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Cabinet to approve new defense policy

Japan is preparing to mark a major turnaround in its postwar security policy. The Cabinet is set to change the interpretation of the Constitution to enable the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

The governing Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner New Komeito agreed on a final draft of the Cabinet decision when they met on Tuesday morning.

The draft says the Constitution allows Japan to exercise the use of force at a necessary minimum as a means of self-defense when a foreign country with which it has close ties comes under armed attack.

It says the right should be limited to when there is a clear danger that the nation's existence is threatened and that the rights of its citizens are fundamentally overturned.

Past governments have traditionally interpreted the war-renouncing Constitution to mean the country cannot exercise the right to collective self-defense.

The Cabinet is expected to formally approve the policy at an extraordinary meeting later in the day.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is then scheduled to hold a news conference to explain the decision.

Jul. 1, 2014 - Updated 01:25 UTC