Japan cabinet approves landmark military change
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Japan’s cabinet has approved a landmark change in security policy, paving the way for its military to fight overseas.
Under its constitution, Japan is barred from using force to resolve conflicts except in cases of self-defence.
But a reinterpretation of the law will now allow “collective self-defence” – using force to defend allies under attack.
PM Shinzo Abe has been pushing hard for the move, arguing Japan needs to adapt to a changing security environment.
“No matter what the circumstances, I will protect Japanese people’s lives and peaceful existence,” he told journalists after the change was approved.
The decision must be passed by parliament, which the ruling bloc controls. But by reinterpreting rather than revising the constitution, Mr Abe avoids the need for a public referendum.
The US – with whom Japan has a decades-old security alliance – will welcome the move, but it will anger China, with whom Japan’s ties are already very strained.