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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japanese Prime Minister Seeks A Review of the Constitution

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe marked the 60th anniversary of Japan's constitution Thursday by calling for a bold review of the document to allow the country to take a larger role in global security and foster a revival of national pride.

Overhauling the postwar constitution, written by U.S. occupation forces after World War II, is one of Abe's top political goals.

The 1947 constitution, which bans military force in settling international disputes and prohibits maintaining a military for warfare, has never been altered.

While several polls this week have suggested substantial support for some changes to the document, one of the surveys showed far more opposition than support for changing the constitution's pacifist clause.

"A bold review of Japan's postwar stance and an in-depth discussion of the constitution for a 'new Japan' is necessary ... to open up a new era," Abe said in a statement issued Thursday.

He added that he was also determined to work "toward a Japan that instills confidence and pride among its children."

Japan has already stretched the constitution's limits, with the government interpreting its pacifist clauses to mean the country can have armed troops to protect itself, allowing the existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces.

Tokyo sent a landmark mission to Iraq in 2004-06, and Japanese tankers refuel coalition warships in the Indian Ocean in support of U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.