SEOUL— Japan’s Upper House of Parliament passed security measures early Saturday that ease some restrictions placed upon the military by the country’s post-World War II pacifist constitution. But it has been a more contentious legislative battle than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe likely expected.
Pacifist opponents of the changes succeeded in turning public opinion against the measures, in part by organizing mass demonstrations across the country.
One recent poll showed 54 percent of respondents opposed the bills, while only 29 percent supported them. But a majority of lawmakers and large segments of the public still support changes that they say will improve the country’s security by making it responsible for shouldering more responsibility for its defenses. READ MORE OF THIS STORY ON VOA WEBSITE