South Korea said Thursday that Japan should dispel doubts and concerns shared by its neighboring countries as it moves closer to exercising the right to "collective self-defense."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a review of the interpretation of the pacifist constitution that has banned Japan from exercising the right to collective self-defense. The right would allow Tokyo to fight alongside its allies and beyond its borders.
Seoul's foreign ministry said that Japan's move should be made in a way that is consistent with the principles of its war-renouncing constitution and transparency while contributing to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
"As for Japan's future security policy, we reiterated that there should be a request from us or our consent when it comes to issues related to security on the Korean Peninsula and national interests," Cho Tai-young, spokesman at the foreign ministry, said in a statement.
The remarks reaffirmed the Korean government's stance that Japan should seek explicit consent from Seoul if it wishes to exercise the right to "collective self-defense" in case of an emergency situation such as war on the Korean Peninsula.
Speculation has grown that Japan may include the scenario of war on the Korean Peninsula in its conditions under which it could invoke the right.
"The government will closely monitor the situation and plans to take necessary actions," it added.
Abe has been supportive of revising the pacifist constitution, citing China's growing military build-up and North Korea's nuclear threats.
The foreign ministry here previously censured Abe for picking North Korea as a potential target of Japan's exercise of collective self-defense, arguing that Tokyo may use the right on the Korean Peninsula only upon the request of South Korea.
Japan's push to exercise the right has been unnerving South Korea and some other Asian nations as many view the move as an example of the former colonial power's remilitarization. South Korea was a Japanese colony from 1910-45. (Yonhap)