Opposition lawmakers stall vote on Japan security bills


Opposition lawmakers in Japan, backed by thousands of supporters on the streets outside parliament, continued to stall a vote on controversial security bills Thursday, news reports said.

The ruling bloc, which includes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, was unable to overcome procedural hurdles to hold the vote Wednesday night, as they had planned, Japan Times daily reported.

A board meeting scheduled for 6 pm (1100 GMT) on Wednesday was delayed when opposition lawmakers blocked a corridor inside the Diet building, while large crowds of demonstrators gathered outside.

Over 10,000 people attended the protest, news agency Jiji Press reported.

The session did not conclude until 3:30 am, when both sides agreed to continue discussions on Thursday morning.

The opposition hopes to delay the vote as long as possible while seeking additional support from voters. Polls suggest that more than 60 per cent of the public opposes the bills, the report said.

The bills would permit Japan’s military to act in “collective self-defence” if its interests were threatened at home or abroad, an action that many consider to be unconstitutional.