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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 October 1 - 7  > Aso instructs senior LDP officials to expedite discussion on right of collective self-defense
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2008 October 1 - 7 [US FORCES]

Aso instructs senior LDP officials to expedite discussion on right of collective self-defense

October 1, 2008
Prime Minister Aso Taro urged the ruling Liberal Democratic Party officials in charge of promoting constitutional revision to expedite discussions in the Diet on paving the way for Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense.

He met with Nakayama Taro, LDP Constitution Research Committee chair, on September 30 and said, “I want you to get the Constitution Research Councils in both chambers of the Diet moving to launch a discussion by all parties, governing as well as opposition, in the interest of the people.”

Asked by reporters on the same day about Aso’s intention to change the official interpretation of the Constitution regarding Japan’s use of the right of collective self-defense, Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi said, “The security environment has changed. We need to be prepared for action in the event of attacks made against foreign military forces operating in the same peace-keeping operations abroad or against U.S. forces in the waters near Japan.”

On September 25, at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Aso said to reporters, “I have stated many times that we should change the government’s constitutional interpretation of the right to collective self-defense.”

The government’s stated interpretation has been that the Constitution prohibits Japan from exercising the right of collective self-defense.

The Constitutional Research Council came into being in conformity with a law that was enacted in May 2007 to establish procedures for revising the Constitution. It was established in both Houses. It has the right to examine proposed amendments to the Constitution.

However, since the crushing defeat of the government led by then Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in the House of Councilors election in July 2007, the Council has been unable to function because the Diet has still to approve the number of Council members and other details, including the rules of work due to resistance put up by the opposition parties.

Aso’s recent remark reveals his intention to change the stated government interpretation of the right of collective self-defense and to get discussion on constitutional revision started at the Constitution Research Council.
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