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Ruling, opposition parties’ debate on security laws heats up ahead of Upper House election

With the official campaign period for the House of Councillors election set to start on June 22, debate on the security laws is intensifying between the ruling and opposition parties. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president, is stressing the benefits of these laws, the enactment of which, he said, contributed to the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. alliance. On the other hand, the Democratic Party (DP), the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), and two other opposition parties call these laws “unconstitutional.” These parties are forming a united front with the Shimin Rengo (Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism) to call for the abolishment of the security legislation.

 

With an eye on the election, Abe has been stumping in areas throughout the nation since June 8. He has stated repeatedly that the security laws contributed to the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. alliance, always adding his criticism of the opposition parties. “The DP and the JCP are calling for the security laws to be repealed. This will shake the very foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance.” However, he has not touched on the fact that the authorization of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense through the change in constitutional interpretation and the security laws will significantly broaden the scope of overseas operations by the Self-Defense Forces.

 

Some in the LDP say that Donald Trump’s complaints about the Japan-U.S. alliance have also served as a “tailwind.” On June 5, Vice President Masahiko Komura criticized the opposition’s demand to abolish the security laws. He said: “If we back off from even protecting the U.S. ships working for Japan’s defense (under the security laws), how can we negotiate if Mr. Trump becomes president?” (Abridged)

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