Nearly to the day of the first successful test of a nuclear bomb in 1945, and just a few weeks from the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed through legislation to give his country's military the power to strike offensively for the first time since the war.
It is hard to understate the potential impact of this development.
Domestically, Abe is putting his own job on the line. Voters oppose the new legislation roughly two to one, opposition parties walked out of the vote in protest and the government's support ratings fell to around 40 percent. The decision by the Lower House of the Diet to approve the legislation set off the largest demonstrations in Japan since the Fukushima nuclear accident; a crowd of 100,000 people gathered with signs reading "Abe, Quit."