Japan’s cabinet approved a set of major military reforms on Thursday, which would significantly bolster the country’s defense capabilities. The new set of bills is designed to allow Japanese armed forces to operate with fewer restrictions.
Under its current constitution, which includes terms imposed by the U.S. at the end of World War II, Japan is prohibited from maintaining a standing military and can only keep a self-defense force to use in the event of a direct attack. The latest move would allow Japan to act in its "collective defense" if it were put in an "apparent danger" by an attack on its closest ally, the United States. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, said that Japan would "never become entangled in a war being fought by the United States," the Washington Post reported.
The decision was taken by the cabinet last year, but Thursday’s legislation formally introduced it.
The new laws would also enable Japanese troops to be deployed overseas in a supporting role alongside other nations, although the government would require the approval of Japan’s parliament, the Diet, every time it wished to send troops abroad.
Read more: Japan's Cabinet Approves Bills Allowing Greater Military Powers