Japan to push ahead with military reforms

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The Japanese government says it will push ahead with plans to ease restrictions on its military, which have kept it from fighting abroad since World War II.

Yoshihide Suga, a Japanese government spokesman, said on Monday that Tokyo would go ahead to change the interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution.

“We are in the final stage of the coordination between the ruling parties. Once the consensus is made between the ruling parties, we will have it approved by the cabinet tomorrow,” Suga said.

Under the constitution’s Article 9, Japan’s military is banned from taking any military action except when the country is under attack. But the new plan will increase the country’s military options and allow its armed forces to fight on behalf of Tokyo’s allies.

The move, however, was not welcomed in the country, with a recent poll showing that 58 percent of respondents are against a more aggressive military stance.

Suga, however, defended the plan and said the government “should protect people’s lives and property as well as the country’s safety… and if there is a defect in the current legal framework, we will address it.”

On Sunday, a middle-aged protester set himself ablaze on top of a footbridge at a busy intersection in Tokyo after making a speech to express his opposition to Tokyo’s plan to let the military fight on behalf of allies.

Japan’s Constitution was written and imposed upon the Japanese by the American Army following World War II.

 

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