'Minimal' change eyed to view on Japan's collective self-defence right

'Minimal' change eyed to view on Japan's collective self-defence right

The government may make only "minimal" changes to its constitutional interpretation so that Japan can exercise the right to collective self-defence when an ally or a nation with which it has close ties is under armed attack, provided there is no other way to deal with the contingency, according to a government draft.

Under its current constitutional interpretation, Japan is prohibited from exercising the right to collective self-defence. The draft, on the other hand, calls for including resorting to the right to collective self-defence as a "minimum necessary" action to defend the nation under the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

The draft, written by Yosuke Isozaki, special adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was presented at a meeting on Nov. 13 of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security, which is compiling a report that will serve as a basis for reviewing the government's constitutional interpretation made in 1981.

"The draft will not fly in the face of the conventional interpretation," a top government official said. "It is a plan that can get by with minimum change to the interpretation."

In an answer to the Diet in May 1981, the government's interpretation said the exercising of the right to self-defence condoned under Article 9 of the Constitution should be within the range of minimum action necessary to defend the nation and that exercising collective self-defence would go beyond this range, thus it is not permitted under the Constitution.

The current interpretation lays out three conditions Japan has to see to exercise the right to self-defence.

-Armed attacks are launched on Japan.

-There are no other appropriate means to take.

-The actions taken in exercising the right are the minimum necessary.

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