On July 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet passed a resolution "reinterpreting" Japan's famous no-war Constitution to permit collective self-defense activities that had previously been deemed impermissible.

This semantic fiat is part of a wave of change, a trend towards open acceptance of militarism that brings with it a new normal: Japanese companies exporting weapons, and military service being celebrated through the time-tested mediums of manga characters and cute girls in uniforms. Even the History Channel here has been running propaganda, thinly disguised as documentaries, glorifying each branch of the Self-Defense Forces. It's all a bit depressing.

I like to think I get Japan's difficult geopolitical situation: an economy heavily dependent on imports and exports, a declining population, proximity to an increasingly aggressive China and a consistently crazy North Korea, all bundled together with a complex alliance with the United States. In fact, Abe probably deserves grudging praise for trying to get his people to think more about national security, even if his principal vehicle for doing so is based on a nonsensical view of how constitutions work.