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SDF could join U.N. forces, Ishiba says

Kyodo

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba said Saturday that Japan could engage in U.N.-led collective security operations in the future if there is enough public support, despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier ruling out such a move.

“If public awareness changes in several years, the fact that Japan alone does not participate in U.N. forces or multilateral forces may change,” Ishiba said on a Yomiuri Telecasting Corp. program.

On Thursday, Abe told a news conference the Self-Defense Forces would not engage in such operations because it wouldn’t be “logically consistent” with his government’s interpretation of the pacifist Constitution. “Japan will not use force to join wars like those in the (Persian) Gulf and Iraq. It will never happen,” Abe assured Thursday.

Ishiba said that although the Abe government will not pursue U.N.-led operations, it is possible a future government might.