[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [official profile; BBC profile] has again said that he plans to revise the country's constitution [text] to allow the country to better defend itself and to assist in international security efforts. In an interview [text] published Tuesday by the Financial Times, Abe said that provisions in the current constitution, which was written in 1947 after World War II, "no longer befit the reality of the day." In particular, Abe said he wants to revise Article 9 [text; Wikipedia backgrounder], which bars Japan [JURIST news archive] from maintaining military forces and from using force in international conflicts except in self-defense. Abe indicated that he plans to make the changes during his three-year term of office. Reuters has more.
Meanwhile, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki [official profile] said that while Japan's current charter "theoretically and technically" allows the country to build nuclear weapons, the construction of such weapons does not mesh with governmental policy. Abe has denied [JURIST report] that he wants to revise the constitution in order to wage war abroad, and he has refrained from discussing the possibility of building nuclear weapons since taking office. Before becoming prime minister, however, Abe said that Japan was considering [JURIST report] whether a pre-emptive strike on North Korean missile bases would violate its constitution if there were no other way to prevent an attack from North Korea [JURIST news archive]. AFP has more.