New national security laws that went into force this week will allow Toyko to send troops abroad more easily, reinforcing Japan’s international military presence. The measures come six months after their parliamentary approval, which came amid protests and controversy in September.
The new legislation will allow the Japanese government to send troops abroad in case of clear threat to Japan’s national security and protection of the right to collective self-defense enshrined in the United Nations. The Japanese military will also have more freedom of action in case of firefights with enemy forces directly involving Japanese citizens or troops from allied countries.
This is the most important strategic change in the attitude of Japan since the end of World War II, when the country renounced the use of war. The shift is also an important political victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who since 2012 has sought to revive the country’s stature in international politics.