U.S. favors Japan's push for larger military roleUpdated: 2014-05-16 18:11:37 (KST)
The United States says it supports Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push for a reinterpretation of his country's pacifist constitution, a push for a larger military role, as the U.S. wants Japan to carry the burden of its own defense.
The State Department said on Thursday that it welcomes Tokyo's push for expanding its military's international presence.
Japan seeks to excercise the so-called "collective self-defense" right to actively defend itself and allow its armed forces to enter battle in defense of its allies in case of any attack.
Washington says it favors Japan's internal debate on what the constitution grants, and whether to allow the right to collective self defense.
South Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday urged Japan to use its powers for peaceful purposes aimed at maintaining regional security.
It also emphasized that Tokyo needs to seek confirmation from Seoul regarding Korean peninsula issues.
"Japan will only be allowed to influence security issues on the Korean Peninsula upon our request."
The Chinese government criticized the Abe administration for taking "negative actions," and expressed concerns about the country's true intentions, adding that neighboring Asian countries have full reason to be highly vigilant over Tokyo's true intentions.
"We've noted that the Abe administration has taken a series of unprecedented actions in the areas of military and security since taking office, linking it with a recent series of negative trends in Japan regarding the issue of history"
Abe's military push has also divided opinion in Japan.
Well over 2-thousand protesters formed a "human chain" around the Diet building in Tokyo on Thursday to oppose the administration's attempt to scrap Japan's pacifist ideals.
People of all ages took part in the rally, including those who experienced World War II under Japan's military government.
In an effort to address those concerns, Abe said Thursday that Japan will stick to a peaceful path, and will never wage any war.
There are doubts Abe's proposal will win the full support of his own ruling coalition so the Japanese leader will have to build consensus to win Cabinet approval.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.
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