LDP's coalition ally cautious on debate on collective self-defense

New Komeito party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said Sunday the ongoing debate over lifting the self-imposed ban on collective self-defense may affect his party's coalition with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the LDP head, is eager to lift the ban by changing the government's interpretation of the Constitution.

But Yamaguchi said on an NHK program, "The Constitution is an extremely important law of the state. In discussions of this issue, the future of the coalition government should be taken into account."

"People expect the coalition government to put priority on economic recovery and reconstruction from the March 2011 disaster," he said.

Meanwhile, LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba indicated on a Fuji Television Network program that a bill for a fundamental law on national security to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense will be submitted to the Diet next spring or later.

Submission will come "after the budget for fiscal 2014 is enacted and people see (the effects of) measures to mitigate the impact of the consumption tax hike," he said.

The government plans to raise the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent next April.