"Should a contingency break out in a neighboring country, putting the lives of Japanese citizens trying to evacuate at risk, would it be right for the government not to do anything to help them?" asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a press conference in Brussels on June 5. He emphatically added, "As the prime minister, I have the responsibility to protect the lives and peaceful existence of our nationals."
The rhetoric was the same as the one he used at a previous press conference on May 15 to gain public support for his bid to revise the long-standing official interpretation of the Constitution so that Japan would be able to exercise the right to collective self-defense.
At the May 15 press conference, Abe exhibited a large panel depicting a Japanese Self-Defense Force ship protecting an American naval transport vessel that is carrying Japanese citizens near Japan's coast. He pointed out that under the traditional interpretation of the Constitution, "The SDF is not permitted to come to the aid of this American vessel."