Japan recognises it has what is known as the right of collective self-defence, meaning a right to defend with force allies under attack even when Japan itself is not being attacked.
But Japanese governments have traditionally interpreted the pacifist constitution as banning the actual exercise of the right, creating a sore spot in Tokyo’s security ties with Washington. Abe wants to change the interpretation to allow Japan to exercise the right.
The Defence Ministry did not say whether the issue of the right of collective self-defence has been discussed.
(Additional reporting by Paul Eckert in Washington) (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel)