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Opponents of emergency bills hold rallies.

TOKYO, April 16 Kyodo

Opponents of three bills for emergency legislation for responding to a foreign military attack on Japan held rallies Tuesday near the Diet building in Tokyo.

About 600 people, including members of civic groups and labor unions, took part in one rally, denouncing the bills drafted by the government as being ''against the Constitution.''

One banner read, ''We are against emergency laws which could affect people's lives and safety.''

Toru Fujimaru, 52, a member of the All Japan Seamen's Union and a participant in the event, said, ''I have heard the death rate of seamen was higher than that of military personnel during World War II. We seamen have no choice but to go anywhere, no matter how dangerous.''

Ken Takada, 57, deputy head of the secretariat of a group opposing the legislation and amendment of the war-renouncing Constitution, has been protesting near the Diet building and in Tokyo's Ginza district since the last weekend.

''The bills are the first ones to clearly stipulate that fundamental human rights will be restricted in emergencies. This is against the Constitution,'' Takada said.

Separately from the rally, other opponents of the bills who got to know each other through the Internet gathered in front of the headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party near the Diet building.

After reading out a statement demanding an explanation of why such bills are necessary, they marched along the road to the Diet beating African drums.

Tomoko Kana, 31, a member of the group, said, ''Many people do not know about the bills, though they are very important. I want (the government) to handle other issues, such as pensions.''
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Apr 22, 2002
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