International brief ~ Japan constitutional reforms envision active military, female emperor

[JURIST] Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, the current ruling party in the nation's Diet, has finished a draft proposal of reforms to the country's constitution. Included in the proposed reforms are specific changes to the structure and purpose of the nation's military, which has been defined as purely a self-defense force since the end of World War II. The new proposal suggests a more active level of involvement for the military and states that "Japan will actively contribute to the realization of international peace." The proposal also includes a constitutional requirement to follow norms of international human rights law and allows for any heir, regardless of gender, to assume the throne of Emperor. This last proposal is seen as an acknowledgement of the pressure that has been put on Princess Masako, the wife of the current heir to the throne Crown Prince Naruhito, to bear a male heir. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the move towards a more active Japanese military. Yomiuri Shimbun has more.... 21 ministers from Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) nations are meeting Wednesday in Santiago, Chile in preperation for the weekend's official summit. The discussion is expected to focus significant attention on anti-terrorism measures in the Pacific Rim as well as the normal topic of trade. BBC News reports that it has obtained a draft copy of the proposed report and that the report focused on important counter-terrorism measures for the Asia Pacific region. Especially highlighted were concerns of shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles and concerns about terrorist attacks using food as a source for spreading biological agents. BBC News has more.... Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, China's cabinet, said Wednesday that talk of constitutional reform in Taiwan by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was merely a cover for renewing attempts to remove Taiwan from China's sphere of influence. Li Weiyi warned that China would "resolutely and completely crush such splittist attempts at all costs." The comment follows remarks by Chen Shui-bian proposing a constitutional reform in the next series of legislative reforms. Chen also announced that Taiwan will once again be seeking admission to the UN, but this time will not be applying as the 'Republic of China' (Mainland China is officially know as the 'People's Republic of China') but instead will simply apply under the name of Taiwan. People's Daily has more.



 

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