TOKYO - The ruling party on Friday approved its final draft of a proposed revision of Japan's pacifist constitution that would drop a clause outlawing war and give the military a greater role in international security, officials said. Article 9 of Japan's current constitution — drafted by U.S. occupation forces and unchanged since 1947 — bars the use of military force in settling international disputes. It also prohibits maintaining a military for warfare, though the Japanese government has interpreted that to mean the nation can have armed troops to protect itself, allowing the existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces. The Liberal Democratic Party's final draft cuts the "no war" clause from Article 9, and outlines an expanded role for the military. In the approved draft, released on the party's Web site, the section currently titled "Renouncing War" will be renamed "National Security." The change is part of a general push by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's government to give Japan a larger military and diplomatic profile in the world. Koizumi's party has also long campaigned for replacing the U.S.-drafted constitution with Japan's own. On Friday, Koizumi said he hoped the draft would draw public attention and promote debate on a Constitutional revision. "The constitution is an important issue, and we need to get support and understanding from other parties and the public," Koizumi told a group of reporters. "We'll never wage a war, but we should clearly state a possession of troops for self-defense so they're not misunderstood as unconstitutional." Ruling lawmakers will present the final draft to an LDP general assembly in late November, then plan to discuss it further with the party's coalition partner New Komei Party and opposition leaders, an LDP official said on condition of anonymity citing party rules. The draft approved Friday says, "In addition to activities needed for self-defense ... the defense forces can take part in efforts to maintain international peace and security under international cooperation, as well as to keep fundamental public order in our country." The draft also calls for the establishment of a military court. In addition, it proposes to weaken the division between religion and state, a change that could give the prime minister greater freedom to visit a war shrine — a practice that has enraged China and other Asian countries that suffered under Japan's wartime occupation. Critics say the shrine visits glorify militarism. The draft says the state may engage in religious activity "in cases within the boundary of social customs." The present charter totally bans the state from religious activity. The draft leaves intact the status of the emperor as "the symbol of the state" who has no political power. In an effort to calm worries about a resurgence of Japanese militarism, the draft said Japan remains a pacifist nation and renounces the use of military force to settle international disputes. It also limits overseas troop deployment to activities involving international cooperation for global peace and safety. "The draft completely overturned the pacifist principle of the current constitution," said opposition Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima, calling it a "serious challenge to postwar democracy and totally unacceptable." But Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, a member of the party's constitution revision committee, praised the outcome. "Well done ... but there is a room for improvement," he said. "We should produce (a constitution) that passes along Japan's history, culture, tradition and pride to our descendants." Public support for amending the constitution's pacifist clause has grown as Japan tries to raise its international standing. Opinion polls indicate that a majority of Japanese want the constitution changed to more clearly define the military's role and its right to aid allies — but also that most Japanese want to keep the pacifist clause.