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April 23, 2014

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Panel: Japan should lift ban on collective defense

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 | 1 a.m.

TOKYO (AP) — A government panel will urge Japan to allow its military to help allies that come under attack, in a major reversal of the country's ban on collective defense under its pacifist constitution.

The panel is expected to present its near-final draft recommendation later Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants Japan to play a greater role in international peacekeeping and step up its defense posture, citing potential military threats from China and North Korea.

The panel says the revision is possible by altering the government's interpretation of the war-renouncing constitution. Formal constitutional amendment involves high hurdles, though Abe eventually hopes to achieve that.