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I expect that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will use the murders of two Japanese hostages by Islamic State terrorists as a trigger to accelerate departure from what he calls Japan’s “postwar regime” — an agenda he has pushed for the past several years. Right after the Islamic State incident, he said “Japan has changed. From now on, I won’t let (terrorists) lay a finger on the Japanese.”

Before Abe began pushing his agenda, Japan was a country that, under the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9, prohibited the use of force overseas except as a means of self-defense. It was a country that sought negotiated solutions to terrorist incidents targeting Japanese citizens, based on the idea that human lives outweigh the Earth.

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