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An independent think tank led by former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone on Thursday unveiled its draft for revising the Constitution.

It is the latest move in an ongoing debate among political and economic circles regarding constitutional amendment.

The draft, issued by the Institute for International Policy Studies, redefined the Self-Defense Forces as the Defense Forces, and allowed them to use force when carrying out humanitarian aid and other activities to maintain international peace and security within the framework of the United Nations or international cooperation.

The government interprets the Constitution as prohibiting Japan from exercising its right to collective defense. According to Section 2 of Article 9, “. . . land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

The use of force would be subject to either advance or ex post facto approval by the Diet, the draft says. It left Section 1 of Article 9, which renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation, and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes, untouched.

Nakasone told a news conference that the think tank hammered out the draft in view of the Constitution’s Article 96, which stipulates that amendments be initiated by the Diet through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all members in both chambers.

“It would not be impossible to realize this constitutional amendment, considering there’s a chance (for political parties) to regroup and form a greater coalition,” he said.

The draft is designed to give the prime minister exclusive administrative authority. Although it would not allow voters to directly elect a prime minister, it would oblige political parties to specify a candidate for prime minister ahead of a general election.

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