Panel says Japan should defend allies

June 30, 2007 at 3:14 PM

TOYKO, Japan, June 30 (UPI) -- Japan may rework its Constitution to allow it to intercept intercontinental missiles fired at the United States, it was reported Saturday.

"If the United States, our ally, is seriously damaged by a ballistic missile, undoubtedly that would have a significant impact on our country's own defense," said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A Japanese panel agreed Friday the Constitution would need to be reinterpreted to enable Japanese warships in international waters to defend an ally under attack, the Kyodo news agency reported.

 "There was overall consensus that it is absurd to have a legal system where Japan can't do anything," said Shinichi Kitaoka, a Tokyo University professor on the panel, which is formulating policy for Japan's Self-Defense Forces.

Tokyo interprets the Constitution as prohibiting Japan from exercising the right to "collective self-defense," although it is entitled to do so under international law, Kyodo reported.


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