When you were a kid and your parents told you not to do something but you did it anyway, that’s just youthful stubbornness.
When friends tell you that you might be wrong and that you should reconsider your actions, and you ignore them, that’s just obtuse.
What about when Tens of Thousands of people tell you? Is that still stubbornness or something else entirely?
Well, that’s what’s happening in Japan right now.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past half year, you’ve probably heard about the increasing protests all over Japan. People in all prefectures are coming out of their timid lives and taking to the streets to voice their discontent with the current administration’s possible future aspirations.
This is an unprecented time in Japan’s History! Why am I saying that? Because if Japanese people are willing to protest en masse, that means the proverbial shit just hit the proverbial fan – big time!
This past week alone saw over 300,000 protestors lining up in front of the Parliament Building in Tokyo. There were similar protests all over Japan.
Why are so many people all of a suddent taking to the streets rather than taking selfies or food pictures? Well, maybe they’ve realised that changing one of the basic premises of the Japanese Constitution, which was pre-approved by congress in July; namely Article 9, is not Kawaii at all, and could have dire consequences for this country’s future.
It’s the possibility of going to War that has many people scared enough to leave their peaceful lives at home and take to the streets to voice their complaints loudly, rather than timidly swearing at the TV – and for Japanese, that’s saying a lot. You see, many people in Japan actually take pride in the fact that (now) Japan is one of the most peaceful nations on Earth. They want war or tension with anyone about as much as they want a Root-Canal with Barb Wire. They would rather try to mend fences with their Asian Neighbours than enter a possible War.
“If I don’t take action and try to put a stop on this, I will not be able to explain myself to my child in the future,” -Naoko Hiramatsu, an associate professor in French, who came to the protest with her four-year-old son.
People are very upset with the way the current Government brushes aside public opinion and worries, and continues its relentless March towards a a not quite so peaceful Japan. If passed, the bill would allow the Japanese military to take part in foreign operations, even if Japan is not directly threatened, for “the protection of the allying countries,” which it does not specify clearly, thus leaving the door wide open for interpretation. The vagueness of this bill (and its implications) is what has many people deeply worried.
What will become of the controversial change to the Constitution remains to be seen in the coming weeks. Will the Abe Administration listen to his people (and the Emperor), or try to brush this off as well? So far it has taken a couple of Self-immolations, alongside an opposition of more than 60% of Japanese citizens. Guess that didn’t quite get the point across yet?!?
Helping the cause of the people along, are a group of very brave University Students, who went on Hunger Strike in front of Parliament on August 23rd.
Only time will tell what happens from here. Two things are for sure though: We haven’t seen the last of the protests by a long shot, and the next few Weeks (and Months) will be a very interesting, exciting, and important time in Japan indeed.
What do you think about all this? Let us know in the comments below.