Japan on Tuesday adopted a new national security strategy, pledging to beef up defenses against an increasingly assertive China to protect its territory, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to boost Tokyo's standing as a contributor to global peace and security.

In the national security policy approved by the Cabinet, the government states Japan will seek more "proactive" security roles for the Self-Defense Forces abroad, and will set new guidelines on arms exports, signaling a major shift from the country's previous restrictive policy.

With China's influence growing in the region relative to that of the United States, the strategy puts importance on a strong Japan-U.S. security alliance as a counterbalance to stem security threats to Japan. It also calls for steps to tackle threats in cyberspace and outer space.