Over 40,000 people rally to stop wartime legislation

With tension increasing in the Diet over the three contingency bills, over 40,000 people took part in a May 24 "Rally to Stop Contingency Legislation" in Tokyo.

Ground, sea and air transport workers unions organized the rally, but participants were not limited to workers but included citizens who leanred of the rally on the union website.

A high-school student in a white shirt with the slogan "No wartime legislation" said that he came to the rally after school to show the government that many people are against the bills and want to express their opposition.

The meeting began with a gong that a seaman rang. Dietmembers of opposition parties including the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party of Japan, plus an independent member, spoke on the situation in parliament.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo said that the ruling parties unilaterally set dates for public hearings on the three bills as a requirement for voting, but that they had to postpone the schedule due to the objection by the opposition parties.

Referring to ways to develop the people's struggle as the key to such a make-or-break situation, Shii called for a greater national struggle to stop the legislation.

A message from film actress Yoshinaga Sayuri was read out. Representatives of trade unions, youth organizations, and religious circles stated their viewpoints in blocking the bills from being made into law.

The rally adopted a declaration calling for the bills to be scrapped. The declaration opens with quoting the preamble of the Japanese Constitution: "Never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government."

After the rally, participants walked in demonstrations on three routes. (end)