World

Japan's ruling bloc to vote on security bills as opponents make last-ditch protest

  • Protesters lie down arm in arm together as a police officer tries to clear them in front of the venue hotel for a public hearing on the security legislation in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Opposition lawmakers and thousands of demonstrators were making last-ditch protests in a political showdown Wednesday as Japan's ruling party started a final push to pass security legislation to expand the role of the country's military. (Yohei Fukai/Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Protesters lie down arm in arm together as a police officer tries to clear them in front of the venue hotel for a public hearing on the security legislation in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Opposition lawmakers and thousands of demonstrators were making last-ditch protests in a political showdown Wednesday as Japan's ruling party started a final push to pass security legislation to expand the role of the country's military. (Yohei Fukai/Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters lie down arm in arm together as police officers try to clear them in front of the venue hotel for a public hearing on the security legislation in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Opposition lawmakers and thousands of demonstrators were making last-ditch protests in a political showdown Wednesday as Japan's ruling party started a final push to pass security legislation to expand the role of the country's military. (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Protesters lie down arm in arm together as police officers try to clear them in front of the venue hotel for a public hearing on the security legislation in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Opposition lawmakers and thousands of demonstrators were making last-ditch protests in a political showdown Wednesday as Japan's ruling party started a final push to pass security legislation to expand the role of the country's military. (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 15, 2015 photo, Aki Okuda, a leader of the student group known as SEALDs, or Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracies, speaks during a hearing at the committee on the security legislation in the parliament's upper house in Tokyo. Opposition lawmakers and thousands of demonstrators were making last-ditch protests in a political showdown Wednesday as Japan's ruling party started a final push to pass security legislation to expand the role of the country's military.   (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    In this Sept. 15, 2015 photo, Aki Okuda, a leader of the student group known as SEALDs, or Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracies, speaks during a hearing at the committee on the security legislation in the parliament's upper house in Tokyo. Opposition lawmakers and thousands of demonstrators were making last-ditch protests in a political showdown Wednesday as Japan's ruling party started a final push to pass security legislation to expand the role of the country's military. (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

Japan's ruling bloc is set to vote in an upper house committee on security bills aimed at expanding the country's military role, as thousands of protesters gather outside the parliament.

The bills would allow Japan's military to defend its allies even when Japan isn't under attack, and to do more in international peacekeeping.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan needs the bills to bolster its defense amid China's growing assertiveness and to share the global peacekeeping effort. Opponents say the legislation violates Japan's war-renouncing constitution, while putting Japan at risk of being embroiled in U.S.-led wars.

Opposition lawmakers on Wednesday are talking of preventing others from entering the committee chamber and proposing a non-confidence vote against Abe's Cabinet, as protesters are gathering outside the parliament building.