World

Abe confident of advancing pacifist reform

TOKYO Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is "confident" of progress in amending Japan's pacifist constitution, he said yesterday in his first policy speech since his landslide election victory.

Mr Abe's conservative coalition held a two-thirds "super majority" in the 465-seat lower house last month, giving him the numbers to realise a long-held dream.

"I'm confident that debate on amending the constitution will be able to advance," he told the newly formed parliament.

However he steered clear of giving any timeframe and has previously said he will move cautiously on the divisive issue.

Nationalists like Mr Abe say the constitution is a humiliating relic imposed by US occupiers after Japan's defeat in World War II.

Mr Abe wants to change the wording of the document to affirm Japan's right to have a full-fledged military.

The premier said he would keep the constitutional clause that prevents Japan from waging an offensive war.- AFP

WORLD