Date
25 September 2017
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discuss security matters in Tokyo. Photo: Malacanang
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discuss security matters in Tokyo. Photo: Malacanang

Philippine leader backs larger Japan military role

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday voiced his support for a proposal by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to expand the role of Japan’s armed forces, Associated Press reported.

During a one-day visit to Tokyo, Aquino endorsed Abe’s plan to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist constitution to allow its military to defend not only Japan but also allies that come under attack, the report said.

“We believe that nations of goodwill can only benefit if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others and is allowed the wherewithal to come to the aid of those in need, especially in the area of collective self-defense,” the Philippine leader told reporters at a joint news conference.

Under the current interpretation of the constitution, the Japanese military can use force only to defend Japan.

Aquino acknowledged the devastation his country suffered in the hands of the Japanese invaders during the last world war, but said his country’s relations with Japan have been marked by trust and unfailing support in the years since.

“We do not view with alarm any proposal to revisit the Japanese constitution if the Japanese people so decide, especially if this enhances Japan’s ability to address its international obligations and brings us closer to the attainment of our shared goals,” Aquino was quoted as saying.

Aquino’s support comes amid China’s military expansion and territorial rows with several neighboring nations, including Japan and the Philippines. Neither Aquino nor Abe mentioned China by name, but both cited the changing security environment, the report said.

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