Japan proposes revision of constitution

Tokyo, May 15 (IANS/EFE): Japan's government Thursday proposed revising the country's pacifist constitution to enable Japan extend military support to its allies in case they are attacked.

The proposal that was prepared by a panel of experts on the request of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the first step towards modifying the traditional interpretation of the Japanese constitution.

That document clearly prohibits the use of force in resolving international disputes.

With this modification, Japan seeks to "contribute more to global peace and stability", Abe said in a press conference.

Nonetheless, the prime minister wanted to "make it clear" that he seeks to preserve the pacifist character of the Japanese constitution although he advocated an "active pacifism".

The main objective is that Japan should be able to exercise the "right to collective self-defence" and intervene militarily in order to defend allied countries under attack, the report read.

Talking about the rising tension in the Pacific zone, the document pointed out, in particular, the missile and nuclear tests of North Korea and China's increasing number of maritime operations.

According to the current interpretation of the constitution, Japan cannot ensure its security nor contribute to global peace and stability, the report said.

Japan's constitution allows the use of force to defend the country's territory against a possible attack, a provision that, according to experts, should be extended to allow military aid to its allies.

With the new interpretation of the constitution, it would not be necessary to change the legal text, a sensitive issue as Abe's Liberal Democratic Party does not have the support of its coalition ally, the Buddhist New Komei Party (NPK), in this matter.

The report sets forth six conditions for the use of military force in other territories.

These include third countries "with a close relationship" with Japan expressly requesting Tokyo's help, and Japan's intervention should not significantly jeopardise national security.

In addition, the proposal mentions concrete examples of activities that Japan cannot carry out under the current text but that would be possible with the revision.

These consist of defending US ships that are attacked close to Japanese territory or intercepting missiles launched towards the US. 


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Title: Japan proposes revision of constitution

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