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Japan expands scope for military action: PM Shinzo Abe

Published on Jul 1, 2014 5:37 PM
 
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) waves upon his arrival at his official residence in Tokyo July 1, 2014. Japan on Tuesday loosened restrictions on its powerful military, allowing it to go into battle in defence of allies, in a major and highly controversial shift for the nation's pacifist stance. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan on Tuesday loosened restrictions on its powerful military, allowing it to go into battle in defence of allies, in a major and highly controversial shift for the nation's pacifist stance.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a press conference: "No matter what the circumstances, I will protect Japanese people's lives and peaceful existence. As the prime minister, I have this grave responsibility. With this determination, the cabinet approved the basic policy for national security."

But the conservative premier sought to dissuade critics' claims that this could see Japan dragged into overseas military conflicts, such as in Afghanistan or Iraq.

"There is a misunderstanding that Japan will be involved in war in an effort to defend a foreign country, but this is out of the question," Mr Abe said.

 
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