The administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a major new interpretation of the security provisions of the country’s 1947 constitution, permitting its Self Defence Forces (SDF) to participate for the first time in collective self-defence related activities.
In future, the SDF will, in principle, be able to assist the forces of a foreign country in situations where either the survival and security of Japan or that of its citizens is at risk.
The new interpretation is highly controversial since it represents a sharp departure from the post-war political consensus, codified in Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, that explicitly limits Japan’s use of military force exclusively to the defence of its sovereign territory and its people.
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