Why the change?
In terms of the actual change, the bill is more a reinterpretation rather than any drastic change in the wording of the clause. However the intended effect is clear; to widen the remit of Japan’s use of military force to encompass more aggressive action. The bill comes at a time when China has been forcefully expanding its claims to territory in the South China sea, irking its regional neighbours including Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea and the Japanese themselves. Whilst many argue that the clause currently protects Japan as it prevents it from being a threat and provoking other nations, supporters of Abe indicate that the clause should reflect the times and Japan must be well-equipped to deal with a retreating US foreign policy that has resulted in many questioning its commitment to protecting its allies in the region.
It is worth noting that the US is firmly backing the bill, with many Japanese believing that it instigated this entire episode in the first place.