Just read a fascinating article from Aviation Week & Space Technology on the strengthening military ties between the United States and Japan. According to AW, the growing North Korean and Chinese missile threats have the Japanese concerned to the point where they restructured their entire joint command staff. They noted:
The Japanese Defense Agency is centralizing its command authority in response to a rise in regional threats, particularly North Korea's ballistic missile program, and in international terrorism. Scrutinized for two years and approved by the parliament in July, the restructuring means the chairmanship of the Joint Staff Council will shift from being a largely ceremonial role into one of command authority, meaning the Japanese joint chiefs will work more directly with their U.S. counterparts
Sounds promising. I recommend checking out Aviation Week
for more on the subject, as they also have a terrific article on the Japanese J-2 Fighter Jet (Japanese version of the F-16) and the U.K.'s development of a new carrier to accommodate the new Joint Strike Fighter.