Japan and China tensions over East China Sea islands, that both countries claim to own, continue to increase resulting in Japan deciding to increase its defence budget. Although the Japanese PM claims it is all about defence political pundits see it as an increase in nationalism.
Taking a leaf out of America's defence book Japan will now buy a range of modern "weapons" including drones.
Tuesday the Guardian reports: "Japan has approved a plan to increase defence spending by 5% over the next five years to purchase its first surveillance drones, more jet fighters and naval destroyers in the face of China's military expansion. The revised five-year defence plan was adopted by the cabinet along with a new national security strategy that reflects Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to raise the profile of Japan's military and expand the country's role in international diplomacy and security".
Following WWII Japan adopted a constitution which changed the country into a peace-loving nation. As the first country to experience the full force of nuclear weapons first hand that was sensible, to say the least. The years of sticking to the pacifist constitution could however be drawing to an end.
Political pundits have reported the shifting of powers in Japan for some years but the commitment to increased defence spending has Japan's neighbouring countries, and even its own citizens concerned, and rightly so. The worry is also a rise in militarism in Japan, as PM Shinzo Abe claims he wants Japan to adopt a more proactive security strategy.
To change the Japanese constitution Abe needs a huge majority in parliament, which he is unlikely to get. Is he trying to implement constitutional changes without authorization?
BBC News reports: "Over the next five years, Japan will buy hardware including drones, stealth aircraft and amphibious vehicles". The military will also build a new marine unit, an amphibious force capable of retaking islands.
The previous government, the Democratic Party, made significant cuts to defence budgets as part of a five-year plan for 2011-2016, cutting the budget by ¥750bn ($7,280,642,191.96), or 3%. Troop numbers were also cut by 1,000. PM Abe now plans to keep the current number of soldiers plus introduce a unit similar to the US marines.
Tokyo has expressed grave concerns over China's behaviour in the region and its lack of transparency. "Spending over the five years is expected to amount to 23.97 trillion yen ($232bn, £142bn), a rise of 2.6% once billions of yen in cost savings are taken into account". Japan will buy "two anti-missile destroyers, five submarines, 52 amphibious vehicles, three surveillance drones, 28 F-35 fighter planes and 17 Boeing Osprey aircraft, capable of vertical take-off" which will be bumper news for those industries but has to increase worries about a possible conflict locally, or even globally.
For US citizens who are feeling the austerity pinch at home bear in mind America guarantees Japan's defence, with a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 50,000 troops stationed there. That could be a good investment but once again shows there is always money for the military. In the end will it all be about defence or will that shift to aggression?
BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo reports "many on the left in Japan think Mr Abe is using the threat from China to pursue his own nationalist dreams". With countries such as the US and UK cozying up to China for trade deals the west could be left with egg on its face.