Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be a political hawk who believes Japan can once again become a macho state that can hold its own against regional threats, but as he looks for money and muscle he is turning to an unlikely source: women.

Abe appears to have overturned traditional conservative thinking with his radical, all-out push to increase the hiring and promotion of women to strengthen Japan's economy.

The move has surprised some experts in the field of work-life balance and gender equality, who, while welcoming it, have been left with a dose of skepticism.