Japan set for landmark easing of constitutional limits on military

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is poised for a historic shift in its defense policy by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since World War Two, a major step away from post-war pacifism and a big political victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The change will significantly widen Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising “collective self-defense”, or aiding a friendly country under attack. It will also relax limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war, according to a draft government proposal made available to reporters. Continue reading

Japan eyes defending allies under attack

TOKYO – A government panel on security issues will propose that Japan defend not only the United States but also other allied nations under attack by exercising its right of collective self-defense, the panel’s acting chairman said Tuesday.

Shinichi Kitaoka, who also serves as president of the International University of Japan, said in an interview with Kyodo News the panel will state in its report that Japan can exercise the right when “countries with close ties (with it)” are under attack and it is deemed to do harm to Japan.

Kitaoka indicated the panel will not specify which country to defend in the upcoming report as withholding such details would be helpful in maintaining deterrence. Continue reading