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Opposition DPJ lawmaker says he will back collective self-defense bills

JIJI

A lawmaker from the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan indicated Tuesday that he would support a package of bills authorizing the nation’s use of the right to collective self-defense.

In a speech in Washington, DPJ lawmaker Akihisa Nagashima, a former parliamentary senior vice defense minister, said that the decision by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to reinterpret the Constitution to allow the right to collective self-defense should obtain support that crosses party lines.

Nagashima said that he will cooperate with the ruling bloc, if necessary, in order to create a legal framework for the nation’s use of collective self-defense.

His remarks revealed a division within the DPJ over the issue. Nagashima is one of several conservative DPJ lawmakers who, along with former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, have backed the use of collective self-defense.

Earlier this month, Abe’s Cabinet authorized a reinterpretation of the Constitution, lifting a self-imposed ban on the exercise of collective self-defense. The government plans to submit the necessary bills as a package to next year’s ordinary parliamentary session.

In his speech, Nagashima also said that approving the use of collective self-defense has been a long-pending issue, adding that there is no room for partisanship when it comes to foreign policy and national security issues.