Japan will revise its constitution, which limits its military activities to self-defense by 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, as tensions in the region build, caused by long-standing territorial disputes.
The comments were published in conservative daily Sankei Shimbun on Wednesday, and said the constitution will have been revised after Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games in 2020. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution forbids the use of war to settle international disputes and calls for peace to be found using justice and order. The article was added to the Japanese constitution following WWII
"The Chinese people and people of other Asian nations will not allow Japan to drive history in reverse. We solemnly urge Japan to reflect upon history and change course," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.
The Yasukuni shrine honors Japanese leaders who were convicted war criminals for their actions in WWII.
When conservative Prime Minister Abe was elected in December 2012 he pledged to mend ties with China, but a year into his presidency there has been no lessening of diplomatic tensions between the two countries.