Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not only brought war back to Europe, it has also sent shock waves across the Asia-Pacific, exacerbating fears — including in Japan — that a similar conflict could engulf the region.

While the war may be far from over, observers say that part of its impact will be how it is accelerating unprecedented shifts in Tokyo’s security policy while mitigating public and political opposition to changes in Japan’s defense posture.

“A year ago, Japan was already on its way to increasing defense spending, acquiring long-range missiles and expanding security partners beyond its core alliance with the United States,” said James D.J. Brown, a foreign policy expert and professor at Temple University, Japan. “These things are now happening faster.”