The Abe administration is set to proceed with its plan to compile a draft as early as April of a new interpretation of the Constitution that would allow for the right to collective self-defense, despite major concerns raised by New Komeito, its coalition partner.
The draft will be presented to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito for further discussions on the extent to which the right to collective self-defense can be exercised.
Sources said once approval from the coalition is obtained, the administration plans to have the Abe Cabinet approve the change during the Diet session scheduled to be convened on Jan. 24, or to have Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announce the change during Diet deliberations.
Work to amend laws to allow the right to collective self-defense would begin from the extraordinary Diet session that could be convened in autumn.
"While discussions will have to be held with New Komeito, there would be a feeling of fleeing from battle if the change in interpretation was made after the Diet session was over," Yosuke Isozaki, special adviser to Abe in charge of national security, said during a TV appearance on Jan. 12. "We want to make the decision during the Diet session."
The legislative session is expected to run until at least June 22.
An advisory panel to Abe is continuing with discussions on approving a change in constitutional interpretation to allow for the exercise of the right of collective self-defense. The panel is expected to soon compile a report that would allow for such a change.
"After determining the extent of differences between the report and what the government is seeking, we will compile a government draft and coordinate with the LDP and New Komeito," a high-ranking government official said.
The Abe administration will likely move quickly in compiling its draft after receiving the panel's report in April. A key for changing the interpretation will be obtaining the consent of New Komeito.
Yoshihisa Inoue, New Komeito secretary-general, appeared irritated at the apparent speed at which the Abe administration is seeking the change.
"We have not thought about making a decision based on a set schedule," Inoue said in response to questions from The Asahi Shimbun on Jan. 12.
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