Japan has taken an increasingly proactive role in defending its territory since the end of the Cold War allowed it to shift its defensive posture to address threats from North Korea and China as public memories of the war begin to fade.

With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushing to revise the pacifist Constitution, Japan's military presence is likely to grow in the years to come. The government at present interprets the Constitution as banning the nation from engaging in the right of collective self-defense. Abe wants this ban lifted.

The latest sign of the looming military growth was the interim National Defense Program Guidelines released July 26. The document, which outlines defense policies for the next 10 years, said it is crucial for the Self-Defense Forces to develop an amphibious warfare capability so Japan can defend its more than 6,000 islands, including the disputed Senkaku chain claimed by China and Taiwan.