TOKYO: Tokyo on Friday was slapped with a lawsuit over its decision to expand the scope of Japan’s military, a divisive shift for the pacifist nation that sparked protests at home and drew sharp criticism from China. The legal action filed with the Tokyo District Court seeks to block a decision by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet last week to reinterpret rules which have long banned the use of armed force except in very narrowly-defined circumstances. Tokinao Chindo, 75, a former civil servant in western Mie prefecture, said the move violated Japan’s war-renouncing constitution, prompting his lawsuit, believed to be the first such action. “I hope other Japanese people will follow suit and file legal actions nationwide,” Chindo said. Following the change, Japanese troops would now be able to come to the aid of allies—primarily the United States—if they come under attack from a common enemy, even if Japan is not the object of the attack.