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Japan mulls protecting Aussie forces

TOKYO -- Japan is considering allowing the Self-Defense Forces to come to the defense of the Australian military in the event it comes under attack during joint exercises, part of a broader effort to enhance the nation's defense powers.

     Last July, the cabinet changed the government's interpretation of the constitution to allow Japan to defend friendly nations. The plan at that time was to seek legislation that would authorize the SDF to protect American military ships and aircraft if they come under attack during joint exercises or surveillance, in situations that fall short of emergencies involving Japan.

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