Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set the wheels in motion for a revision to his nation's decade-long ban on the right to collective self-defense, signaling a potential change in the long constrained post war constitution.
At a press conference Thursday, Abe said he had accepted a proposal released by a panel looking into the option.
It calls for a drastic change to Japan's post-war security framework, and would allow the country's military to come to the aid of a neighboring country under attack.
In an effort to address concerns among Asian nations, Abe added that Japan will stick to a peaceful path, pledging that Japan should not again wage war.
South Korea's foreign ministry urged Japan to use its powers for peaceful purposes aimed at maintaining regional security, and emphasized that it needed to seek confirmation with Seoul on issues regarding the Korean Peninsula.
"Japan will only be allowed to influence security issues on the Korean Peninsula upon our request."
To better deal with rising tensions with China and volatile North Korea, Abe's advisors urged the need for changes in its defense policy, which only allows minimum forces.
In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Japan has taken some unprecedented moves to increase its military might, and neighboring Asian countries have full reason to be highly vigilant over Tokyo's true intentions.
Observers say Japan is eager to reinterpret its constitution to deter Chinese expansionism, especially in regards to a set of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.