Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday urged the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party and its junior coalition party, the New Komeito party, to reach an agreement on a reinterpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense.
The two parties will begin full-scale discussions on Tuesday.
Abe told a Diet committee that the cabinet will endorse the decision if the two ruling parties can reach an agreement before the current Diet session ends on June 22, Fuji TV reported.
Abe has said that he wants the Self-Defense Forces to be able to help the United States or other allies under attack and has outlined eight scenarios where that would apply. These include defending U.S. vessels evacuating Japanese from war zones and protecting sea lanes vital to Japan's interests.
Any change would mark a dramatic turning point for Japan's military, which has not fired a shot in conflict since World War Two.
However, the New Komeito has long expressed reluctance to change the pacifist Constitution and is calling for more thorough debate.
Abe reiterated that the SDF will not be sent abroad for combat and that the Diet will be involved in any decision on deploying the SDF.© Japan Today