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DPJ exec backs LDP’s ‘limited’ collective defense plan

JIJI

A Democratic Party of Japan official told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the major opposition party should support the proposal on legalizing Japan’s “limited” use of the right to collective self-defense.

DPJ Deputy Secretary-General Akihisa Nagashima was referring to the proposal made late last month by Masahiko Komura, deputy head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Nagashima said it “is acceptable to many DPJ members.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to lift the self-imposed ban on collective self-defense by reinterpreting the Constitution. The government’s current interpretation is that Japan has the right under international law but cannot exercise it under war-renouncing Article 9 of the postwar Constitution.

Earlier in the day, Nagashima, a former vice defense minister, said lifting the ban is a pressing issue and that the ruling and opposition camps should unite on it.

Still, the DPJ is expected to face difficulties building a consensus as some members are opposed to even limited use of the right.

Also Wednesday, Nagashima and LDP lawmaker Katsuyuki Kawai, former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, met with Sen. John McCain.

The senator expressed his support for lifting the ban, saying the situation in East Asia has changed dramatically since Japan’s Constitution was established and that China’s recent expansionist moves are a major challenge in the region.