping allies when they are under attack, the reality is that this would’ve almost certainly been used to shoehorn Japan into such non-defensive operations as the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. or the current ISIS war.