Japan: Abe pushes through reform of pacifist constitution despite widespread protests
By 18 September 2015
Lawmakers crowd around Yoshitada Konoike, chairman on the upper house special committee on security, as Masahisa Sato, right, of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s fist lands on opposition Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Hiroyuki Konishi, top, during a vote at an upper house special committee session on security-related legislation at the parliament in Tokyo on Sept. 17, 2015 [photo credit: Yuya Shino/ Reuters]
<p>Japan's ruling party pushed contentious security bills through a legislative committee Thursday, catching the opposition by surprise and causing chaos in the chamber.
</p><p>Opposition lawmakers surged toward the chairman's seat as they realized something was up after ruling party legislators had gathered at the podium to protect him.
</p><p>As the scrum intensified, ruling party lawmakers still in their seats stood up to signal their support for the legislation, though there didn't appear to be an audible announcement of what they were voting on.
</p><p>The legislative standoff is the latest development in a years-long national debate about the way Japan uses its military.
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