Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has voiced reluctance to compromise on the substance of constitutional amendments, emphasizing his commitment to the ambitious goal of altering the war-renouncing Article 9 and its perceived incompatibility with the Self-Defense Forces.

In an exclusive interview with The Japan Times on Friday, Abe also stressed that his avenue for dialogue with South Korea and China "remains always open" as he seeks to straighten out historical and territorial rows complicating Japan's ties with its neighbors.

With his attendance at the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics looming, Abe said he will convey firsthand to President Moon Jae-in that "many people in Japan find infuriating" the recent attempt by Seoul to revisit the 2015 landmark pact on "comfort women," who were forced to provide sex at Japanese military brothels before and during World War II.*