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.
Japan's hot spring operators were once vocal opponents of geothermal power, which, along with other forms of renewable energy, is now being considered as an alternative to nuclear power.