07/13/2017, 16.47

Protests against Shinzo Abe in major cities

People take to the streets in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka to protest against the anti-conspiracy legislation and demand the prime minister’s resignation. A poll for Asahi Shimbun shows that only a third of the Japanese are in favour of the government. One reason is Abe’s attempt to rewrite the Constitution along less pacifist lines ahead of the 2020 Olympics, ostensibly to prevent terrorist acts.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After the election defeat of his candidate in Tokyo's metropolitan election, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has come under greater pressure.

On Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets in several Japanese cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka to call for his resignation.

Protests centred on anti-conspiracy legislation that came into effect on Tuesday, which will allow the authorities to arrest and punish people even in the planning stages of a crime.

According to the organisers, a group called Mirai no tameno kokyo (Public for the future), Abe is ramming through policies by force of numbers without heeding public opinion.

Just a third of the population (33 per cent) support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet, the lowest rate since the second Abe administration took office in December 2012, a poll for Asahi Shimbun revealed. The previous lowest level was 35 per cent in September 2015, immediately after the national security legislation passed the Diet.

Following the Liberal Democratic Party's crushing defeat in the Tokyo election, voices within the central government ruling parties – the LDP and Komeito – have started calling for caution on the issue of constitutional amendment, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rushing to put in place.

“(The election showed) the will of Tokyo residents, whereby they want us to discuss the matter carefully, properly and in an intelligible way,” said Shigeru Ishiba, former minister of state for regional revitalisation.

Hajime Funada, acting chairman of the headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution, also told reporters, “I personally don’t believe it is a very good idea to discuss constitutional amendment with a predetermined time limit.”

Abe wants to change the Constitution, dropping its more pacifist aspects before the 2020 Olympics in order to prevent terrorist acts.

In recent months, the prime minister has been embroiled in a number of scandals following media revelations about his favouritism over schools and public land.

One refers to the establishment of a veterinary medicine faculty by Kake Educational Institution. The other involves private school operator called Moritomo Gakuen.

Japanese media also slammed the prime minister for failing to visit the south of the country devastated by heavy rains and landslides that killed so far 18 people, with 30 missing and more than 200 evacuated.

The protest forced Abe to leave early the G20 summit in Hamburg and cancel his visit to Estonia.

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