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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to continue to press for Cabinet approval of a “reinterpretation” of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan. His goal is to relax the constitutional prohibition on Japan’s use of force for purposes of engaging in collective self-defense actions and participating in United Nations collective security operations. There may be good reasons for Japan to consider relaxing the constraints of Article 9, but this so-called reinterpretation is entirely illegitimate and poses dangers to Japan’s democracy.

To be clear on what this so-called re-interpretation means, the prime minister is seeking to circumvent the constitutional amendment procedure mandated by the Constitution itself, and to dictate a radical change to the meaning of fundamental principles in the Constitution by way of Cabinet fiat, with no Diet debate or vote, and no public approval.

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