For years, Tokyo has drifted toward a more proactive defense posture. But the shift has taken on new meaning in the wake of Moscow's "special military operation" against neighboring Ukraine, a conflict with international reverberations, including in the Asia-Pacific region. Like Ukraine, Japan borders Russia at a set of disputed islands, but it is the prospect of worsening tensions with an even more influential China, a country with its own regional designs, that has fueled a transformation in Tokyo.
"The situation in Ukraine has kind of affected the psyche of the people in East Asia, including Japan, about the possibility of contingency in this region," a Japanese official told Newsweek. "So clearly, the cross-strait issue is getting more conspicuous in the Japanese people's minds, and that is also reflected in the question of the Japanese media."