Abe: Japan Must Be Allowed to Defend Allies

Japan's Prime Minister insists an attack-ready defense force is necessary for the country's future

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Junji Kurokawa / AP Photo

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his policy speech during a plenary session of parliament at the lower house in Tokyo, Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated Japan’s need to step away from its pacifist past, when opening the Japanese Parliament’s new session on Tuesday.

“We must act now in order to protect peace into the future,” he said.

The Japanese leader is seeking to broaden the military’s powers under the country’s war-renouncing constitution and has proposed that Japanese forces be permitted to fight when Tokyo’s allies are attacked — not merely when Japan is attacked.

As well as new security measures — which include the establishment of a security council and a defense command center plus an expanded role in peacekeeping operations — Abe hopes to pass a bill protecting state secrets. The latter has received criticism for infringing upon constitutional freedoms.

[Economic Times]