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Japan's ruling coalition set to agree on defense

Japan's ruling coalition parties are moving toward agreement on changes in the interpretation of the Constitution to allow the nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

After the 9th consultative meeting on the issue on Tuesday with the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party, junior coalition partner New Komeito is set to accept the LDP revised proposal. The New Komeito says the proposal is acceptable as it limits exercise of the right.

At Tuesday's meeting, LDP Vice President Masahiko Koumura proposed amendments to the wording of conditions that would allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense in a limited manner under the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

The revised LDP draft says Japan can exercise the right if a foreign country with which Japan has close ties comes under attack, and there is clear danger that could overturn the nation's existence and the rights of its citizens. It says Japan's use of force would be limited to measures for self-defense.

The draft adds that the use of force could be justified under international law as collective self-defense. But it says under the Constitution, it would only be allowed to take the measures as unavoidable choice to ensure Japan's existence.

The New Komeito leadership says the use of force defined in the new LDP draft lies within the scope of self-defense permitted under Article 9 of the Constitution.

The New Komeito will continue intra-party discussions, as some party members still insist that deliberation of the issue is insufficient to gain public support.

The coalition parties will meet again on the matter on Friday.

The government and the Liberal Democrats aim to seek Cabinet approval on the reinterpretation of the Constitution next Tuesday.

Jun. 25, 2014 - Updated 02:48 UTC