Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Japan Expected to Tell China Why it Wants to Re-interpret Military Role

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

(Photo : Reuters/Frank Robichon)

Japan will finally get the chance to explain to China the decision of the Japanese Cabinet to allow the country to come to the aid of its allies, in case war breaks out.

The opportunity will come in April, when the two countries will hold bilateral security talks in Tokyo.

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Japan has not officially confirmed the holding of the meeting, but reports say it will be attended by the two countries' foreign and defense officials, including Japanese Deputy Minister Shinkuse Sugiyama.

Beijing is expected to question the decision of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government to reinterpret the role that the Japanese Constitution gives to its military.

Since Abe formed his second cabinet on Dec. 31, 2012, he had been pushing for a reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

Currently, Japan's post-World War 2 'Peace' Constitution allows only the minimum use of force to defend the nation from direct attack.

Abe's government wants to expand the powers of its troops by granting them the right to exercise the right to 'collective self-defense,' as outlined in the principles that guide the United Nations.

It has been Abe's mission to urge the Japanese Diet to give Japan's military, the Self-Defense Forces, a more active role, including the right to launch counter-strikes to aid a besieged ally.

China is worried that Japan may be taking a position that will further strengthen its ties with the United States, by way of a stronger military partnership.

Japan and China are engaged in a territorial dispute, with both claiming sovereignty over the uninhabited islands on the East China Sea.

Japan calls these islands the "Senkakus," while China refers to them as "Diaoyus."  

The last time Japan and China held bilateral talks was in January, 2011 in Beijing.

Relations soared between the two countries in 2012 as the territorial row intensified.

For its part, Japan is expected to ask China during the bilateral talks to implement transparency in its military spending.

Japan wants China to disclose more details on China's acquisition of aircraft carriers, fighter planes and other military equipment.

When asked about the meeting in April, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that there is nothing certain at this point.

But he says, "it is important for both countries to exchange communications in various fields, as Japan and China are neighbors, whom the global community is watching very closely."

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