Japan lower house panel approves security bills

July 16, 2015 09:08
A person holds a placard in Tokyo during a protest Wednesday against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s security-related legislation. Photo: Reuters

A panel from Japan's lower house of parliament has approved legislation that could allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two, Reuters reported.

Ruling coalition lawmakers approved the legislation after a raucous debate as opposition MPs tried to block the security bills that call for a dramatic change in Japanese defense policy, it said.

The bills are expected to be approved this week by the full lower house, where the ruling bloc has an overwhelming majority, before going to the upper chamber. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a bolder security stance is vital to meet new challenges, such as those from a rising China. 

Opponents say the revisions violate the post-war constitution's pacifist Article 9 and could entangle Japan in US-led conflicts around the globe. 

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