THE WORLDPOST
06/30/2014 06:06 pm ET Updated Jun 30, 2014

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Faces Protests Over Defense Policy

A man lit himself on fire in a busy Tokyo railway station on Sunday to protest a proposal by the Japanese government to weaken the country's decades-old anti-war constitution. As Marc Lamont Hill points out on HuffPostLive, the rare violent act of defiance highlights the unpopularity of the administration's policy shift.

Since the end of World War II, Japan's constitution has banned the use of force abroad and prohibited aid for allies involved in international conflict. The Japanese government, however, is introducing legislation that would allow for reinterpretation of the pacifist clause. As Hill explains on HuffPostLive, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has argued that the current interpretation of the constitution limits Japan’s ability to protect itself in view of China’s rising power in Asia.

The Guardian reports that support for the policy shift is low, with only 34 percent of voters in favor of the idea, while half of voters said they were explicitly against the change.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Monday to challenge the proposals. Some carried banners saying: "I don't want to see our children and soldiers die," Reuters reports.

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