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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has highlighted North Korea’s security threat as a “national crisis” in the campaign for Sunday’s general election and asked for voters’ fresh mandate for his administration to deal with the threat on a solid footing. Voters should carefully assess the administration’s foreign and defense policies, including its emphasis on pressure to get Pyongyang to give up its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons programs and its full support of U.S. President Donald Trump’s position that all options — including military — are on the table in dealing with the repeated provocations by the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un.

Citing rapid changes in the nation’s security environment, chiefly the growing threat from North Korea and China’s assertive maritime postures, the Abe administration changed the government’s long-standing interpretation of the war-renouncing Constitution and had the security legislation enacted two years ago, lifting the self-imposed ban on Japan engaging in collective self-defense operation with its allies under certain conditions and significantly expanding the scope of Self-Defense Forces’ overseas missions. The legislation paved the way for closer defense cooperation between Japan and the United States. Voters should think whether the legislation has indeed improved Japan’s national security and enhanced its deterrence, including against the threat posed by North Korea.

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