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Ruling coalition approves self-defense rules

Members of Japan's ruling coalition have approved a new national defense policy. They've reinterpreted the Constitution to enable the country to use the right to collective self-defense.

So, personnel will be able to defend allies under attack even if Japan itself is not threatened.

Article 9 of the Constitution renounces war. Government leaders have long held the view that the country has the right to collective self-defense.

But, up until now, they've said the wording of the Constitution suggests Japan should not exercise that right.

Past administrations have maintained armed force should only be used if Japan faces an imminent and legitimate act of aggression.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is changing that interpretation.
His cabinet is expected to approve the policy later on Tuesday.

Jun. 30, 2014 - Updated 23:13 UTC