WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has commended Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for approving the new policy on the use of collective self-defense rights.
In a letter to Abe dated Tuesday, four members of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. including Chairman Robert Menendez. commend Abe’s efforts to “revitalize Japan’s security, diplomacy and economy, specifically on the issue of collective self-defense.”
The letter, signed by two Democrats and two Republicans, including ranking member Bob Corker, said: “In the context of an increasingly complicated security environment in the Asia-Pacific, the U.S.-Japan alliance has never been more important.
“We believe that greater flexibly for Japan will have immense benefits for our alliance.”
The congressmen encouraged improvement in Japan’s relations with South Korea in an apparent reference to the long-standing differences over the interpretation of the history of Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
The senators said they hope and believe Tokyo and Seoul “can take steps to put the past behind them and to focus more fully and cooperatively on the many significant common challenges of the present faced by both countries and by the region.”
The loosening of Japan’s restrictions on the right to help allies, even when Japan does not come under direct attack, has been condemned by China and South Korea, both of which suffered under Japanese militarism before and during World War II.