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Half of Japanese voters oppose Abe's security shift

Published on Jun 30, 2014 9:47 AM
Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) soldiers land on Eniyabanare Island during a military drill, off Setouchi town on the southern Japanese island of Amami Oshima, Kagoshima prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo May 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Half of Japanese voters oppose dropping a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since World War Two, a survey showed on Monday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe readied a landmark shift in security policy that would ease the constraints of the pacifist constitution on the armed forces.

Fifty per cent of Japanese voters oppose dropping the ban compared to 34 per cent who support the change, a survey by the Nikkei business daily showed. The rest were undecided.

Fifty-four per cent of respondents to the June 27-29 survey were against making the change by reinterpreting the pacifist charter rather than going through politically more difficult formal amendment procedures, the Nikkei said.

A man set himself on fire at a busy Tokyo intersection on Sunday in an apparent protest against the policy change, police and witnesses said, a rare form of protest in Japan.

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