Mammoth cuts in welfare benefits starting next month point to the government's desire to skimp on social security and instead boost military capabilities in hopes of fighting alongside the United States, according to veteran lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya.

Noting the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to amend the pacifist Constitution, Utsunomiya believes the implication is clear: Japan is gearing up to join the U.S. in the event of war.

"In order to do that, you need to boost military spending. So (the government) is considering cutting a variety of social security payments to secure enough resources for military expenditures," he said. "The welfare slashed this time is just the beginning of that process."