Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 18th 2015 Contents A35
Friday, September 18, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A controversial bill to expand
the role of Japan s armed forces
has cleared another hurdle in par-
liament, but sparked scuffles
Opposition MPs physically tried
to stop the vote in a legislative
committee by jostling around the
chairman and trying to snatch his
paperwork and microphone.
The committee s vote clears the
way for the bill to go to the upper
house of parliament for final
The opposition says it will con-
tinue to try to delay the vote.
The bill would allow Japan to
defend its allies overseas even when
it is not under attack.
The bill is not widely supported
by the country at large. Thousands
of protesters rallied outside the
parliament in Tokyo as the com-
mittee debate was under way.
Opposition lawmakers tried to
physically prevent the debate from
In rare heated scenes, jostling
members of the upper house sur-
rounded the chairman of the secu-
rity committee, Yoshitada Konoike,
as he opened the debate on
Wednesday and again yesterday
morning as the vote was taking
The opposition had also tabled
a no-confidence vote against
Wednesday night s session was
abandoned in the early hours of
yesterday after opposition law-
makers blocked entry to a room
where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
and other ministers were waiting
to discuss the bill.
The bill has already been
approved by the government-
dominated lower house.
It is expected to be passed in
the upper house because the ruling
coalition has a majority there---
this was why opponents were keen
to prevent the committee from
approving the legislation.
It is thought Abe s government
wants to pass the bills before the
country goes into a five-day hol-
iday on Saturday, which could pro-
vide an opportunity for even bigger
Despite his majorities in both
houses, the controversial bills, and
Mr Abe s determination to push
them through despite vocal oppo-
sition, appear to have damaged his
A Saudi diplomat accused of raping
two Nepali women hired to work as
domestic help has left India under
diplomatic immunity, the foreign
The women, aged 30 and 50, said
they were starved and sexually abused
by him and other Saudi nationals.
Saudi Arabia denies all the charges
and refused to revoke diplomatic
immunity for the official, making it
impossible for him to be tried in India.
Analysts say his departure resolves
a diplomatic dilemma for India.
Nepal and India have close diplo-
matic relations, but India is also eager
to avoid tensions with Saudi Arabia
where millions of Indians live and
On Wednesday night, foreign min-
istry spokesman Vikas Swarup issued
a statement saying First Secretary
Majed Hassan Ashoor "who is allegedly
accused of abusing two Nepali maids
has left India." He added that the offi-
cial was protected under the Vienna
convention on diplomatic relations.
Police in India had earlier registered
a case of rape, sodomy and illegal con-
finement against the official, without
The women were rescued from an
apartment in the Gurgaon suburb of
Delhi last week after a tip-off from an
NGO. They are alleged to have been
abused over a period of several months.
"We thought we would die there,"
one of the women told the AFP news
agency, adding that they were abused
They said the apartment was in a
high-rise and there was no way they
could run away.
The two women returned to Nepal
Thousands of men and women from
Nepal, one of the world s poorest coun-
tries, travel to India and other Asian
and Arab states every year to seek work
as domestic helpers and labourers.
The Saudi embassy refused to let
the diplomat be questioned and Saudi
media complained about "police intru-
sion" in his property. (BBC) Scuffles as Japan security
bill approved by committee
Saudi diplomat accused
of rape leaves India
Opposition lawmakers surge toward the chairman's seat to protest as ruling party colleagues rush in to try to
protect him during a committee voting of security bills at the upper house of the parliament in Tokyo,
yesterday. Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party pushed contentious security bills through a legislative
committee, catching the opposition by surprise and causing chaos in the chamber. AP PHOTO
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