Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's choice for the key post of defense minister, Tomomi Inada, is a politician known for her strong nationalistic views.

She was once barred from entering South Korea, and her appointment has sparked concerns over the prospects for further Tokyo-Seoul bilateral defense cooperation.

But it remains unclear how Inada will deal with the defense issues Japan currently faces, which include territorial disputes stretching from the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea and the relocation of a U.S. Marine air base at Futenma to elsewhere in Okinawa Prefecture, which has elicited strong local opposition.