South Korean civic groups on Wednesday rallied in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to protest against Japan's reinterpretation of its pacifist constitution to allow itself to exercise the right to collective self-defense.
A South Korean civic group, which defends the comfort women, held a rally at noon, saying the reinterpretation of the 67-year- old constitution is tantamount to declaring a return to the militaristic Japan and damaging the spirit of the constitution's Article 9.
The civic group has held rally every Wednesday since January 1992 to urge Japan to apologize and atone for the comfort women, a euphemism of South Korean women forced into sex slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
Japan's cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, unveiled a resolution Tuesday to reinterpret the country's pacifist constitution. It was feared to enable Japan to actually wage war in case that there are so-called "clear dangers" detected in Japan or even "countries with close ties."
An alliance of South Korean activists, composed of about 120 civic groups, held a press conference in the same place earlier in the day, censuring the Abe cabinet and delivering a written protest to the Japanese Embassy.
Comments and statements, which denounced the Abe cabinet's decision, were announced by several civic groups.
The People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy group said in a commentary that the reinterpretation destroyed the least- remaining base for peace in Northeast Asia and would threaten regional peace and stability.
It will trigger arms race and deepen military tensions in the region, the civic group said, urging the South Korean government to play a more proactive role in preventing Japan from going on with its military buildup.