Thursday 15.12.2016 in Latest Developments in Japan Country Page
Citizens attend rallies to protest newly assigned rescue duties for SDF personnel in South Sudan https://t.co/pZJd4FksaI— The Japan Times (@japantimes) December 11, 2016
People in Japan have take to the streets to voice their opposition to a perceived increase in Japan's participation in international conflicts. In the absence of a formalised military, the Japanese Self-Defence Force (SDF) was established in 1954 to support international peacekeeping operations. On 12th December, protestors took to the streets in Tokyo to protest against the expansion of the SDF's mission in South Sudan. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution originally contained a clause that outlawed war as a means of settling international disputes, thus limiting the powers of the Japan Self-Defense Force. However, article 9 was amended in 2014 to give more power to the SDF by allowing them to defend other allies. This allowed the SDF to take part in and provide material support to international combat missions. During the protest, approximately 150 people gathered to voice their opposition to Japan's increasingly visible role in military operations. The protest took place peacefully.
On 1st December, people on the island of Okinawa staged a sit-in protest against plans by the United States to move the Futenma Marine base from Ginowan to Nago in the Henoko coastal region. Protests against US military presence on the island have been ongoing for the past 9 years. With 30,000 troops stationed on the island, many local residents have voiced concerns about growing tensions due to noise and the behaviour of military personnel.