Japanese Lawmakers Pass Controversial Security Bills

… and things get ugly.

How ugly?

This ugly:

Crowd-surfing in anger.

Japan’s ruling party pushed contentious security bills through a legislative committee Thursday, catching the opposition by surprise and causing chaos in the chamber.

Opposition lawmakers surged toward the chairman’s seat as they realized something was up after ruling party legislators had gathered at the podium to protect him.

As the scrum intensified, ruling party lawmakers still in their seats stood up to signal their support for the legislation, though there didn’t appear to be an audible announcement of what they were voting on.

The legislative standoff is the latest development in a years long national debate about the way Japan uses its military, a central question for the country since its armed forces were defeated in World War II seven decades ago. The bills would ease restrictions on what the military can do, a highly sensitive issue in a country where many take pride in the postwar pacifist constitution.

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