Shinzo Abe reveals plans to lift Japan's ban on fighting in conflicts overseas Japan's prime minister calls for review of way country interprets its pacifist constitution â€“ a move likely to raise tension with China Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has announced plans to lift the country's ban on fighting in conflicts overseas, a move certain to raise tensions with China and anger voters at home. He called for a review of how Japan interprets its pacifist constitution to allow its military to participate in conflicts beyond its borders for the first time since the end of the second world war. In an apparent bid to address concerns in China and other parts of Asia where memories of Japan's wartime conduct remain strong, he said Japan would never again become "a country that wages war". China, which is involved in a dispute with Japan over ownership of the Senkaku islands, which are known as the Diaoyu islands to the Chinese, is concerned by the prospect of a more assertive Japanese military. A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said China had "every reason to be highly vigilant on Japan's true intentions and its future development". She added: "We urge Japan to respect the legitimate and reasonable security concerns of countries in the region, adhere to the path of peaceful development, earnestly face up to and reflect on history, and play a constructive role in regional peace and stability." Abe believes that the constitution, compiled by US occupation officials after the war, unfairly restricts Japan's ability to exercise its right to collective self-defence, or come to the aid of an ally under attack. Article 9 of the constitution, which has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize, renounces war as a means of settling international disputes and limits Japan's military to a purely defensive posture. Successive Tokyo governments have interpreted this to mean that Japan can only respond with force to acts of aggression against its territory and that it cannot fight alongside the US and other allies in overseas conflicts. Abe must now gain the support of his party's junior coalition partner, a Buddhist-backed party with a pacifist tradition, whose votes in the upper house he will need to push through new legislation, allowing Japan to reinterpret the constitution. While Barack Obama has recently voiced support for Japan playing a more active role in its security alliance with the US, the Japanese public is divided. Recent polls show a majority of voters oppose Japan's involvement in collective defence. One group of women has threatened to go on a "sex strike" to punish any man who supports Abe's move. In a report submitted to Abe a panel of advisers said Chinese activity in the South China Sea and East China Sea, and North Korean nuclear weapons meant the time had come to consider reinterpreting the constitution. The report said: "We have reached a situation in which we cannot sufficiently maintain our country's peace and security or realise peace and prosperity of the region and international society under the current interpretation of the constitution." Scenarios that could prompt Japan to exercise collective self-defence included an attack on US navy vessels in or near Japanese waters, or the launch of a ballistic missile towards the US, the report said. Analysts said the public was right to be worried by Abe's attempts to remove constitutional restraints on military action. "Abe is an advocate of changing Japan's postwar political regime â€“ a liberal democracy guided by the principles of the constitution and its moderate pacifism," said Yasuo Hasebe, a professor of constitutional law at Waseda University in Tokyo. "Conservatism means to preserve the prudence established over decades, but Abe is trying to dismantle the careful approach Japan has taken and lots of people are worried by that." Jiro Yamaguchi, a political scientist at Hosei University in Tokyo, said the lack of an effective opposition in parliament made it more likely that Abe would succeed: "There are no big elections for another couple of years and no institutional barriers to [Abe's cabinet] changing its interpretation of the constitution. At the same time, the cabinet's general approval rating is still quite high, so I think Abe believes he can pursue his [constitutional reform] agenda even though the public is against it." Shinzo Abe reveals plans to lift Japan's ban on fighting in conflicts overseas | World news | theguardian.com *************************************************************************** A weak nation or a nation whose military ability has not been tested, will find it difficult to make its voice credible in the international arena. China's reckless military adventurism has made it reckonable that it has the military might to enforce its will, misguided and fallible that it might be. Therefore, when she negotiated disputes this aspect is borne in mind. On the other hand, Japan, which has a military tradition, because of its Constitution, it taken to be weak and only a surrogate of the US. Thus, maybe Abe feels that Japan and Japanese must make their presence on the international map and not appear to be pacifist wimps. It obviously will not please many Japanese, who don't want to adopt a belligerent posture and it surely will spook China. who have assumed that they are the Middle Kingdom of the Asia, if not the world, more so, when China has been on the wrong end of the stick historically when it has come to Japan showering humiliation and indignities on China. A military awakening of Japan will also make many an Asian countries uncomfortable given the history of the past, but pragmatically they will stand clear, while applauding that there is a rise of neighbour to keep China's unbridled onslaught for hegemonic supremacy under check. India, though not directly involved, will not really be concerned except that Japan has the will and wherewithal to keep China in its place.