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Party leaders debate on security, the constitution and other issues

June 11, 2014

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Party President) and the heads of three opposition parties held a leaders' debate on June 11. During the discussion, Prime Minister Abe expressed consistent ideas about the right of collective self-defense.


Questions were raised about the approach towards the right of collective self-defense by Banri Kaieda, President of the DPJ, who criticized the cabinet decision to approve exercise of the right as "hasty." In response, Prime Minister Abe noted examples in which evacuation of Japanese nationals from countries in conflict were necessary, and asked whether it was permissible for the Self-Defense Forces to do nothing to protect these people if the U.S. ships carrying them were to come under attack. He then challenged his opponents to describe how they would deal with the situation.


Prime Minister Abe underscored the changes that have taken place in the security environment and the need to strengthen relationships with allies. "The ruling parties held serious discussions of the issues, determined the position of the government and sought cabinet-level approval," he said, continuing, "we do not intend to immediately send the Self-Defense Forces into action. There will be discussions in the Diet if legislation is to be amended." He emphasized the need to allow exercise of the right when necessary, and also to ensure that its use only when necessary and at the minimum level needed.


Co-president Shintaro Ishihara of the Japan Restoration Party asked about the idea of establishing an "independent constitution." Prime Minister Abe responded, "The LDP has formulated and submitted the draft of a constitution that is more suited to the twenty-first century." He noted the passage of a bill to amend the National Referendum Act during the current Diet, stating, "My hope is that national-level discussion will continue to deepen."


President Keiichiro Asao of Your Party asked that specific economic policy proposals be adopted. "We will review all proposals independently and in detail, and want to make use of those that are constructive," Responded Prime Minister Abe.

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