After 70 years of relative pacifism, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top defense adviser Masahisa Sato seem determined to transform Japan's military capacity, freeing it from constraints imposed after World War II. Tokyo is going to increase defense spending due mainly to possible hostilities with both North Korea and China.
U.S. response has been mixed. America fears that remilitarization will worsen Japan's relationship with China. Yet Washington needs both Japan and Australia as allies in the Pacific region.
Although China and Japan are in a protracted dispute over the ownership of certain adjacent islands, "China needs to buy Japanese products as much as Japan needs to sell them" ("Mutual Assured Production," Foreign Affairs, July-August 2013). Boycotting Japanese products might endanger the Chinese economic miracle. So mutual economic interests may keep the peace, at least for a time.
Biblical prophecy indicates that both China and Japan will likely play a major role in the fulfillment of end-time prophecy, perhaps as part of "the kings of the east," whose forces invading the Middle East will lead to Armageddon (Revelation 16:12, 14). Activities in Asia bear watching. (Sources: Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal.)