[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official profile] on Wednesday said that the country's constitution should be amended to allow the country to increase its military for national security purposes. Koizumi said that the country could not defend itself without an armed military force trained for war. Japan [JURIST news archive] currently only maintains a 240,000-strong Self-Defense Force [Global Security backgrounder] because Article 9 of its constitution [text], drafted in the wake of World War II by US occupation forces, bars the country from using its military internationally or for warfare. The idea of expanding Japan's military has left some of its Pacific neighbors wary of revived Japanese militarism. Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party [official website] last week introduced a proposed amendment [JURIST report] that would allow the country's military to participate in armed international peacekeeping missions. Japan currently has 600 troops deployed in Iraq in strictly non-combat reconstruction efforts. AP has more.