Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) speaks during a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, July 1, 2014. The Japanese cabinet on Tuesday rubber-stamped a resolution that will allow the country to exercise collective self-defense right by reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution, despite strong criticism from the public and overseas. (Xinhua/Ma Ping)
TOKYO, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese cabinet on Tuesday rubber-stamped a resolution that will allow the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution, despite strong criticism from home and abroad.
The resolution, which is regarded as a major overhaul of Japan' s postwar security policy, sets three new conditions that would enable the exercise the right to collective self-defense including when there are "clear dangers" to the lives of its people and their rights due to armed attacks on Japan or "countries with close ties."
It, in substance, will enable Japan to take military action to defend other countries even though the nation itself is not under attack, marking a major overhaul from Japan's exclusively defense- oriented policy in the postwar era.
According to the cabinet decision, Japan would also speed up the dispatch of its Self-Defense Force to "gray zone" low intensity situations that stop short of military attacks, and examine extending logistical and other support in peacekeeping missions overseas.
After the cabinet approval, the government is expected to prepare the legal framework by revising and creating relevant laws to implement the policy change, said Japan's Kyodo News Agency.
The move has been strongly opposed by Japanese people. Polls conducted by major Japanese newspapers showed that more than half of Japanese opposed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt to lift the self imposed ban on collective self-defense.
According to a survey conducted through June 27 to 29 by Japan' s Nikkei News, 54 percent of respondents say no to reinterpretation of Japan's anti-war constitution, only 29 percent of the respondents support the move.
Another poll by Mainichi Shimbun showed that 58 percent of respondents were against the way Abe used to give green light to collective self-defense, while 38 percent voted for his efforts.
Just two days before the cabinet decision, a man set himself on fire in a busy Tokyo street to protest against Abe and his attempt to broaden Japan's military capabilities.
More and more people took to the streets to express their strong opposition. On Monday evening, an estimated 10,000 people gathered in front of Abe's official residence. They held banners which read "Tokyo against Fascism," "Absolutely oppose cabinet resolution," and "Step down, Abe," condemning the government's risky move which would drag Japan into war.
South Korea and China, two nations that suffered under Japanese wartime aggression, also expressed concerns after Japan's cabinet decision. South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "When it comes to Japan's security discussion, the Japanese government should dispel doubts and concerns stemming from history, abandon historical revisionism and behave properly in a bid to win confidence from its neighboring countries."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily routine news briefing "Japan must respect its neighbors' security concerns, not harm the national sovereignty and security interests of China and not undermine regional peace and stability."
For historical reasons, Japanese policy moves in military and security fields are closely watched by its Asian neighbors and the international community, Hong said.
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BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading his country down a dangerous path as his cabinet is poised to approve on Tuesday a so-called constitutional "reinterpretation" that essentially guts Japan's pacifist charter.
The imminent revision of the long-standing rendition of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese constitution will overturn the ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense and pave the way for Japanese forces to fight abroad in defense of "countries with close ties."Full Story
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TOKYO, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government on Tuesday is going to finish touches to a proposal likely to be accepted by the Cabinet, allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self- defense, in a historic move that has circumnavigated the nation's Constitution as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to leave his signature on the future annals of Japan's military history.
The move marks the most significant shift in Japan's post-war security policy and sees the realization of Abe's future legacy, as he has truculently, since returning to power, moved all the necessary pieces in his favor, including the final hurdle of getting his once reluctant New Komeito coalition ally on board with his militaristic ideology. Full story
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According to a latest survey conducted through June 27 to 29 by Japan's Nikkei News, half of Japanese oppose dropping the ban on exercising collective self-defense as the rights may drag Japan into war. Full story