Tags: Japan | military | Abe

Japan's Ruling Parties Agree to Allow Military to Defend Allies

Monday, 30 Jun 2014 11:23 PM

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party agreed with its coalition partner to expand the role of Japan’s military to include the defense of allies, lawmakers from both parties said.

The Cabinet was set to pass a resolution enshrining a reinterpretation of the pacifist constitution on July 1, and the government will submit bills to parliament in the autumn for it to take effect.

Thousands of opponents to the changes gathered outside Abe’s residence last night, some calling for his resignation and criticizing his Buddhist-backed junior coalition partner New Komeito for compromising.

Abe has sought since taking office in December 2012 to bolster Japan’s security stance amid a territorial dispute with an increasingly assertive China and concerns about the strength of the country’s alliance with the U.S. He increased the defense budget after 11 years of decline, passed an unpopular law toughening penalties for leaking state secrets, and loosened restrictions on defense exports.

“We have gained the approval of the ruling parties for the outline of the cabinet resolution,” Masahiko Komura, vice president of the LDP, told reporters after meeting today with representatives of New Komeito.

The cabinet resolution will permit the use of a minimum amount of force to defend another country under attack if that nation has close ties with Japan, according to a draft of the document distributed to reporters. That right may only be exercised if the attack poses a threat to Japan’s existence and if there is no other way of protecting Japanese people, according to the draft.

Collective self-defense is currently regarded as forbidden under the pacifist constitution imposed by the U.S. after Japan’s World War II defeat. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has backed Abe’s proposed change, while South Korea and China, two nations that suffered under Japanese wartime aggression, have expressed concerns.

“In a sense, this issue is the biggest difference between the LDP and Komeito,” New Komeito deputy leader Kazuo Kitagawa told reporters. “We have been able to put the brakes on quite strongly in this area and if we were not in the coalition I don’t think that would have happened.”

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party agreed with its coalition partner to expand the role of Japan’s military to include the defense of allies. The Cabinet was set to pass a resolution enshrining a reinterpretation of the pacifist constitution on July 1.
Japan, military, Abe
351
2014-23-30
Monday, 30 Jun 2014 11:23 PM
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