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Japanese Politician Calls for Changed Constitution


The front-runner to become Japan's next prime minister has called for changes in the country's pacifist constitution.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Tuesday the country's next leader should use his leadership to create a new constitution, to begin a new era for Japan.

The United States drafted the existing constitution following Japan's surrender in World War II. The charter restricts Japanese military action.

Japanese government officials have discussed revising the document to allow the military to act in self-defense and take a greater role in overseas missions.

Abe is expected to reveal his political agenda on September 1. The conservative politician has not formally announced his candidacy, but is seen as a favorite to replace Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will vote on Mr. Koizumi's successor next month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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