Majority of Japanese Oppose Security Bills

Majority of Japanese Oppose Security BillsMajority of Japanese Oppose Security Bills

More than half of voters in Japan are opposed to their government’s plans to enact legislation this month that would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two, a newspaper poll showed on Monday.

Despite big public protests, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc wants to pass the security bills before parliament ends its session on Sept. 27. A vote in the upper house is expected this week.

A poll carried out over the weekend and published on Monday by Asahi Shimbun showed 54% of respondents opposed the legislation against 29% who backed it, and 68% saw no need to enact the bills during the current session, Reuters reported.

Three-quarters of the respondents said the debate has been insufficient, in line with other surveys.

Abe’s ruling bloc has a majority in the upper house, but opposition parties have vowed to use all possible means to prevent a vote, including delaying procedures by submitting time-consuming non-confidence and censure motions.

Support for Abe’s government fell to 36%, the survey showed, the lowest rate since he took the office in December 2013 and down from 38% in last month’s poll. Abe’s disapproval rating inched up to 42% from 41%.

Abe last week won a rare second consecutive term as a ruling party chief, and hence premier, pledging to retain focus on reviving the world’s third-largest economy and deepen debate on revising its pacifist constitution.