Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party – led by nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – is mulling on whether to postpone putting forward for parliamentary deliberations the issue on lifting Japan’s self-imposed ban to collective self-defense, as there might be a chance that this will cause division with its junior coalition partner, the New Komeito party, especially as local elections come into view next spring.
Lifting Japan’s post-war ban on collective self-defense has been foremost on Abe’s agenda, ever since he swept back into power in 2012. Abe has been pushing for putting forth his national security bills at the special Diet session this fall, but some in the party have advised to consider New Komeito’s position and the timing of the elections. The smaller party is known for their stance on advancing the cause of peace, a key point in New Komeito‘s identity. Many of the party’s members say that they cannot sign off on collective defense so casually. The LDP’s coalition partner has been vocal about their disagreement to some of the points and legal revisions that would confirm Japan’s right to come to the defense of an ally. “We cannot handle everything at once,” LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba told reporters Wednesday after meeting with his New Komeito counterpart. “The right to collective self-defense is not the only matter for which we need to work out the details,” Ishiba said.
While there may be delay in starting the deliberations in the Diet, most political observers say that it is inevitable that the process would move forward. Abe’s cabinet is even as of present laying groundwork on reinterpreting the nation’s pacifist post war constitution. The New Komeito may stand strong in its stance of not supporting the move, but Abe’s administration is clear in its determination to go ahead with the push, even covering collective self-defense in revisions to the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines that will be reviewed at the end of 2014.
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