Abe considers lifting collective self-defense ban for more scenarios

January 18, 2013

By YU NOGAMI/ Staff Writer

BANGKOK--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to lift Japan’s self-imposed ban on the right to exercise collective self-defense for a wider array of scenarios than the four cases suggested by his advisory panel five years ago.

“I want to see another round of discussions on the matter, including whether the four categories are enough,” Abe told reporters here on Jan. 17.

During his first run as prime minister, Abe set up the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security in 2007 to consider the four cases: repelling attacks against the U.S. fleet on open seas; intercepting ballistic missiles fired toward the United States; guarding foreign troops engaged in international peacekeeping operations with Japan; and providing logistic support to other countries for peacekeeping operations.

The panel’s report, released in 2008 after Abe resigned, proposed that Japan should be allowed to exercise the right to collective self-defense in the first and second scenarios.

However, the government has stuck to its interpretation that Japan’s pacifist Constitution bans the exercise of such a right under all circumstances.

“The security climate has changed significantly (since five years ago),” Abe said.

He indicated he would start discussions at an early date after being briefed about the report ahead of his expected visit to the United States in February.

The prime minister was also asked about the signing of a joint document between his government and the Bank of Japan over monetary policy.

“The most important thing is having a clear inflation target of 2 percent written in the document,” Abe said.

He would not provide clues on who he would nominate as BOJ governor to succeed Masaaki Shirakawa, whose term ends in April.

“I will make efforts to win the understanding of different parties and parliamentary groups, and make a comprehensive judgment on the matter as the whole,” Abe said.

Appointments of the central bank governor require the approval of both chambers of the Diet.

By YU NOGAMI/ Staff Writer
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before their meeting in Bangkok on Jan. 17 (Pool)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before their meeting in Bangkok on Jan. 17 (Pool)

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  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before their meeting in Bangkok on Jan. 17 (Pool)

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