Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he wants to discuss granting the Self-Defense Forces a mandate to evacuate Japanese nationals from crises overseas.

His comments came on the heels of filmed beheadings of two Japanese citizens by Islamic State extremists.

Abe has long argued the SDF should be given greater roles to defend the lives of Japanese overseas by removing strict legal restrictions on its operations. His efforts have raised concerns among liberal pacifists in Japan.