Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Realize Right to Collective Defense in Pursuit of 'Proactive Pacifism'

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Realize Right to Collective Defense in Pursuit of 'Proactive Pacifism'

Article excerpt

This country must make a more proactive contribution to peace and stability in Asia and the world.

A review of the government interpretation of the Constitution concerning the right to collective self-defense is a prerequisite to realizing the new ideal of "proactive pacifism" declared by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Delivering a speech Wednesday in New York on the subject of Japan's right to collective self-defense, Abe expressed his strong desire to change the Japanese government's interpretation of the Constitution, in which the government has adopted the view that this country has the right to collective self-defense but is banned from exercising it.

Abe cited two cases in which this constitutional constraint could pose problems. In one scenario, the Self-Defense Forces would not be able to help foreign troops working with the SDF in a U.N. peacekeeping operation even if the foreign troops came under attack. In the other, Japan would not be able to help a U.S. warship operating around Japan if the ship were attacked by an airplane in international waters.

The prime minister rightly pointed out in the speech that "threats see no borders" in the world today. Such menaces as ballistic missiles, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorist activities, as well as cyber-attacks, have undeniably been increasing.

In addition to enhancing its own defense capabilities, it is essential for this country to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance, while also expanding cooperation with other countries concerned.

To this end, the task of enabling this country to exercise its right to collective self-defense must urgently be addressed.

In the years immediately after World War II, it was somewhat worthwhile to interpret as strictly as possible the security-related stipulations of the Constitution, restricting the role of the SDF. Today, however, the nation must squarely face up to the reality that rigid interpretation of the supreme law is hobbling efforts to ensure the nation's security. …

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