Japan Lower House Passes Bill to Let Self-Defense Forces Fight Abroad
Japan's constitution prohibits a standing army. Its troops are called self-defense forces (SDF) and their functions have been severely limited until recently.
The legislative package, made up of 11 amendments to the country’s self-defense laws, seeks to significantly change the country's defense posture.
Most notably, the bill reinterprets Japan's profoundly pacifist US-drafted constitution to allow for collective self-defense, meaning its government will be able to dispatch troops abroad to assist allies without parliamentary debate or special laws.
The United States have recently signaled, it would welcome the change in its ally's security stance. Defending the bill in May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo and Washington had agreed that the new legislation was aimed at protecting Japanese nationals abroad.
Critics argue that an expanded Japanese SDF could embroil the country in ongoing wars due to its alliance with Washington.