Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Rally Monday in front of the Japanese parliament to protest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's unpopular security bills. (Photo: AFP-JIJI)

Rally Monday in front of the Japanese parliament to protest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's unpopular security bills. (Photo: AFP-JIJI)

Tens of Thousands Surround Japan's Parliament Denouncing 'War Legislation'

A series of bills proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would allow the country's soldiers to deploy abroad for the first time since World War II

Sarah Lazare

With a new poll showing majority opposition nationwide, tens of thousands of people surrounded Japan's Parliament in Tokyo on Monday to protest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's  proposed "war legislation" that would allow the country's soldiers to deploy abroad for the first time since World War II.

Holding placards that read "no war" and "scrap war legislation," protesters poured into the streets around parliament after breaking through police lines and barriers.

The massive crowd, which organizers put at 45,000 people, follows mounting protests nationwide, from Nagasaki to Kyoto to Osaka. On August 30, over 120,000 people rallied in Tokyo against the unpopular measures.

"Abe's government is currently not listening to the voices of the people, and many things are being pulled back to the past in a bad way," 69-year-old protester Yasuko Yanagihara told Reuters. "So I can't keep quiet."

Abe is pressing to pass a series of national security bills during parliament's current session, which ends September 27. The package would allow members of the country's Self Defense Force to participate in overseas wars and combat operations of the United States and other allies—even in cases where Japan is not directly attacked. The political move comes amid deepening military ties between Japan and the United States.

"Should this legislation pass, there is a very real danger that Japan could become a party to hostilities and the SDF an army of aggression in violation of international law," the Japanese Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-Related Bills recently declared in a statement.

The measures have attracted broad opposition from across Japanese society, with students, parents, union members, and peace campaigners taking to the streets. While Monday's protest took aim at Abe's war legislation, the prime minister also faces growing discontent on numerous other fronts, including his push to restart the country's nuclear reactors and a controversial state secrets law passed last year.

Public surveys indicate that the recent mass protests reflect broader public skepticism over the prime minister's latest legislative push.

According to polling information released Monday by Japanese publication The Asahi Shimbun, 68 percent of voters in the country hold that the security legislation in the current parliementary session is unnecessary and 54 percent stand opposed to the bills. In contrast, only 29 percent of voters said they support the legislation.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

WHO to Convene Emergency Meeting on Monkeypox Outbreak

Leading public health experts plan to discuss the ongoing outbreak as the number of confirmed cases in the U.K. more than doubled on Friday to 20.

Kenny Stancil ·


Nearly 90,000 Small Businesses in US Expected to Close After Senate GOP Kills Main Street Relief Bill

"The fate of these small businesses," said one advocacy group, "will be tied to those senators who voted down this lifeline today."

Julia Conley ·


To 'Have Our Own Media' Is Key to Political Power, Orbán Tells US Right-Wingers

Hungary's strongman prime minister gave the recommendations at CPAC's first-ever gathering in Europe.

Andrea Germanos ·


Documents Show Baby Formula Maker Enriched Shareholders Amid Deadly Bacteria Outbreak

"Abbott chose to prioritize shareholders by issuing billions of dollars in stock buybacks instead of making productive investments," said one economist.

Jake Johnson ·


Warning Bourdeaux Supports Cuts, Social Security Defenders Back McBath in Georgia Primary

A group that works to defend Social Security endorsed Rep. Lucy McBath, arguing that—unlike her opponent—she "will fight to protect and expand Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo