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When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe loosened the limits of the pacifist Constitution to drop a ban on the Self-Defense Forces fighting overseas, many experts said it was a step toward becoming a “normal country” able to do more in its own defense.

But Ichiro Ozawa, a one-time kingmaker who coined the phrase two decades ago, says Abe’s policy is fundamentally different and risks leading Japan down a path with dangerous echoes of prewar militarism.

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