The first unilaterally installed leader of the government’s legal team has been hospitalized, fueling speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s quest to reinterpret the Constitution for military reasons might be delayed.
Ichiro Komatsu, head of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, is expected to be treated for about a month, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Friday.
Abe put Komatsu in charge of the influential bureau in August. It is responsible for vetting all state-sponsored legislation.
Komatsu is believed to back Abe’s quest to alter the pacifist Constitution so Japan can exercise the right to collective self-defense, or aiding an ally under military attack. This would require the state to change its interpretation of the Constitution, and the bureau’s opinions will be critical to achieving that.