During his address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked about the national security legislation package that his government was then about to introduce to the Diet. He explained that this legislation aimed to make “the cooperation between the U.S. military and Japan’s Self Defense Forces even stronger, and the alliance still more solid, providing credible deterrence for the peace in the region.” Calling the reform package the “first of its kind and a sweeping one in our post-war history,” he declared that his government intended to enact the legislation “by this coming summer.” That was only six weeks ago. Today, Abe will struggle to get the legislation approved by the Diet this year.
The legislation package – which ultimately amounts to creating one new law and revising 10 existing laws – was already controversial when it was first introduced to the Diet. But the political atmosphere surrounding the legislation began to shift on June 4, when three well-respected constitutional scholars were invited to testify in front of the Commission of the Constitution in the House of Representatives. Asked to respond to the questions on the security legislation package that has been submitted by the Abe government, the scholars unanimously responded that the government-proposed legislation is “unconstitutional”.
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