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Abe: Japan's collective defense is limited

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stressed the country will only use its right to collective self-defense in limited cases.

Abe spoke at a Lower House committee of the Diet on Monday. It was Abe's first time to speak at the Diet on his Cabinet's approval to change the interpretation of the Constitution to enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

Masahiko Koumura, vice president of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, questioned Abe on whether the Cabinet's latest decision will allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense as stipulated in the United Nations Charter.

Abe replied the scope will not be the same as the UN Charter because Japan is limited in what it can do. He stressed the country's right to collective self-defense will be kept to a bare minimum.

Abe also said Japan's traditional interpretation of the war-renouncing Article 9 will not allow the country to resort to the use of force. He said if a situation develops beyond the scope of the government's basic policy, Japan will need to revise its Constitution.

Abe said at a news conference earlier this month that collective self-defense must be exercised with minimum use of force, and restricted to cases in which there are no alternatives.

Article 9 says the Japanese people forever renounce war as the sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

Jul. 14, 2014 - Updated 07:42 UTC