Japan is acting to strengthen its self-defense through increasing military capability.
A history professor once told me that the key to answering all history essay questions lies in understanding and applying balance of power theory.
National security is enhanced when military capabilities are distributed such that no single state can dominate the rest.
If one nation gains inordinate power, the theory is that the most powerful will attack weaker states thereby providing incentive for those threatened to unite in defensive coalition.
In the current scenario, the United States has achieved considerable power, however, its finances are dependent upon China that is both a trading partner and competitor.
Japan is an ally of the United States, although recent history positions Japan as an enemy of China. China probably bears a grudge against Japan as do both Koreas.
Because North Korea has aimed its threat directly at Japan and the United States, as well as South Korea, and because China is beefing up its military capability by adding aircraft carriers to its fleet, these things constitute a shift in the balance of power.
To achieve a new equilibrium, Japan believes that it must increase its intelligence gathering capability and may have to exploit its nuclear capability to produce weapons for self defense.
Here is a Japan Times story that supports the observation.
“Abe to take on intel-gathering taboos
BY REIJI YOSHIDA
MAY 11, 2013
After its defeat in World War II, many of the political legacies nurtured during Japan’s militaristic era became politically taboo.
They include its intelligence-gathering units, such as those under the Imperial Japanese Army and the military police, as well as strict confidentiality laws to punish public servants who leak sensitive government information to outsiders.
But as tension with China increases over the Japan-held Senkaku islets and with North Korea repeatedly threatening to launch ballistic missiles that could easily reach Japanese territory, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is ready to shatter this self-imposed prohibition.
Eyeing submission to the current Diet session, Abe’s Cabinet is drawing up a bill that would create an entity modeled after the U.S. National Security Council. The government also is preparing separate legislation, possibly to be sent for Diet deliberation in the fall, to impose heavier punishments on government workers found to have disclosed classified data.
Government sources said Japan’s present intelligence-gathering entities — which include the Foreign and Defense ministries, the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office under the Cabinet Secretariat, and the police — are deeply cliquey and rarely share either intelligence or analyses with one another, posing huge problems to government leaders trying to make critical judgments.
“It’s extremely important to centralize information management,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference last month.”