North Korea-South Korea: Milestone. North Korean TV aired the medal award ceremony at the Asian Cup Interclub Weightlifting Championship on Friday. Four South Korean junior weight lifters won medals, including a gold medal.
For the first time, North Korean TV identified the athletes as South Koreans, showed the South Korean national flag and played the South Korean national anthem, according to the Korea Weightlifting Federation in South Korea.
Japan: A special advisory panel of Japanese experts met at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office on 17 September to discuss whether to lift a self-imposed restriction on exercising the right of collective self-defense, Kyodo News reported.
Results of the talks have not been disclosed, but they were scheduled to cover which countries Japan would defend and where overseas its forces would be deployed for that purpose. They also were to discuss whether Self-Defense Forces should be permitted to participate in UN-led collective security operations.
Comment: Prime Minister Abe is an outspoken supporter of an enlarged and more modern interpretation of self-defense. Chinese aggressiveness in asserting China's claims of ownership to the Senkakus and the Ryukyus is the most important driver in a gradual shift in Japan's understanding of self-defense.
The panel of experts is expected to present its recommendations in favor of Abe's position by November. The Abe government is expected to adopt it without amending the Constitution. The government is averse to amending the Constitution because it would take up to five years, while the need for greater flexibility in responding to Chinese provocations is at hand. Moreover, adoption of a collective self-defense interpretation helps avoid accusations that Japan is rearming unilaterally.
Abe's vision of collective self-defense implies that Japanese strategic planners will consult with Southeast Asian counterparts more frequently and more seriously. At a minimum, Maritime Self-Defense Force ships will train more frequently and rigorously with Southeast Asian navies in defending island claims.
China-Japan: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Tuesday urged Japan to learn from history and adhere to peaceful development path, on the eve of the 82d anniversary of the beginning of Japan's invasion of China.
Wednesday is the 82nd anniversary of the "September 18 Incident," which marks the beginning of that invasion.
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