Thousands of protesters in Japan stage rally in objection to new anti-terror law

July 10, 2017 7:42 pm
Thousands of Japanese have held a rally in Tokyo in protest at a controversial anti-terror law adopted last month, urging the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to step down.
The organizers said 8,000 people attended the “March for Truth” rally, which was held Sunday in the busy Shinjuku district of the capital, Tokyo.
During the rally, the protesters chanted anti-government slogans and carried placards that read, “Abe resign now” and “Against fascism, against war.”
In mid-June, Japanese lawmakers approved a wide-ranging counter-terrorism bill, which critics say could be used to target civil liberties in the Asian country.
The law, passed by Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and their coalition partners, includes conspiracy to commit “terrorism” among 277 others crimes.
Opponents also say the law targets actions with no clear and direct link to terrorism.
The protest comes as public support for the Japanese premier has plunged to its lowest level since 2012, when he rose to power.
Abe plans cabinet shake-up
In an apparent bid to regain popularity, Abe is set to reshuffle his cabinet and party leaders early next month.
Abe said Monday that he would retain main cabinet figures and LDP officials in the shake-up planned for August.
“I will reshuffle the LDP leadership and the Cabinet members early next month, aiming to renew peoples’ feelings,” Japanese media quoted Abe as saying.
“Stability is extremely important to deliver results. The core structure of the Cabinet should not be changed so often,” he added.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and his wife getting off plane. (Photo by AFP)

The announcement comes a week after Abe’s party suffered a historic loss in a Tokyo assembly election to a novice political group, a defeat analysts said shed light on the premier’s political vulnerability nearly five years into his tenure.
Meanwhile, opinion polls on Monday showed Abe’s popularity at its lowest since 2012, with support of 36 percent in one conducted by the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper – tumbling from 49 percent a month earlier.
Another, in the liberal Asahi Shimbun paper, found support of 33 percent, a slide from 38 percent a week earlier.
Exactly a year ago, Abe’s ruling bloc achieved a landslide victory in an election for the parliament’s upper house, despite concerns over his economic policies and plans to revise the nation’s post-war constitution.
His administration has since been battered by a scandal over suspicions of favoritism to a friend’s business, verbal gaffes by cabinet ministers and concerns about Abe’s intentions to revise the constitution.
Abe faced another challenge on Monday, when former vice education minister Kihei Maekawa testified to parliamentary panels on concerns the PM may have intervened to help win approval for a veterinary school run by an education group whose director, Kotaro Kake, is a friend.
Abe has repeatedly denied doing Kake any favors.
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