Abe hopeful of future constitutional revision for clearer SDF role

With just six days to go before the upper house election in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday reasserted his desire to revise Article 9 of the Constitution to permit the Self-Defense Forces to be recast as a full military.

"We will revise Article 9 of the Constitution and clearly state the presence and role (of the SDF). This will be the way it ought to be," Abe said in a television interview taped last week and broadcast Monday.

In next Sunday's election, Abe's ruling coalition has its sites fixed on winning control of the House of Councillors. Polls show Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is set to increase its seats in the chamber, but probably not by enough to claim two-thirds of the seats needed to amend the Constitution on its own, thereby requiring support from other parties.

In a draft proposal to amend the Constitution released last year, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party proposed to make the emperor the head of state instead of his current position as symbol of the state, explicitly state Japan's right to exercise the right to collective self-defense, and define the Self-Defense Forces as a defense force.

"The SDF is said in Japan not to be a military, but it is recognized as a military overseas. The SDF cannot act in society governed by international law unless recognized as a military," Abe said.