The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition ally, New Komeito, sparred over the issue of whether Japan had the right to engage in collective self-defense under the Constitution during a TV program Sunday.
“It is theoretically possible for Japan to exercise its collective self-defense rights under the country’s current Constitution,” LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba said.
“The Diet has responsibility for reaching a conclusion on the matter through debates,” he said, emphasizing the party’s resolve to enact its bill for a basic national security law that would allow Japan to come to the aid of an ally under attack.
New Komeito Secretary-General Yoshihisa Inoue disagreed.
“Japan has not been allowed to exercise the collective self-defense rights under the government’s consistent interpretation of the Constitution.
“We are not in the situation to change this immediately,” he said.
Inoue said that his party was willing to discuss the issue with its coalition ally.
Among other party executives, Goshi Hosono, secretary-general of the major opposition force, the Democratic Party of Japan, signaled that the DPJ might be open to tolerating the limited use of that right.
“Realistically, we should do what needs to be done,” Hosono said.
Kenji Eda, secretary-general of Your Party, said that discussions should be made on specific cases when necessary.
Toru Hashimoto, the outspoken coleader of Nippon Ishin No Kai (Japan Restoration Party), said that he doubts the nation’s the current constitutional setup, where the Cabinet Legislation Bureau leads any work in setting the government’s official interpretations of the supreme code.
“It is important to clarify Japan’s defense rights in the Constitution,” he said.
Japanese Communist Party senior official Tadayoshi Ichida and Social Democratic Party Secretary-General Seiji Mataichi said they were opposed to Japan engaging in collective self-defense.