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Maehara approves of exercising right of collective self-defense.

TOKYO, Sept. 18 Kyodo

Newly elected Democratic Party of Japan President Seiji Maehara reiterated on Sunday a willingness to see the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution revised so Japan can exercise the right of collective self-defense in a limited way.

On several TV news programs, Maehara said, ''Japan will be protected by the United States in some cases, while Japan will protect the United States in others. It should depend on Japan's initiative how to exercise (the right of collective self-defense).''

The government interprets that international law gives Japan the right of collective self-defense but that the pacifist Constitution prohibits its exercise.

Referring to the Self-Defense Forces deployed in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah, the new DPJ chief said, ''I want to discuss if it's appropriate that the SDF troops refrain from fighting back when troops from other countries, which protect the Japanese troops, are under attack.''

His remarks are highly likely to cause a backlash within the main opposition party, mainly from members who came from the former Japan Socialist Party, the predecessor of the Social Democratic Party.

After defeating former party leader Naoto Kan in the DPJ presidential election on Saturday, Maehara said in a news conference he believes the provision that Japan should not maintain military forces, and the right of belligerency of the state not being recognized should be removed from Article 9.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Sep 19, 2005
Words:229
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