Japanese postwar pacifism reached its pinnacle in 1976. That year, Prime Minister Takeo Miki adopted two measures representing the tide of the moment: a cap on the annual defense budget equal to 1% of gross national product, and a de facto ban on arms exports applying to allies and enemies alike.

For a long time, both policies were considered a national credo and were embraced fully, with pride, by major politicians.

This sense of pride was reflected in remarks the same year as Miki’s reforms by Foreign Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, then considered a mainstream conservative: "We should be reluctant to consider whether or not our country will participate in (arms sales). Even if we can earn some foreign currency surplus, our country has not come to ruin so far as to make money by exporting weapons, and we should continue to do so as a country with higher ideals."