Abe shows restraint over security policy

Abe shows restraint over security policy
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presents a wreath at Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center, in New York on Wednesday.

JAPAN - During his visit to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used different approaches in his speeches about the nation's security issues.

While he spoke in a restrained tone during his address at the UN meeting, he went into more detail in a speech delivered at a policy research institute.

He did so apparently because he wanted to clarify his administration's attempts to pursue a new direction on security issues to the international community, while showing consideration to New Komeito, the Liberal Democratic Party's coalition partner, which is cautious about such moves, observers said.

Since returning as prime minister in December, Abe has proactively engaged in diplomatic activities and explained why he wants to review the current government interpretation of the nation's right to collective self-defence during meetings with Southeast Asian leaders.

"He has received mostly positive reactions from those leaders," said a source close to Abe.

Based on these reactions, some government officials, when working on the prime minister's speech for the United Nations, expressed the opinion that he could explicitly state the government would review the interpretation of the right to collective self-defence.

But in his UN speech Thursday, Abe simply said, "I will enable Japan, as a proactive contributor to peace, to be even more actively engaged in UN collective security measures, including peacekeeping operations."

In a speech at the Hudson Institute, however, Abe stressed the importance of reviewing the government's current constitutional interpretation of the right to collective self-defence, giving examples of cases in which it would currently be considered unconstitutional.

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