The Paris-based Eurosatory is one of the world's biggest defense and security industry trade shows, drawing specialists from nearly 90 countries to view the latest in military hardware. Among the tanks, drones, military helicopters and police riot vehicles that were exhibited last month, 13 Japanese companies set up shop for the first time.

The Japanese delegation included the country's largest military contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, along with some of its biggest corporate stars: Mitsubishi Electronics, Kawasaki Steel, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Toshiba and NEC. They brought with them tank engines, radars, missile technology and other high-tech goodies.

Although small in scale, the delegation was one of the clearest signs yet that Japan's military contractors are touting for business in the wake of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise decision earlier this year to end the nation's four-decade ban on selling weapons and military hardware. The decision is another milestone in the country's steady retreat from its postwar pacifism.