Shinzo Abe's landslide win has paved the way for an amendment to Japan's constitution which would allow its military to prepare for war.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on October 24, 2017

Japan is ready to end 70 years of pacificism and reassert itself as a military force.

The likely amendment to its constitution (Article 9 or the peace clause) comes on the back of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s landslide victory in the snap Japanese elections.

Having attained the super-majority he was after, the PM has now turned his sights on the ongoing threat from Kim Jong-Un and his North Korean regime.

The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that Mr Abe said: “As I promised in the election, my imminent task is to firmly deal with North Korea. For that, strong diplomacy is required.”

Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera has also told his US and South Korean counterparts the threat from North Korea has grown to a “critical and imminent level” and must be addressed.

Mr Abe has long sought to add another provision to clarify the legal status of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces (SDF).

In May, Mr Abe was reported to have said: “In our generation we need to establish the constitutional standing of the Self-Defence Forces so that there is no room for debate on whether or not they stand outside the constitution.”

While Japan’s SDF has been equipped and trained to become one of the world’s most advanced military forces, it cannot be deployed to fight in overseas combat.

The PM did however expand the role of the military in 2015 to allow it to protect allies’ assets, which was seen in effect when Japan dispatched its biggest warship to escort an American supply vessel in the face of North Korean threats.

North Korea’s aggression, which has already resulted in two missiles flying over the Japanese mainland this year, has only reaffirmed the PM’s stance.

He needed a two-thirds majority as a platform to make changes to the nation’s constitution, and that was confirmed yesterday.