Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that codifying the Self-Defense Forces in the Constitution is related to the backbone of national defense.
At a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, Abe stressed the importance of rewriting the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution to give clear legal grounds for the SDF.
Making the SDF explicitly legitimate by codifying it in the Constitution is a "matter affecting the foundation of national defense," Abe said, noting that the SDF members risk their lives to fulfill duties for the nation.
Abe made the remarks following a question from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Itsunori Onodera during the Lower House panel deliberations on the government's fiscal 2019 supplementary budget, which opened Monday.
Toru Kunishige of Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, asked Abe how the government will restore public trust following a series of scandals. Abe said he will take criticism and straighten out further.
In response to a question from the LDP's Yasushi Kaneko, Abe said the planned 26-trillion-yen economic package will be used to ensure strong economic growth led by the private sector after the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.
Abe also explained plans to develop new wireless communications technologies after the fifth-generation, or 5G, format and make a computer available to every children at elementary and junior high schools.
He pledged to promote ambitious investments in what will become "a source of competitiveness for the next generation" to make doubly sure that Japan overcomes deflation and revitalizes its economy.