A full-scale battle has broken out between lawmakers and constitutional scholars over security reform, revealing an unbridgeable gap between the worlds of politics and academia.

The debate has already dealt an unexpected and humiliating blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. As of Friday, 225 constitutional scholars had signed a joint statement condemning his reinterpretation of the war-renouncing Constitution as unconstitutional, and urging the government to withdraw any security bills from the Diet that are based on it.

The right of collective self-defense, as defined under the United Nations charter, allows a country to use force to come to the aid of an ally under attack, even if the country itself is not being attacked.