For decades, Japan has based its international clout on economic competitiveness, not military might.

But, with China’s lengthening shadow darkening its doorstep, Japan now seems to be abandoning its pacifist postwar security policy — which capped defense spending at about 1% of gross domestic product and shunned offensive capabilities — in favor of assuming a central role in maintaining security in the Indo-Pacific region.

Last month, Japan unveiled a bold new National Security Strategy, which includes a plan to double defense expenditure within five years. That spending — amounting to some $320 billion — will fund Japan’s largest military build-up since World War II and implies the world’s third-largest defense budget after the U.S. and China. Importantly, the new strategy includes acquisition of preemptive counterstrike capabilities, such as Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States and the development of its own hypersonic weapons.