TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto won agreement Monday from his coalition partners to carry out a military review aimed at breaking long-standing taboos on action not directly involving the country's defense.
The proposal for the review, which will focus on the so-called 1978 Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, could have brought down Hashimoto's government if the coalition partners had not agreed to it.
The review will be carried out by the Foreign Ministry, Defense Agency and Cabinet Security Affairs Office.
Hashimoto, president of the dominant coalition partner, the Liberal Democratic Party, met the heads of the two other ruling parties, Tomiichi Murayama of the Social Democratic Party and Masayoshi Takemura of the New Party Harbinger, for several hours before they agreed to the review.
The sticking point was Murayama and Takemura's insistence that the review should not in any way infringe on Japan's pacifist constitution or get Japan into any collective security arrangement.