He added Japan would offer "a more proactive role than it has ... in making peace in Asia and the world something more certain." His remarks came in the keynote address of the three-day Asia Security Summit in Singapore, also called the Shangri-La Dialogue.
In the absence of anything resembling a NATO mutual defense pact in Asia, the conference has become a major annual event focused on security.
Abe also said he supported the Philippines and Vietnam in their disputes with China over sovereignty in the South China Sea. Early in May, Abe suggested a new interpretation of the Japanese constitution, which outlaws the use of force to settle international disputes.
Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying, who attended the summit, responded angrily to Abe's comments, saying Abe was "trying to amend the security policy of Japan" and worsening regional tensions in the mistaken belief China was "posing a threat to Japan."