Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he is willing to listen to all the different sides when it comes to the issue of lifting the constitutional ban on collective self-defense. He also emphasized that Japan should start considering where it will stand when it comes to “global affairs in the 21st century.”
He said these statements during a meeting at the Defense Ministry with senior officials and Self-Defense Forces personnel. The ongoing security issues with China, who has been flexing its military might over the past months, and North Korea, with the constant threat of a nuclear attack, has prompted the current administration to reconsider the self-imposed ban on using force to settle international disputes. Abe has revived a government panel that is looking into enabling Japan to exercise the right to a collective self-defense, or to come to the aid of an ally that is under attack. The current wording in the Pacifist Constitution does not allow that right, since it would require Japan to use more than the minimum amount of force.
Abe’s government is seeking to pass a bill that will establish a version of the United States‘ National Security Council that will draw up a national security strategy as a basis for Japan’s security policy. “We will define national interests from a long-term perspective, and will formulate a national security strategy to ensure national safety,” Abe said. He emphasized that Japan will be cooperating with countries that “share the same values” in terms of the rule of law and the freedom of the seas, in what was seen as an underhanded reference to China and its various territorial disputes with Asian neighbours, including Japan.
[ via Kyodo News ]
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