With the pressure to lift Japan’s self-declared ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense gaining momentum, there is a discussion among Japan’s ruling party of limiting the exercise of the right only within the country’s territory and on the high seas, government sources said. The limitation seems to be aimed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party – led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – at appeasing its coalition partner the New Komeito, which from the beginning has made its opposition to lifting the constitutional ban known.
In principle, the lifting of the ban would not mean that Japan would be sending its Self-Defense Forces to the land, sea and airspace of other countries, this according to the same sources. The small caveat is that the government does not plan to specify the areas and cases that equate to SDF activities of collective self-defense. This is as a precaution so that the country’s authorities can have flexibility in dealing with different situations that may arise. The sources say that the government will discuss these various situations only when the prime minister responds to questions in the Diet. It is still not clear if the New Komeito is set to agree with this plan, mainly because there are not enough safeguards, and the restrictions through the prime minister’s Diet responses may not be effective.
Prime Minister Abe has made it clear that he wants the current interpretation of the Constitution changed and be able to lift the ban before the current Diet session ends in June. This is planned to be done after Abe receives a report from the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security, a panel he created. There may be a chance that the submission of the report will be delayed until after the Golden Week holidays in early May, as some members of the ruling LDP and the New Komeito remain unconvinced and are calling for more time to discuss this probable drastic shift in Japan’s policy and Constitution.
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