11:17 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

    Japanese Prime Minister Seeks to Amend Constitution in 2020

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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes to amend constitution in 2020, in particular by including in the text of the document an article legalizing existence of the Self-Defense Forces.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which came into effect in 1947, renounces Japan's sovereign right of belligerency as it was an aggressor state during the World War II. However, two laws allowing the country's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to be deployed abroad came into force in 2016.

    "I want the year of 2020 to become the date of the new constitution entering into force," Abe said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

    Abe pointed out that 2020 would be an extremely important year for Japan, in particular because Tokyo would host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    As regards the Self-Defense Forces, Abe stressed that the majority of the Japan's population trusted them, though some lawyers on the constitutional issues argued that the SDF existence violated the country's main law.

    The prime minister highlighted that given the current tense situation over North Korean threat, it would be "too reckless" to put at risk lives of the Japanese civilians.

    Abe's interview came ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan's constitution.

    Late in April, a mail-in survey conducted by the Kyodo news agency showed that 49 percent of respondents backed the revision of the country's constitution, while 47 percent said that there was no need in amendments.

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