05/12/2015, 00.00
JAPAN
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Japan’s ruling parties back new “war” law

The law will still have to pass the scrutiny of the government and the Diet. At stake, the pacifist hallmark of Land of the Rising Sun, one of the cornerstones of the nation since the end of World War II. The opposition promises battle in Parliament: "We want to discuss every aspect of the new law", which effectively allows Japan to form an army of aggression. The Church's commitment "against a return to a war mentality". China’s "advice".

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The controversial National Security Law, written in order to allow the Japanese army to return to being an army of attack and not just self-defense, has been approved the parties in government. Now the text will have to pass the scrutiny of parliamentarians in the Diet, which should meet in late May 2015 for its discussion. The government will give its consent (taken for granted) on 14 May.

The Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his only partner, the Komeito, said they "hope to see the law ratified by the end of July 2015". However, analysts and experts believe that there will be "many obstacles" on this journey: the parliamentary opposition, especially the Democratic Party, had already declared its intention to discuss "all aspects of the new law in a comprehensive and exhaustive manner".

Its most controversial aspect include the "room for maneuver" of the Japanese army. Since the end of World War II, the Japanese military has been limited by the Constitution - pacifist and under an American protectorate - which clearly establishes in art. 9 the "non-aggression" of its soldiers. This is why over the past few decades the " self-defense forces," the technical and official name of the army, were limited to support international humanitarian operations in war zones.

The first draft of the new law, which sought to preserve this concept, aims to expand these activities to include operations not approved by the international community. However, in July 2014, the government led by Abe removed the constitutional binds giving the green light to a real "militarist" revolution in the country.

The Japanese Catholic Church was strongly opposed to this decision, and in a very clear message - published on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II - has asked the government “not to return to a war mentality" urging Abe to "understand the message of Pope Francis" for non-aggression of peoples and states.

This text is over the center of the public debate, sparking nationalist comments and even appeared in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Some sections of the Japanese right - close to the Abe government - invited the Bishops' Conference to "mind their own business" and "to keep to talk about religion without interfering with politics." The Bishop of Niigata and President of the local Caritas, Msgr. Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, responded through AsiaNews inviting the country to "not lose its pacifist vocation".

The militarist revival is also viewed with suspicion by the Chinese government, which has repeatedly recalled Japan about the "dangers" of a new period of arms race. Without mentioning the new law into question, Sun Jianguo - deputy chief of staff of China’s Army of Liberation - "warned" some Japanese MPs that "following the United States in the military presence in the Pacific is a mistake."

In addition, the People's Daily - the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party - has used the festivities underway to mark the end of the Second World War to emphasize that Tokyo "is wrong if it thinks it can erase history, without taking responsibility for what happened".

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