Japan's cabinet adopts resolution ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since 1945. Natalie Thomas reports.
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After neary 70 years as a pacifist country Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces he is dropping a ban that has kepts the military out of conflict.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER, SHINZO ABE, SAYING:
"I have the heavy responsibility as the Prime minister to protect the livelihoods of our citizens. Taking that into account, this cabinet resolution will help to begin preparations for laying the framework of a new security legislation."
Japan's armed forces will now be able to aid a friendly country under attack and play a greater role in UN peacekeeping activities.
It is a victory for Abe who has pushed for the change since taking office in 2012.
The move will be welcomed by conservatives who say the constitution limits Japan's ability to defend itself and that the country needs more flexibility in light of a changing regional power balance led by a rising China.
But not everyone supports the change.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 74-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER FROM YOKOHAMA, YOSHIHIKO MURATA, SAYING:
"The current constitution is a result of the sacrifice of more than 3 million Japanese and more 20 million Asian war victims. We should value it more."
An opinion poll by a Japanese newspaper on Monday showed that 50 percent of voters opposed dropping the ban compared to 34 percent who supported it.
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