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Komatsu posting sets stage for reinterpretation

Kyodo

Ambassador to France Ichiro Komatsu was appointed Thursday as the new head of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, paving the way for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to challenge the government’s current interpretation of the war-renouncing Constitution.

Komatsu, 62, is in favor of revising the government’s current interpretation that Japan has the right to collective defense but cannot exercise it because of the limits imposed by the Constitution.

The bureau, which examines legislative bills and offers legal advice to Cabinet members, has for years maintained the interpretation and customarily picked its head from within its ranks.

But with the rare appointment of a Foreign Ministry official as new director general of the bureau, Abe appears determined to accelerate the work aimed at enabling Japan to exercise the right to come to the defense of an ally under armed attack.

Noting that Komatsu has “abundant knowledge and experience” in the field of international law, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that the Cabinet has found him to be the “right person” for the bureau chief.