Japan has approved a major change to its post-war security policy of pacifism, paving the way for its military to fight abroad.
The move, the most dramatic in 60 years, allows for ‘‘collective self-defence’‘.
The cabinet decision is seen as a victory for Japan’s Premier Shinzo Abe who pushed hard for the change.
“The global environment surrounding Japan is increasingly severe. In order to be prepared for any eventuality, we need to develop legislation which ensures security, creates peace and protects people’s livelihoods,” Abe said.
While Abe has insisted the change will not lead to Japan taking part in any wars, China reacted angrily claiming it ‘‘raised doubts about Japan’s approach to peaceful development’‘.
Ties between Tokyo and Beijing are already strained over an island territorial dispute in the South China Sea, and efforts by Abe to cast Japan’s wartime past with a less apologetic tone.
South Korea’s government has also condemned the lifting of the ban which has prevented Japan’s military from fighting abroad since World War Two, with protesters also demonstrating in the capital Seoul.