Japan's animation legend decries Abe's plan to expand military role
More and more leading figures in Japan are criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to expand the role of his country's military, ahead of a parliamentary committee's crucial vote on the plan slated for later this week.
Master of animation Hayao Miyazaki is one of those critics and has joined the growing protests against the biggest post-war shift in Japan's security policy.
Hayao Miyazaki, the Oscar-winning director, commented at a press conference on Monday in Tokyo, denouncing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to allow broader use of Japan's military.
"I think Prime Minister Abe wants to be remembered as a great man who changed the Japanese constitution but I think it is silly."
The Abe administration is pushing forward a series of controversial security-related bills in parliament.
The security bills will go to a vote at a parliamentary committee on Wednesday and be presented at a plenary session of the lower house of parliament.
If enacted, the bills will pave the way for Japan's Self-Defense Forces to help defend Japanese allies and others under what is known as "collective self-defense".
Many people in the country, including Miyazaki, consider the bills to be a violation of Japan's pacifist constitution.
Miyazaki says many people don't understand the importance of the pacifist constitution, which was written in 1947 under U.S. direction after World War II.
"This was power that young people, Japanese young people can't understand, the pacifist constitution. The pacifist constitution wasn't exactly forced by the occupying forces, but it carries on the spirit of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, so it's not something that is secluded from history nor is it something that has been forced upon us by the occupying forces."
Last year, the Japanese cabinet approved a constitutional reinterpretation, allowing use of military forces to defend Japan's allies overseas.
Since then, more and more leading figures in Japan have voiced their disagreement and criticism, including renowned author Kenzaburo Oe and leaders of the opposition parties.
Last week, the opposition Japan Innovation Party and the Democratic Party of Japan both submitted bills to parliament to counter the security legislation pushed by Abe and the ruling coalition led by the Liberal Democratic Party.
Several protests against the security bills have been held across the country.
A recent poll showed that 95 percent of people in Japan's Osaka are against the security-related bills pushed by Abe.（Ecns）