Shinzo Abe, widely viewed as a rightwing nationalist, assumes office Wednesday as prime minister of Japan, the seventh time the country's leadership has changed hands in six years and his second turn at the helm since 2007.

The election manifesto of Abe's party, the Liberal Democrats, contained such proposals as changing the Constitution so that Japan can exercise its right to collective self-defense. It also took strong positions on territorial disputes with the country's neighbors.

Abe himself took a hawkish stance, insisting for example that the Senkaku Islands, also claimed by China, are "Japan's inherent territory." However, indications are that his actions as prime minister won't reflect campaign rhetoric.