In the early hours of Saturday morning Japanese lawmakers ratified the pet project of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe restructuring the nation’s defence force.

Japan’s military has now shifted from a purely defensive capability to one prepared to send troops and equipment abroad. And the move is expected to have far-reeaching consequences.

After World War II the Japanese constitution banned the ‘use of force as a means of settling international disputes’.

The move became embodied in the national psyche of pacifism.

It also allowed for the spectacular economic transformation from a virtual bankrupt nation to one of the world’s pre-eminent financial powerhouses.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes the changes are in the best interests of his country. China is becoming increasingly hostile; North Korea increasingly unstable; the Eurozone is becoming increasingly fractured, and the once almighty U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated in world affairs.

Mr Abe believes the proactive changes to the constitution will allow Japan to protect itself and its interests more immediately. But opponents are concerned their country may be dragged into another of America’s interminable conflicts.

The Japanese Defence Force numbers 227,000, more than those in the Bristish, German, and French military. But it is still a spec compared with the 1.43 million of the U.S. and China’s 2.33 million person war machine.

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