Abe Conjures Scenario for Sending Troops to Korea

The Japanese government is inviting fury from Korea with an ill-chosen example of how it hopes to exercise its right to so-called collective self-defense.

Tokyo is proposing to send troops to the Korean Peninsula in an emergency to escort U.S. military aircraft and fleet evacuating Japanese civilians and to intercept foreign vessels carrying weapons to North Korea.

The Asahi Shimbun reported on Tuesday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will cite the example in a press conference on Thursday to discuss possible scenarios for the island country's self-defense rights.

Abe is also to discuss a counterattack when a U.S. naval vessel is attacked in open seas or interception of intercontinental ballistic missiles flying to the U.S.

Collective self-defense right is the right to attack a third country when an ally is in some way under threat. Japan's postwar constitution forbids collective self-defense, but Abe is widely expected to amend it so Japanese troops can once again operate overseas.

The prime minister will also cite "grey-zone" cases of threats to Japan's security, such as the landing of armed Chinese civilians on the remote Senkaku or Diauyou Islands, over which Japan is in a territorial dispute with China, and a foreign submarine's intrusion into the Japanese waters.

Koreans are sensitive to the idea of Japanese troops once again setting foot on their soil after the country's brutal occupation from 1910 to 1945.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 14, 2014 12:33 KST