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Japan PM denies he wants to change constitution to 'wage war overseas'

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [official website; BBC profile] told opposition leaders in the lower house of Parliament Tuesday that while he intends to change the role of the country's military in the Japanese constitution [text], he does not want to make such revisions [JURIST report] in order to go to war abroad. Abe assumed the prime ministership last week and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) [party website] has publicly supported changing the 1947 US-written constitution, Article 9 of which bars Japan [JURIST news archive] from using force in international conflicts except in self-defense.

Abe has not yet said how exactly he wants to change the charter, but a draft previously proposed by the LDP [JURIST report] calls for a full military for defense only. Abe's party has lobbied for changes in the military's role partly to facilitate missions such as its humanitarian deployment to Iraq in 2003-2006. In April, a Japanese court rejected a legal challenge to that deployment [JURIST report] brought on the basis of the existing document. Some of Japan's neighbors are uneasy about any Japan constitutional revision in light of the suffering inflicted upon them by invading Japanese forces in World War II. AP has more.

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