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[TOKYO] Legislation for a dramatic change in Japan's defence policy that loosens constraints on the military was approved by parliament's lower house on Thursday, despite huge popular protests and a dent in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ratings.
Mr Abe says a bolder security stance, welcomed by ally Washington, is essential to meeting new challenges, such as those from a rising China.
Opponents say the revisions could entangle Japan in US-led conflicts around the globe and violate pacifist Article Nine of the US-drafted, post-war constitution.