In many countries, women have historically served in combat when demographics demanded it. But the US move is based on equal opportunity for women – and could become a model for others.
The budgetary shifts are relatively modest but reverse the course of the past decade. The move comes at a time when Japan is increasingly at odds with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The Chinese plane had already left the islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan – by the time the Japanese F-15s arrived.
Although Japan's 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster set much of the public against nuclear power, politicians are not convinced.