Over half of the population opposes legalizing the use of collective self-defense as sought by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and only 37 percent support it, an opinion poll of 2,000 adults said Friday.
Abe has been pushing to lift the self-imposed ban on collective self-defense, which would allow Japan to come to the help of allies under armed attack.
On Thursday, an advisory panel to Abe issued a report urging the government to lift the ban by changing its interpretation of the war-renouncing Constitution, rather than by revising the code itself, a move that would require two-thirds support from both houses of the Diet and a majority support in a national referendum.
Of the supporters, just over half said they would accept reinterpretation of the Constitution to lift the ban, while about 45 percent said they believed it would require an amendment to the Constitution.
Of the respondents who said they support the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, almost 59 percent backed Abe’s drive to lift the ban, while almost one- third opposed it, the poll said.
But among respondents who support New Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, more than 54 percent said they were against using collective self-defense, while just under one-third said they would support it. A party with a pacifist bent, New Komeito is against lifting the ban.
About 60 percent of the respondents were non-affiliated voters, almost 30 percent of whom said they support the move and more than 55 percent said they opposed it.