• Kyodo

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A U.S. State Department official welcomed the move by a special Lower House committee to pass the bills aimed at expanding the role of the Self-Defense Forces overseas for closer cooperation with the U.S. military.

“We welcome Japan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the alliance and play a more active role in regional and international security activities,” Katina Adams, an official in the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau, said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc pushed the bills through the committee, overcoming resistance from the opposition camp, and planned to clear them in a plenary session of the Lower House on Thursday.

The bills would enable the SDF to help allies such as the United States in an emergency even when Japan is not directly attacked, in line with the policy of invoking the right to collective self-defense.

Many questions remain about the bills’ legality in light of the war-renouncing Constitution, and most media polls, including those by conservative newspapers, show that a majority of the public opposes them.

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