Protesters on Friday lambasted Japan's decision to acquire an enemy base strike capability in a major shift in defense policy, shouting slogans including calling the move "unconstitutional" while gathered outside the prime minister's office.
"Military power does not create peace" were among chants that rang out from the morning in Tokyo's Nagatacho district, as were those claiming the move goes against Article 9 of Japan's Constitution, which renounces war.
Documents outlining the policy changes also describe China as Japan's "greatest strategic challenge," drawing a backlash from its East Asian neighbor, which suffered from Japanese aggression before and during World War II.
"The limits of the arms race are disappearing and danger of war is growing," said 79-year-old Takehiko Tsukushi of Tokyo's Kita Ward. "The United States, China and other countries concerned should find ways to compromise."
The policy shift made by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also included pledges to double Japan's defense spending.
"Casual workers are suffering because they can't get jobs," said documentary writer Satoshi Kamata, 84, speaking to a crowd of around a hundred people gathered in the evening following the Cabinet's approval of the decision.
"The increase in defense spending is a rejection of postwar democracy and is absolutely unacceptable."