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Japan Puts Right of Self-defense into Top Law Draft

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) enshrined on Friday into a constitutional revision draft a sentence admitting to the right of self-defense, a critical step in a contentious drive of overhauling the supreme law.

In a draft preamble of the envisaged new constitution proposed by a subcommittee of the LDP, the sentence read, "The independence of the nation is preserved by the efforts of the Japanese people," according to Kyodo News report.

The preamble also includes all three basic principles of the present constitution -- popular sovereignty, respect for fundamental human rights and pacifism.

Still, it maintained the status of Japan's emperor as "the symbol of the unity of the people" as the current constitution rules.

The ruling party is aimed at presenting a constitutional revision by the end of this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding.

What has raised concerns home and abroad is whether the overhaul of Japan's pacifist constitution would breach the limit to Japan's military development.

The constitution denies Japan's involvement in warfare and the right of collective defense.

Nevertheless, Japan has established an armed force under the name of self-defense and argues that it possesses the right of collective defense under the international law.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has repeatedly voiced his desire for an Self-Defense Army instead of the Self-Defense Forces.

(Xinhua News Agency October 8, 2005)

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