Last December the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe adopted the first National Security Strategy (NSS), a 32-page document that identifies national interests, strategic goals and basic policy lines to be taken. It replaced the 1952 Basic Policy on National Defense, which is only about 300 words long.

The NSS appears to serve as the basis for formulating defense and armament policy and a specific weapons acquisition plan. The NSS, however, essentially continues the longtime status quo policy, with some additional measures to complement and/or supplement U.S. power, which has experienced a relative decline vis-a-vis the rising China.

As a result, the NSS presents neither a strategic reorientation nor a policy shift. NSS appears to be a full-fledged articulation of the traditional strategy.