On Jan. 9 the Defense Agency was upgraded to full ministry status. At a ceremony marking the change, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it was a major step from the “postwar regime” toward a foundation for national rebuilding.

The transformation, combined with the planned establishment of a National Security Council in the Cabinet Office, marks a turning point in Japan’s security policy. The elevation to a ministry came 53 years after the Defense Agency and the Self-Defense Forces were established (1954).

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