BEIJING, July 16 (Xinhua) -- A nightmare scenario has come a step closer for Japanese people and neighboring nations, after the passage of security bills that will expand the role of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) at the lower house of the country's parliament on Thursday.
Though they still need to be debated at the upper house, the bills will very probably be enacted because the ruling bloc dominates both houses.
The reason the controversial bills have been generating domestic protests and concerns abroad, including in China and the Republic of Korea, is that once adopted, the legislation will allow the SDF to engage in armed conflict overseas, even if Japan is not under attack.
The lower house's approval on Thursday, which marks the most dramatic change in Japan's military orientation since the end of the WWII, will tarnish the reputation of a nation that has earned international respect for its pacifist Constitution over a period of nearly seven decades.
Japanese academics and members of the public are well aware of this. More than 20,000 people gathered in downtown Tokyo on Tuesday to voice opposition to the bills before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc rammed the bills through a committee of the lower house on Wednesday.
A poll by one of Japan's major newspapers showed about 56 percent of the Japanese population oppose the bills, while only 26 percent support them. Another Japanese newspaper survey revealed more than 90 percent of the academics of the constitution believe the bills are "unconstitutional".
Those who oppose the bills in Japan are worried that they or their offspring could be taken into wars launched by the government, as happened to their ancestors in WWII.
For countries that fell victim to Japan's aggression, the chills sent by the bills are even more acute.
Take China. During its defense against Japanese invasion, China suffered 35 million military and civilian casualties, accounting for a third of all countries casualties during WWII.
As China and other victims at Japan's hands are in the run-up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War, the Japanese government should not only reflect on the country's past aggression but also respect its neighbors' concerns over its current security policy.
Only by sending positive signals that it is on the path of peaceful development can Japan find itself secure. Forcing through bills that threaten long-term stability is definitely not a step in that direction.