Since becoming Defense Agency chief, Shigeru Ishiba has not been shy about rocking the boat.

Although often called hawkish and neoconservative, a term likened to American hardliners, people who feel Japan's defense policy is not realistic hail him as one of the new-generation lawmakers looking seriously at national security issues.

Many top Defense Agency officials say he is the best politician they have ever had at the helm because of his extensive military knowledge, which has earned him the title "gunji otaku" (military buff) in some circles.