TOKYKO, May 15 -- A government-appointed panel submitted a report to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, suggesting the government remove the ban on exercising collective self-defense by reinterpreting the pacifist constitution, local media reported.
Japan currently maintains military force only for self-defense, and has previously interpreted the war-renouncing Article 9 of its postwar constitution to mean it cannot engage in what is known as collective self-defense.
But the panel, which consists of 14 security experts, thought the interpretation is improper, arguing that collective self- defense falls within "minimum" defense allowed under Constitution.
If approved, the change could allow Japan to come to the defense of its allies and other countries, even if Japan itself is not under attack, giving the nod to Abe's ambition for more active Japanese military.
Headed by former Japanese ambassador to the United States Shunji Yanai, the panel also recommended a set of criteria for Japan to engage in collective self-defense. But the specific standards have not been released yet.
Abe is scheduled to hold a press conference later Thursday to announce the Japanese government's stance and present some examples that would require Japan to defend its allies under armed attack, the Kyodo News Agency said.