• Kyodo

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The government panel on security issues will propose that Japan help defend not only the United States but also other allied nations by exercising the right of collective self-defense, the panel’s acting chairman said Tuesday.

Shinichi Kitaoka, president of the International University of Japan, said in an interview that the panel will state in a forthcoming report that Japan can exercise the right when “countries with close ties (with it)” are under attack and it is deemed Japan could also come to harm.

Collective self-defense is the concept of a nation coming to the aid of another that is under attack.

Kitaoka indicated the panel will not specify which countries to defend as withholding such details would be helpful in maintaining deterrence.

“There needs to be some degree of vagueness when we talk about security,” Kitaoka said.

Some experts say Japan should extend its potential use of collective self-defense to such countries as Australia, the Philippines and India.

The panel, re-established by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is scheduled to meet Sept. 12 before compiling its conclusions by the end of the year that Japan should terminate its self-imposed ban on collective-self defense.

Kitaoka also suggested Japan can come to the aid of countries defending sea lanes to ensure oil transport from the Middle East, describing them as “lifelines.”

Japan has been particularly concerned about China’s assertiveness in the East China Sea over the Senkaku Islands. North Korea’s nuclear and missile development is also a concern.

Under the government’s current interpretation of the pacifist Constitution, Japan does not permit itself to exercise the right because doing so would go beyond self-defense.

In a 2008 report, a similar panel limited the use of collective-self defense to coming to the aid of the United States, saying Japan should be able to defend U.S. naval vessels attacked on the high seas, or intercept ballistic missiles targeting U.S. soil.

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