Japan PM says he will initiate debate on new constitution

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to initiate debate in parliament on revising the country's U.S.-drafted constitution.

The democratic and pacifist charter took effect 70 years ago on May 3.

Abe, attending an annual rally on revising the constitution organized by ruling party lawmakers and other backers, said Monday the time has come to show the public what an ideal charter should look like. He has long sought to amend the current constitution.

Critics of the 1947 charter say it was imposed by the U.S. occupation after Japan's World War II defeat. They say it's outdated and its pacifist restrictions make the country vulnerable to a growing security threat from North Korea.